Alaska Attractions January 24, 2022
A Mining Town Was Built And Left To Decay In The Middle Of Alaska’s Largest National Park
Alaska’s history is a rich and varied one that truly took off during the Gold Rush in the late 1800s. The Kennecott Mine in Alaska is a remnant of a time when the main draw to come to Alaska was to
strike it rich. This abandoned mining town was left to decay until the National Park Service began the long project to restore this historical place.
There’s an old abandoned mining town that’s decaying in Alaska's -- and America’s -- largest national park.
The Kennecott Mine is located in Wrangell-St. Elias, and has been abandoned for decades. The mine has been taken over by the National Park Service and has begun the slow process of restoration.
This copper mine experienced its most popular period in the early 1900s.
This decaying town and mine once employed hundreds of people, and the town grew to over 600 inhabitants. There was a hospital, general store, school, tennis court, recreation hall, dairy, and even a skating rink! Although this town was 196 miles from the ocean inland, there were plenty of things to do to keep you occupied all year long.
The mine is uniquely situated on the edge of the Kennecott Glacier.
The Kennecott Glacier used to tower over the town that sat right next to it. This glacier field is unusual: it has a green tint to it. This green tint is from the copper in the dirt.
During its peak years of operation, 1911 to 1938, almost $200 million worth of copper was processed here.
The mine closed in 1938 due to declining profits, and the huge expense of running the railroad all the way to Kennecott to ship the copper out. New mines in North American and Chile provided a bigger profit, so the Kennecott Copper Corporation left the area.
The Bonanza Mine is also nearby, at the end of a long hike.
The Bonanza Mine ruins offer spectacular sites of the glacier below and the mountains in the distance, but the climb is not for the inexperienced hiker. If you want to get out and enjoy the view and you’re comfortable hiking up a mountain, we highly recommend this hike while you’re in the area.
Kennecott Mine is a haunting peek into the past.
The National Park Service is doing a great job of restoring the buildings, but there’s something magical about seeing them worn down by Alaska’s elements, fighting their hardest against the test of time. Try to visit soon if you can, because once the mine is restored, you’ll lose these honest glimpses into the past.
If you ever have the chance to visit this richly historical area, make the trip. You won’t regret it.
Whether you come for the interesting history, or to explore the largest national park in America, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this incredible spot. Make sure you plan to stay for as long as you can!
Have you ever visited the Kennecott Mine in Alaska? What did you think? Did you have a chance to get out and explore the whole area? Let us know in the comments below!
If you get hungry after hiking around this small town, make sure to grab a bite to eat at
The Meatza Wagon, Which Is At Least An Hour From Every Major City In Alaska But Worth The Drive To Get There. Address: Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Kennicott, Chitina, AK 99566, USA