Towards the end of August, Nate (my partner) and I were invited to embark on a journey to visit Kennecott. Some close friends wanted to get away from Fairbanks a little to enjoy the last bits of summer before it gets too cold to camp out. It was a last minute invitation, but we decided to go anyway.
Live life on the edge – Nate
Friday once we were off work, we packed our gear and took off. We were on the road for about 4.5 hours and decided to stop at arctic man to camp out and get some rest. We had hot dogs and brats for dinner and enjoyed a nice small campfire. We woke up early to get picked up and make breakfast. The photo above was our view that morning when we woke up.
We continued heading south on the road for another 2 hours. We decided to stop at Liberty Falls because we were in no rush to get to Kennecott. It was the best decision we made. It was beautiful and relaxing. We had sandwiches and did a little hiking around the waterfall!
After we left liberty falls, it took us another 2 hours to make it to the campgrounds. The roads going there were a little rough and bumpy. It was hard gravel with tractor divots. Keep in mind, this trip was not planned out and we did not know what to expect. Upon arriving, we found out that there was a fee to use the campgrounds. To get to the Kennecott mill town, you would have to cross the footbridge and take a shuttle. You would have to pay to use the shuttle as well, otherwise you would walk to it by foot. It was not suggested to walk especially if you were bringing a bunch of belonging since it is a 5 mile trek with unexpected wildlife. We did see a couple of people with motorbikes so that wouldn’t be an issue if you brought some with you. The shuttles only ran on certain times during the day and so it was too late to ride the shuttle when we got there so we planned on exploring the next day.
Since we weren’t planning on hiking to the town we found a spot with a perfect view of the mountains. We hung around the campfire and enjoyed the accompaniment of each other. We had a bunch of food to eat and music playing in the background.
The next morning we crossed the bridge, hopped on a shuttle and headed straight into the town. When we got there we visited the visitor’s center to see what they had to offer. The town had several old buildings including a 14 story mill. There were a couple of shops that sold food, beverages, and gifts. The town didn’t offer much, but it was great to learn about how they lived back in the day. We did see some amazing scenery though. Unfortunately, we did not see the glacier since there was a high priced fee to take another shuttle there.
Kennecott is an abandoned mining camp in the Valdez area. It is known for the abundance of copper. The little town is also near the Kennecott Glaciers, which is northeast of Valdez inside a national park and preserve.
When we got done exploring the town, it was time to head out and go home. On the way out we stopped at the Kuskulana River bridge to look at the view on a hill. I managed to capture an amazing photo. We definitely will be going back here next year, but even more prepared to experience the whole park. For those of you that plan on taking a trip out here, I advice you to do some research and be prepared to spend a little more on your expenses. One more thing, be sure to have spare gas since there are no gas stations for miles out.
If you have any questions about the trip or the area please do not hesitate to ask! Thanks for reading!