KGL News

End of Summer Special and Other News

Christina Kirkwood - Thursday, August 27, 2015

It is always surprising how fast the summer seems to go by and this year has been no exception. The Lodge has been busy since the middle of June and we have had another incredible summer of sharing our summer home with Guests from around the world.

16,380 ft. Mt. Blackburn

About two weeks ago the leaves in Kennicott took on a definite yellow tinge and every day there are more and more patches of yellow in the trees. The fall colors are beautiful in Kennicott and soon the entire valley will be full of yellows, oranges, and even some reds. With the shorter daylight hours, there is also a chance of seeing the Northern Lights on clear nights. Although the unpredictable nature of the Aurora means that you may have to stay up all night to see them.

The end of August and September are usually a quieter time in Kennicott and it can be a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds that are here in June and July. Be sure to check out our End of Summer Special if you are considering a visit. We are offering rooms starting at just $99 per night for stays between August 27 and closing day on September 13.

The McCarthy Road is in rough shape right now due to lots of rain and traffic the last few weeks. Please be sure to drive slowly and cautiously and budget a little extra time for the 60 mile trip. Wrangell Mountain Air offers three scheduled flights a day from Chitina to McCarthy for anyone who does not want to drive the McCarthy Road.

The South Wing expansion project is still on schedule to open in June 2016. The second floor deck is installed and the next step is to start working on the second floor outer walls and roof trusses.

1st Floor Walls of Addition

For those of you already looking ahead to next year, the Lodge will be open from Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, September 11, 2016 and reservations can be made up to one year in advance.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

June News

Christina Kirkwood - Friday, June 26, 2015
Welcome to Kennicott

Summer is in full swing here in Kennicott! Each day has over 19 hours of daylight and the weather has been sunny and warm with temperatures in the 70's and 80's.

The last few months have been a blur of moving to Kennicott, welcoming all of our new and returning staff members, getting ready to open the lodge and settling into our summer routine. We have already had lots of Guests visit us this summer from around the world, including 77 people on opening night, and the long days and beautiful weather have given everyone the opportunity to enjoy this national park. From walking on the glacier and taking tours of the historic copper mine to hiking up a mountain and going river rafting and flight sightseeing, there is always something to do when you visit Kennicott.

The 4th of July is right around the corner and most Alaskans know that the Kennicott/McCarthy area is a great place to celebrate the holiday. The festivities in McCarthy include a parade at noon, featuring creative and entertaining floats by several local businesses and residents, followed by an afternoon of egg tosses, three legged races and pie eating contests. At Kennciott Glacier Lodge, we will also be offering a special BBQ menu dinner at 7pm to celebrate the 4th. Whether it is your first time, or you come back every year, spending the 4th of July in McCarthy is always a memorable event.

Hiking on the Root Glacier

In other news, we are excited to announce that we have begun construction on the South Wing expansion project. The new section will be attached to the current building and will give us 10 more rooms with private bathrooms. The first section of the foundation was poured last week and we have received over 25 tons of building material. If all goes according to plan, the new rooms will be ready at the beginning of Summer 2016 and we are looking forward to being able to share our favorite part of Alaska with more of you.

We hope that everyone is enjoying the Alaska summer and as always, we look forward to seeing you in Kennicott soon!

-The Kirkwood Family and Staff of Kennicott Glacier Lodge

March News

Christina Kirkwood - Sunday, March 01, 2015

The days are getting longer and spring is right around the corner in Alaska, although with less than 20 inches of snow in Anchorage so far, it never really felt like winter!

Over half of our staff from last year are returning for another summer in Kennicott and we have signed up several new people from around the world to join our team. The only position we still have available is for a waiter/waitress. If you are interested in spending the summer in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, please let us know as soon as possible.

We have been receiving several questions recently about getting to Kennicott by flying from Anchorage to McCarthy. There are scheduled flights from Anchorage to McCarthy and back every Monday and Thursday but there is a stop in Glennallen in both directions. The flight from Anchorage to Glennallen is now operated by Reeve Air and the flight from Glennallen to McCarthy is operated by Copper Valley Air. Reservations for each leg of the flight must be made through the individual companies.

A second option for flying all the way from Anchorage to McCarthy is to charter a flight with Wrangell Mountain Air. These flights can be reserved for any day of the week on a space available basis.

We will again be offering nightly programs for our Guests in the Main Lodge family room this summer. These programs are usually presented by a local guiding company and are a great way to learn about the area and the activities that are available. In addition, the National Park Service will be conducting a nightly program three days each week this summer. The Park Service Rangers will either offer an orientation walk through historic Kennicott or give a slideshow presentation about the area. We highly recommend attending these presentations during your stay.

In other news, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park was recently named to the National Geographic Traveler list of the Top 10 Underappreciated National Parks. Just one more reason to add this great area to the list of destinations to visit on your next Alaska adventure!

Happy Holidays from KGL!

Christina Kirkwood - Monday, December 22, 2014

As the year comes to end, we would like to say thank you again to everyone who made 2014 a great year. From our staff, to all of our Guests and everyone who we work with both in Kennicott/McCarthy and around the world, you have helped to make this our best year yet!

Looking ahead to next year, we are already busy taking reservations and we have several nights when we are completely full. If you would like to stay with us next summer, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible. The Kennicott Explorer Package, which we are offering again next summer, includes your flight from Chitina to McCarthy and back with Wrangell Mountain Air, your room and all meals and it is a great way to see the National Park.

We are also starting the process of hiring our staff for Summer 2015. If you are interested in spending the summer in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and working with a great group of people to help our Guests enjoy their visit, please check out the available jobs under the About Us-Employment tab.

This spring, we will be attending several travel shows in the lower 48 to provide information on our lodge and the area. We are going to share a booth with the State of Alaska at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show on January 17 and 18 at the Donald Stephens Convention Center, the Boston Globe Travel Show on February 6, 7 and 8 at the Seaport World Trade Center and the Philadelphia Travel and Adventure Show on March 21 and 22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. These shows are a great way for travelers to learn about different destinations around the world and if you are in the area, please be sure to stop by and say hello.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Kennicott Glacier Lodge!

End of Summer News

Christina Kirkwood - Sunday, November 02, 2014

We had another great summer in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in 2014. In this, our 29th season, Kennicott Glacier Lodge welcomed a record number of Guests . Our visitors came to Kennicott from 47 US States and 31 different countries. We also had a diverse group of people working with us including 10 international students from Bulgaria, Russia and Malaysia.

The Lodge officially closed on September 14, however, we and several of our Staff stayed in Kennicott for another few weeks to "winterize" everything. From shampooing the carpets to deep cleaning the kitchen, draining the water pipes and servicing all of the equipment, making sure the lodge is ready to withstand the winter months of up to -50F temperatures and several feet of snow is no easy task.

2014 Kennicott Glacier Lodge Staff

The Lodge is completely closed up now and we have officially moved to our winter office in Anchorage. After being back in the "big city" for a few weeks, we are reminded of all the things that make Kennicott unique and special. The huge mountains and glaciers at your doorstep, the easy access to great hiking and other outdoor activities, the lack of crowds and vehicles, and the closeness and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. All of these combine to make Kennicott our favorite place in Alaska.

Kennicott Glacier Lodge will reopen for Summer 2015 on Saturday, May 23. Thank you to everyone who visited us this summer and to our wonderful 2014 Staff. We look forward to seeing many of you again next summer!

-The Kirkwood Family

Summer in Kennicott

Christina Kirkwood - Monday, August 18, 2014

By Morgan Falzone

The sun reflects brightly off the Root Glacier, steady streams of hikers parade past the lodge en route to adventures, wildflowers bloom with enthusiasm along the trails…the summer season is in full swing here at Kennicott. The largest national park in the United States, Wrangell-St. Elias covers 13.2 million acres of stunning Alaskan landscape.

Glacier hikes and river tours provide an intimate look at the park, but for the big picture, flight seeing is the way to go. Wrangell Mountain Air offers a variety of trips ranging from 35 minute jaunts to 90 minute excursions. I recently had the opportunity to get out on the 50 minute Backcountry Tour – what an experience! My fellow flight-seers and I met our pilot, Austin, at the McCarthy airstrip (which has one of the best views in town), and loaded into the red and yellow plane. We donned our aviation headsets and readied our cameras before Austin whisked us into the air. Through the subtle hum of the engine through the headsets, Austin immediately started pointing out the surrounding features and explaining the geography of the area.

The Backcountry Tour began by following the Nizina river until we reached the confluence of the Rohn and Regal glaciers, where they merge into the Nizina Glacier. Looking out, you see expansive glaciers, endless mountains, stunning blue glacial pools, the Mile High Cliffs, and even one of the rare rock glaciers, before coasting off for closer views of the Stairway Icefall and Mount Blackburn. From this distance, you see that the slight ripples observed from Kennicott are really massive ice pillars looming hundreds of feet high. The flight-seeing tours certainly help you gain a bit of perspective for the grandiose scale of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. In fact, since only a fraction of the park is road accessible, flying is the only way to see the further reaches. Many guests swear that the most spectacular way to explore the area is from the air. And after such an incredible personal experience, who am I to disagree?

If you’re looking for an up close look at the mining town of Kennecott, you can hop on the Mill Tour hosted by the St. Elias Alpine Guiding company. Their 2-2 ½ hour tour takes you around town and through the iconic 14-story processing mill. The mill building reopened this summer after being closed for repairs and is definitely worth a look! Our friendly front desk staff can help you with scheduling and reservations upon your arrival.

In other news, the once infamous McCarthy road, which is already in relatively good shape, is about to get even less rugged. The Department of Transportation has begun work on 14 of the 60 mile road, covering it with emulsified asphalt and crushed rock. This will be the first time any part of the road has been improved beyond simple grading – improving the driving experience and shaving a bit of time off the journey. In the meantime, however, the roadwork may result in some delays. Once you reach Kennicott, you can nip over to the gift shop and buy an "I survived the McCarthy Road" T-Shirt and wear it as you relax on our porch or go about your adventures.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Bonanza Mine

Christina Kirkwood - Sunday, May 25, 2014

By Morgan Falzone

The countdown until our season officially begins is at an end! After weeks of preparation, we at Kennicott Glacier Lodge are excited to open our doors and welcome visitors to our home in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The weather out here has been absolutely gorgeous! Our staff is taking advantage of the warmth to get out and explore the area; they will be ready (and eager) to offer suggestions on many of the activities available for you to enjoy.

Last Saturday, three members of our team ventured along the Bonanza Mine trail. The hike is rated as strenuous - the rocky trail gains about 3,800 feet over 4.5 miles. To ensure they had enough energy for the task, the hikers slept in and enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by one of our professional chefs before hitting the trail - luxuries they can afford with our long daylight hours. The sun doesn’t even begin to set until around 11:00 PM, so visitors have plenty of time to take advantage of glacier climbs, trail hiking, historic tours, and more. Just make sure you have enough energy to outlast the sun! Of course, if leisure is what you’re after, you can absorb the beauty of our surroundings by relaxing on our porch and enjoying a fresh meal. With panoramic views of the Chugach Mountains, Fireweed Mountain, Mt. Blackburn, and the Kennicott Glacier, you don’t need to travel to admire the area.

While enjoying expansive views from above the tree line, our trail-blazers didn’t quite reach the Bonanza Mine. About two miles in, the trail disappeared under a foot of snow. Continuing on for some time, alternating between bushwhacking and traipsing through increasingly deep snow, they eventually decided to turn back so as to arrive at the lodge in time for the family style dinner. What a great way to end the day!

For more information about the Bonanza Mine Trail, check out http://www.nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/upload/Bonanza-Mine.pdf

May News

Christina Kirkwood - Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Summer is almost here in Alaska! The temperature was in the 60s last week, the snow is almost gone, and we now have over 16 hours of light each day.

With summer right around the corner, we are starting the migration from our winter office in Anchorage back to Kennicott. It usually takes about a month from the first time owner Rich Kirkwood goes to Kennicott to plow snow until we are ready to open our doors. There is a lot to do from starting the generators and heating up the buildings to turning the water back on and training new staff members. This will be our 28th time opening for the summer, though, and it gets a little easier every year. The rest of our summer employees will arrive in the next few weeks and we will welcome our first Guests on May 24th.

To celebrate opening for the summer, we will be offering an "Alaskan Special" from May 26 to June 15. Main Lodge forest view rooms will be $99 per night and Main Lodge glacier view rooms will be $159 per night. With the early spring we are currently having, late May and early June will be a great time to visit Kennicott. Please give us a call if you are interested in these special rates.

In other news, we have been getting some questions on the status of the Mill Building. As you may know, the 14 story Mill Building was closed to the public in August 2012 so that restoration and stabilization efforts could begin. The construction crew was hard at work last summer and they have now completed Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will not begin this summer, so after a final safety check is conducted, we have been told that the Mill Building will be open for tours. We do not know when the building will reopen but we will keep you updated as we learn more. The Park Service Visitor Center and all of the other publically accessible buildings will be open daily from 9:30am to 6:00pm beginning on May 23rd.

As always, we are looking forward to another great summer in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. We have a great staff signed up to work with us and we will again be hosting Guests from around the world. See you in Kennicott!

Welcome to our blog!

Christina Kirkwood - Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Happy New Year from Alaska and welcome to our new blog!

Here at Kennicott Glacier Lodge we are using the winter months to get ready for another great summer in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. We spend the winter in Anchorage, AK and we are busy taking reservations and hiring a new team to help us this summer. We are excited that several of our staff members, including all of our Chefs, will be returning for Summer 2014 and we are looking forward to having several new people join our team.

We are also using this time to start the KGL News blog. Be sure to check back here each month to get updates on what is happening. If you have any suggestions, or topics that you would like to see included in this blog, please let us know.

For those who are interested in visiting Kennicott in 2014, this is a great time to start planning your trip. We already have several dates when we are completely full and many more when we only have a few rooms available. To be guaranteed a room, especially if you are interested in the South Wing, we recommend reserving as early as possible.

We wish you all a wonderful 2014!