The quaint little settlement of McCarthy (pop. 25) was a boomtown from the early 1900s to 1939, serving the copper workers at Kennecott mines and the railroad workers on the Copper River and Northwestern Railway. At its peak, the town was full of hotels, restaurants, bars, and pool halls, along with the obligatory red-light district.
Today it’s a busy base from which outdoor enthusiasts explore spectacular mountain country and the nearby mine buildings in Kennicott.
Tiny McCarthy-Kennicott Museum is open daily in the summertime; find it just as you arrive in McCarthy from the footbridge. Inside are interesting photos, maps, and artifacts. A model of the Bonanza mine occupies the adjacent boxcar.
Downtown McCarthy is a fun place to wander about, with dogs lazing on the dirt streets, lots of interesting buildings to explore, and a mix of businesses offering lodging, food, and various adventures. You’ll hear the hum of generators behind the log buildings, and the buzz of mosquitoes around your head.
McCarthy also has a delightfully old-fashioned 4th of July celebration with a parade and live music. The old McCarthy Hotel is the primary gathering place, with lodging, meals, and a fine gallery called Mountain Arts.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition