Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve EV Travel Guide

Last updated 4/30/24

While among the least visited national parks, Wrangell-St. Elias is huge. It takes up a large chunk of the southeast corner of the non-panhandle part of Alaska. As you’d expect, that means cold, cold winters and beautiful summers. Unlike many other Alaskan parks, this is one you can drive to! But, you can only reach some small parts of it on wheels, so the other parts will have to be reached by foot, bush plane, or boat. In this guide, I’ll only be covering the parts you can reach by car.

The park is the largest national park at over 13 million acres, and it contains a majority of the tallest mountain peaks in the United States. One way into the park is via an old railroad that was converted into a road. It’s gravel for a good bit of the way, and stops 5 miles short of Kennecott, an old mining town. You can proceed for the last 5 miles by shuttle, bike/e-bike, or on foot. Trails from there go into the park. There’s also a glacier and other sights to see there.

Another road trip you can take into the park comes off Highway 1 at Slana, and it’s called Nabesna Road. It’s 27 miles of gravel to reach the Kendesnii campground. There’s also a lodge and a lake at that area.

Getting There In An EV

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Obviously, you’ll need to get to Alaska with your EV first. This can be done via the Alaska Highway (a tough route for EVs, but doable) or via the Alaska Marine Highway (a vehicle ferry that starts in Washington state).
  • One road into the park ends just before McCarthy on the way to Kennecott, an old mining town. The last five miles can only be taken by shuttle, bike, or hiking. So, if you want to get in there under electric power for brags, you’ll need to bring an e-bike along. Bikes are allowed on all roads as well as anywhere normal bikes are allowed.
    • The turnoff from Alaska 1 onto the Richardson Highway (4) is the last place you’ll find a DC fast charger. The road is paved from there to the turnoff for Chitina, and there’s an RV park that allows charging (call ahead to make sure rules haven’t changed). Most EVs will need to charge overnight in Chitina to have enough power to get back out to the DCFC station. Having a camping trailer or a decent tent is recommended.
    • After that, you cross a bridge and go on gravel the rest of the way. There’s a basecamp you can park at, where you can camp, but after that no cars are allowed.
  • The other road into the park from Slana (Nabesna Road) does not have any charging along it.
    • Nearest stations are at Tok and at Glenallen. If you leave from either of those places to get to the Kendesnii campground, you’ll definitely want to use trip planning software (something you should be doing anyway). Whether you can get out there and back will depend heavily on how much range your EV has, among other factors.
    • It might be possible to get a charge at an RV park in Slana, but you’ll need to call ahead and see what the policies on that are.

Links For Further Park and Nearby Information


Here’s a couple of good videos showing what it’s like to visit some of the different parts of the park:

Featured image by Kayla Kimball, NPS (Public Domain).