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Reviewed 5 August 2006

We spent two nights in McCarthy in July 2006 and loved every minute of our stay. Go to McCarthy if you are looking for a hint of life in a small Alaska town and like to get away from everything. We stayed one night at the Lancaster Backpackers Hotel which is less expensive than Ma Johnson's. The Lancaster is perfectly acceptable if you just want a very basic place to stay. (hostel like but with private rooms) Bathrooms were downstairs and shared with others but were perfectly clean and had plenty of warm water. We then went out to the backcountry with a guide for five days and returned to a little more luxury at Ma Johnsons. Depending on your traveling style it may be worth the money for the better linens, nicer baths and quaint lobby of Ma Johnson's but the Lancaster is perfectly fine if you are satisfied with clean basic accommodations. We enjoyed our stay at both places. Either way, have a meal at the lodge. The food was some of the best in Alaska.
We let the rental car prohibition on the McCarthy Rd. scare us and we flew in with Wrangell Mountain Air. Although our flight was great, it was expensive. Next time, we will drive. Everyone says the road is not bad at all.
A visit to McCarthy is not complete without seeing the backcountry of Wrangell St. Elias either on your own (depending on your level of experience) or with a guide. We flew out to a backcountry landing strip with Wrangell Mountain Air (fabulous pilots and planes) and spent five days backpacking in total awe of the vast beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. If you're not up for backpacking definitely opt for a flight see - the glaciers, waterfalls and rivers of Wrangell St. Elias are a sight to remember for a lifetime.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
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6  Thank paula191
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2006

We stayed at the Ma Johnsons hotel in McCarthy Alaska in July 2006. If you dont know where McCarthy Alaska is, I'm not surprised, but if you like out of the way places with lots of local charm, look it up. The hotel was clean, the room cozy, and the service very freindly and accomodating. Breakfast is included with your room, and is served across the street in the restaurant. The town is only about 2 blocks long, dirt road, and lots of dogs running around, but what a fun place to go!!! We were in Alaska for 2 weeks, we drove 2,400 miles, and McCarthy was definetly one of our favorites!!!

3  Thank debminn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
San Diego, California
15
Reviewed 3 July 2006

Stayed 4 nights at Ma Johnsons and really enjoyed the entire Wrangell St.Elais / McCarthy experience. McCarthy is a charming old town with dirt streets and an old west style main street. For me it was retro back to the 50's in the mid-west where I grew up. It took us a couple of days to wind down from our multi tasking mentality to enjoying the slower pace of McCarthy, but we loved it. We sat on the porch in the evenings and watched the neighborhood kids ride their bikes and dogs playing in the street. Note there were only 3 kids and 6 dogs, but they had a wonderful time. An old yeller golden retriver had enough and came up and lay down beside me with his ball. So we played ball. The accomodations at Ma Johnsons include period furniture of the time and photos yesteryear. Very laid back and enjoyable. The breakfasts and dinners at the McCarthy Lodge (under the same management as the hotel) are superb. The food preparation and presentation are first rate. After a day of hiking, coming back to a great meal was wonderful. For those day hikes, we carried a lunch prepared at the McCarthy Merchentile which was also 1st rate. The people are friendly and very accomodating. We only wish we could have stayed longer. Wonderful vacation!

  • Stayed: June 2006
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5  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Weert, Netherlands
13
Reviewed 15 June 2006

Travelling from Valdez to Fairbanks, we took a shuttle from Chitina to McCarthy and stayed there for three nights in the Ma Johnsons Hotel. This was one the best places we had so far. The hotel is from the early (19-)twenties and is perfectly renovated. When entering the hotel, it feels like a leap back in time. This is actually true for the whole town; it was like living in a western town for a couple of days. The owner and personnel of the hotel are extremely friendly and very helpfull. The surroundings give plenty of opportunities for hiking with splendid, scenic views.

Stayed: June 2006
3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, Mass
14
Reviewed 7 September 2005

McCarthy is a special place, and the hotel and lodge were perfect in every way. The hotel is full of details using artifacts from the town. I had no problem with driving the road to McCarthy even though the guide books say the road is bad, it really is easy to do. Not all rental cars are allowed on the road though, so double check. We used Enterprise and they had no problem with us taking the vehicle on the McCarthy Road. The food at the McCarthy Lodge was the best we had in Alaska. The Hotel was really unique. I disagree with the guy that thought it was too expensive. I spent two nights in McCarthy and one in Kennicott and found McCarthy to be of much better quality and clearly a better value (certainly cheaper than Kennicott). I would definately stay in McCarthy again. Highly recommended but stay at least 2 nights.

  • Stayed: September 2005
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4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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