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Roadtrippin’ 2022: The shuttle to McCarthy

“What we’re doing is providing a weekend warrior kind of shuttle ride,” said Neil Darish, owner of the shuttle service.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 5:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Many roads in Alaska are long, and some of them are even treacherous. That’s why McCarthy, Alaska is offering a new service — making it so you can visit without ever getting behind the wheel. There is now a shuttle that runs from Anchorage to McCarthy and back every week.

“What we’re doing is providing a weekend warrior kind of shuttle ride,” said Neil Darish, owner of the shuttle service.

The shuttle picks up passengers every Friday in the summer, leaving Anchorage around 9 a.m. From there, riders get to gaze upon the Chugach Mountains and the Talkeetna Mountains as they make their way to the base of the Wrangell St. Elias mountains. After crossing an impressive one-way bridge over the Copper River, the shuttle hits a 60-mile-long dirt road — a journey that ends in McCarthy.

“Mostly we want to make the journey palatable because it seems too difficult for people, and this just makes it easy,” Darish said.

For those that do choose to drive themselves, cars are not allowed through the private gate. Visitors must park in the McCarthy parking lot and walk about a half-mile into town. A perk to the shuttle is passengers get to cruise right on in.

After spending a weekend enjoying the quirky off-grid town of McCarthy, the shuttle loads passengers back up on Sunday morning around 9 a.m. for the ride back to Anchorage.

Darish says there will soon be a website launched for this new shuttle service. In the meantime, if you’d like to book a trip you can call Ma Johnson’s Hotel to save your seat. It is $400 per person for a round-trip ride or $200 one-way.

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