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Thread: Anyone ever driven McCarthey or Nabesna roads?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone ever driven McCarthey or Nabesna roads?

    I was looking at places I haven't been and the Wrangell St. Elias area is a place that has always been high on the list. As far as I'm aware the McCarthey road and Nabesna road are the only ways to access the area.

    However, I am aware that both roads can be difficult at times. Has anyone ever driven either the McCarthey road or Nabesna road? What was you're expereince? I'd like to try it in late June or July.

    I have a friend up there willing to loan me a Bronco and since it's not mine I figure I owe it to him to do my research before I go up there. If you only recommend taking a borrowed car part of the way down the road and hiking from there, how far in can you get before the going gets tough? If the first 1/2 is relatively easy going, I wouldn't be opposed to parking 1/2 way down and hiking in from there.

    It looks like there are areas along the road that are not part of the National park so I believe that those areas would be fair game for hunting too????

  2. #2
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    you can drive the whole McCarthy road without too much trouble, you just can't go too fast. i wouldn't take a ferrari but a car will make it no problem if you take it easy. the road overall is a lot better than it used to be, but there are a few areas prone to washouts. after a lot of heavy rain there are some places that will slump along the outside edge of the road, and there can be mudslides across the road as well. was there last year and sailed in, but needed the 4x4 to muscle through some small slides across the road on the way out. don't know how common that is. it would be a piece of cake in a bronco.

  3. #3

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    What about the stream crossings? How deep is the water normally, 2-3 inches or a foot? Do the streams put pretty deep ruts in the road? How many days out of a year do you think they would be uncrossable?

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    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    Default Nabesna road

    I've been down the Nabesna Road three times. Never even had to use 4x4. There are a few water crossings, but the water has been 6 in or less all the times I've been there. I imagine it would be even lower in June or July. So I would say you have nothing to worry about borrowing a Bronco.

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    Member HWK's Avatar
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    Default McCarthy

    Went up last fall, not a lot of animals moving up there, well rabbits. There is a lot of Native land posted no trespassing just over the river. The road was in great shape all the way to the end, but a little rain will cure that in a hurry. We did find one legal bull but there was nothing else moving. we couldnt even spot a black bear on the hill sides. It is awsome country to explore and there are some good trails, some are short and soggy and some are long and steep. Ran into some good people up there they were very helpful and had some good advise on were to hunt and it wasnt on McCarthy road. I myself am hopping to hunt the Nabesna area this fall so would love to have some info on that area also.

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    If it has been raining really hard the Nabesna Road will be close to impassable at Lost Creek. Most of the time it can be crossed with a 2 wheel drive truck. Mccarthy Road is better maintained than Nabesna. There aren't any services in Nabesna so that is something to keep in mind. The Nabesna road is hunted pretty hard, but in June or July we usually only see a couple of other cars a day.

  7. #7

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    If you drive the Nabesna road make sure you bring a good spare tire. I had a tire go flat on me while driving back out and one of my lug nuts came apart so I was unable to change it. Luckily I had a tire repair kit in my wheeler so I put a plug in it, aired it back up and off we went. Didn't have any issues with the creeks but can see that it might be a problem should it rain real hard. I really enjoyed the drive, semi remote and beautiful country. Might have to make another drive down there for a black bear should I not get one this spring.

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    Default depending on glacial melt

    Nabensa Rd crossings can be deep & fast. AM is the best time to cross them as the melt will slow overnight. If the water looks fast, be careful. does the Bronco come with oars & an anchor?
    Gary

  9. #9

    Default Nabesna road

    Been down it many times. Even been down it when it was supposed to be closed! The only thing that will get those creeks really rolling is some good rain, otherwise it is fine. It is maintained fairly well for what it is. Drive slow and enjoy the scenery! It is a beautiful drive!

  10. #10

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    The Bronco will do fine for either road. I never do the McCarthy road without at least two spares. You might not always need them but I had three flats with one ruined tire (could not be patched) on a single trip two years ago. First one was just before Silver Lake on the way in. Keep you speed down and you will be fine.

    For the Nabesna road...remember there are no services along the way. it's a long walk if you have a 2nd flat...

  11. #11

    Default Not sure about Nabesna

    but the Mcarthy Rd is the old railbed (as the base, it is a good gravel rd). When you are talking flats there it is much more likely a railroad spike that worked it way up that caused it than a normal nail or screw. If I had an extra spare I would throw it in the vehicle, wouldn't go buy one just for the trip though.
    Mike
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

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    Default McCarthy road in great shape, recently

    We drove the McCarthy road last week, shortly after the grader had been along. Most of it was 30mph+ in a Subaru. A little rougher at each end, but a very easy trip. Two cautions: the washboard stuff can come up on you unannounced and really rattle your teeth; and when it's dry the road can get pretty dusty and on-coming traffic appears out of the cloud... maybe on your side of the road.

    On the Nabesna Road, you're correct that the national preserve borders some of the road. There's a NPS ranger station just off the Tok Cutoff in Slana; they can direct you to open hunting areas, regs, etc. Their number if you want to check ahead on recent road reports and whatnot is 822-5238. The main office is in Copper Center, along the Richardson Highway. They can give you similar info on the McCarthy Road. The number there is 822-5234

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    Default full size longbed pickup??

    I too have never been down these roads but will go oneday.
    How much room is there as far as passing other vehicles and would I have any issues with a 4 door longbed 2500.
    Thanks

  14. #14

    Smile Nabesna memories....

    I used to go down there often in the 60's, my parents built a house on the Slana River. I was a kid then and I found it a beautiful country populated by few residents. Most of them were colorful "old timers". It was a fun place untill President Carter decided to impose his will on it and make so much of the area part of the national park service. It used to be good caribou country and one could access several trails to the hills for moose, griz and sheep. I am sure there are still plenty of bears. Google "Harry Boyden" and Nabesna Mine if you want some history. Boyden was and Englishmen and guide who used to freight for the mine. Lorraine Alice has probably been there since the very early 50's. Her late husband Bill used to run a guiding buisness from there. His son's Lynn and Cole probably still do if the park service has not shut them down. I think there place at Devil's Mountain is probably the last place before the mine. The Fredrick's family used to have a lodge about 25 to 35 miles down the road, don't know what happened with it. Might have been called Paradise Lodge. Get a map. Rufus Creek, Jack Lake and several others offer dollies and grayling. Like others have said. Travel in a 4x4 should be ok unless the creeks are high.

  15. #15

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    As far as Nebesna Rd goes..... Its not just rainfall that will cause issues. Camped back there bout 10-12 years ago at a campground on a little river that might be this lost creek I seen mentioned here,dont remember these years later.
    Think it was late June. Anyhow I left in the afternoon on the 3 wheeler to run back to Sportsman Lodge for a couple things and within a hours time there was a torrent of snow melt from the high grounds ripping across the road on the way back.
    In trying to get back across I was swept down a very narrow swift stream of water about 75 yards into the woods and swept under the machine that was under water upside down. Took all I had to drag myself out and humbled me for sure.
    Walked several miles back to the camper and came back with my wife and mom who was up visiting and with there help was able to drag it up on the bank,push it to the road and pull it back to camp.
    Next morning coming out the temperary creek was dry as a bone. Use good judgement like I didnt..... Melt-off is a real issue.

  16. #16
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default

    Dick Fredricks passed away several years ago but as far as I know Doug is still kickin' round that neck of the woods. Used to be the best place to find Doug at the end of the day was
    at the local watering hole (Duffies Inn?). In addition to the Sportsman's Lodge, Doug owned Copper Lake Lodge on Copper Lake. Before the park it was great bear, moose, 'bou, and sheep country...still is...just cant hunt it unless you live in the park - I think they call it "subsistence" hunting now!

  17. #17
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Ellis!!!

    338 mag...post #14,
    Lorrene Ellis, not Lorraine Alice.
    Sons Kirk Ellis and Cole Ellis still run great guiding businesses, working all that fed Wrangell Saint Elias National Preserve land in the Nutzotin Mts north of the Wrangell Saint Elias National Park, "hard park" land.

    When not guiding-outfitting, they work the eco-tourism and mountain climbing market dropping off clients with their super-cub aircraft.

    Finer people do not exist on this planet.

    Yes, watch those two creeks at high water following heavy rains. Prior to going down the road, stop off at the Slana Nat Nark Hq Bld, and ask about the road conditions.

    Hunting is poor off the road. Grayling, up to 16" in Jack Creek, where five (?) very clean camp sites exist. Bring your own fire wood. Practice catch and release, please....those bigger grayling are older than your kids!. Bring bug dope.

    Dennis

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