Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell - St Elias National Park & Preserve

Valdez Trail

Many thousands have passed this way before you. The last, straight section of trail is a ghostly remnant of the original Valdez Trail. During the great Klondike gold rush, most
stampeders reached the gold fields from Skagway via the Chilkoot Pass. Many Americans objected to Canadian control of that route. In response, the U.S. government constructed an alternate trail from Valdez to Fairbanks. You are now walking that trail.
By 1899, prospectors were flooding into the Copper Basin. Soon, enterprising citizens established roadhouses?along the route. These small inns provided a convenientand
comfortable place to stop. Many, like Copper Center, eventually developed into small communities.
The first automobile negotiated the
entire trail in 1913. Subsequent improvements have buried most of the Valdez Trail beneath today's Richardson and Glenn Highways.
Along this section, however, you can still imagine the adventure and hardships of early Alaskan travelers.