Wrangell – Saint Elias Wilderness

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Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Wrangell stelias.jpg
Map showing the location of Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness
Map showing the location of Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness
Location Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA
Coordinates 61°16′N 141°36′W / 61.267°N 141.600°W / 61.267; -141.600Coordinates: 61°16′N 141°36′W / 61.267°N 141.600°W / 61.267; -141.600
Area 9,078,675 acres (3,674,009 ha)
Established 1980
Governing body National Park Service

Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness is a wilderness area in Alaska, United States. At 9,078,675 acres (3,674,009 ha), it is the largest designated U.S. Wilderness Area, and lies within Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest national park in the United States. It is a land of remote valleys, wild rivers, and a fabulous wildlife population that includes Dall sheep, grizzly bears, black bears, caribou, moose, bison, mountain goats, wolves, wolverines, beavers, coyotes, foxes, and marmots. In the north the glaciated peaks drop to tundra and boreal forested uplands. In the south massive glaciers spread from the mountains almost to the Gulf of Alaska. Several trails provide foot or horse access, but large braided rivers often stop progress unless a packraft is used. The classic route across the Wilderness links the gold-rush era settlement of Chisana with the copper-mining era community of McCarthy, via 100 miles (160 km) of tundra, trails and gravel bars. Unmaintained trails lead through spruce forests near Chisana, across high tundra plains to the White River, below 16,000-foot (4,900 m) mountains over Skolai Pass, and into the Chitistone Gorge and Canyon with waterfalls to 1,500 feet (460 m) high. Mosquitoes are thick in the low country during the summer, and enough snow accumulates in the high country to make avalanches a year-round danger.

On the Canadian side of the border lies Kluane National Park, and together these two areas house this continent's most spectacular mountain kingdom.

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