The end of September (back in 2014) seemed like a good time to leave Anchorage behind and head on a road trip to McCarthy. The drive took about 7 hours in total, and was, as most drives in Alaska, a beautiful, scenic one. We made it in two days, with an overnight stop at Copper Center, (at the confluence of the Klutina and Copper rivers).
The final portion of the drive was the 60-mile McCarthy Road, a pretty rough unpaved road. It’s one of those places in Alaska were you are truly on your own, and you better be prepared because there are no services or fuel, and cell phone coverage is pretty much nonexistent. After what seemed like a long time on this gravel road, we made a stop to stretch our legs and take a closer look at the impressive Gilahina Trestle.
When we finally got to the end of McCarthy road, we parked and got ready to walk, as the only way to get into town is by crossing a footbridge (built in the 1990s).
There’s a good reason why McCarthy is called “Alaska’s most famous ghost town.” While we were there we only saw one guy crossing the bridge on an old motorcycle, and a couple of other guys doing some construction work on a house in town. Other than that, we were the only other humans there during our visit, probably because the peak of tourism season was behind us.
We went ahead and crossed the footbridge into McCarthy (population 28 as of 2010).
And walked into town.
Once in town, we walked along deserted streets with old, dilapidated buildings in eerie silence… definitely transported to a different era.
Some building were in much better shape, like Ma Johnson’s Hotel, reminders of the fact that there are still some people hanging out in this old village, and that there are visitors coming in the summer as well.
After exploring for a while, it was time to get back in the car and take McCarthy Road all the way back (this part I wasn’t particularly looking forward to), since we still had a bit of a drive to our next destination: Valdez. These sights along the way made it totally worth it.
Valdez is a beautiful little port town, and it felt so refreshing to see the ocean and these majestic mountains.
Looking back on this trip, I’m so glad my husband’s adventurous spirit led us to see such unique places. We hope to go back and visit when our son is older and can really appreciate this magnificent land.