Connects: Richardson Highway to McCarthy
Route#: Alaska Route 10
Length: 93 miles
Road Surface: 51% Paved, 49% Gravel
Season: McCarthy Road not maintained in winter
Map (1 detailed pdf file available):
Milepost V 83 Richardson Highway to McCarthy, AK
The Edgerton Highway (Alaska Route 10) is a scenic paved road leading 33.5 miles east from its junction with the Richardson Highway (Alaska Route 4) to the small town of Chitina. The McCarthy Road begins with 17 miles of pavement and continues with 41 miles of gravel east across the Copper River to deadend at the Kennicott River, about 1 mile west of the town of McCarthy and 6 miles from the historic mining area of Kennicott. Walk to McCarthy then take a shuttle van from McCarthy to Kennicott. If you are staying at local lodges, use the phone at the bridge to call for a shuttle. A major attraction here is the Kennecott Mill (pictured below).
Named for U.S. Army Major Glenn Edgerton of the Alaska Territorial Road Commission, the Edgerton Highway—known locally as the Edgerton Cutoff—provides access to homesteads in the Kenny Lake area and to the salmon dip-net fishery on the Copper River at Chitina.
The McCarthy Road follows the right-of-way of the old Copper River & Northwestern Railway. Begun in 1907, the CR&NW (also referred to as the “can’t run and never will”) was built to carry copper ore from the Kennecott Mines to Cordova.
The McCarthy Road is recommended for those who like adventurous driving. Watch for sharp rocks, railroad spikes, no shoulders, narrow sections of road, soft spots, washboard, potholes and a few “roller coaster” curves. Carry a spare tire. Not recommended for large RVs.
There is no vehicle access for visitors across the Kennicott River from the end of the McCarthy Road. The main course of the Kennicott River is crossed by a pedestrian bridge.
The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from Richardson Highway junction (J) shown.
J 0 Junction of Edgerton Highway with Richardson Highway.
J 7.2 Kenny Lake Mercantile & RV Park phone 907-822-3313; food, gas/diesel, lodging, camping. Open year-round.
J 7.4 KENNY LAKE (pop. 284) community hall.
J 23.6 Liberty Falls State Recreation Site; camping.
J 28.4 Turnoff for Chitina Airport; RV parking.
J 33 CHITINA (pop. 97); post office, gas. Food and lodging at Gilpatrick’s Hotel Chitina.
J 33.5 Chitina Wayside; parking, restrooms.
J 33.6 Start of McCarthy Road.
J 34.7 Copper River Bridge.
J 35.1 Campground.
J 36.5 Ahtna Inc. Hilltop Campground. End of pavement, gravel begins eastbound.
J 50.8 Kuskulana Bridge (pictured below). Rest area east end of bridge.
J 92 Turnoff for National Park Service McCarthy Ranger Station information kiosk; public toilet. Trailhead for West Kennicott Glacier Trail.
J 92.1 Glacier View; first of 3 paid parking areas available eastbound; camping, food, bike rentals, bed-and-breakfast.
J 92.2 Visitor information cabin and second of 3 paid parking areas eastbound.
J 92.4 Entrance to Base Camp paid parking area; camping. McCarthy Road ends. Kennicott River pedestrian bridge (pictured above). Walk 0.6 mile to town of McCARTHY; food and lodging at McCarthy Lodge & Ma Johnson’s Hotel; flightseeing and wilderness hiking with Wrangell Mountain Air. Take the shuttle van to KENNICOTT (6 miles); food and lodging at Kennicott Glacier Lodge, guided wilderness trips and Kennecott mine tours, glacier tours, ice climbing lessons, alpine hikes and tours with Kennicott Wilderness Guides and St. Elias Alpine Guides and river rafting with Copper Oar.