The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is one of the most primitive parks in the world with some stunning scenery that can only be reached by bush planes. Its' chief attraction is also its' detriment to many people who can't afford the cost of flying to many of these destinations.
Thankfully, there is Nabesna Road, one of only 2 roads that go into the park. The road itself is rough and potholed but it is worth the time to do the entire road for sightseeing.
Rabmler Mine is a great choice for a short and easy day hike that features historic mine buildings, artifacts, and great scenery. The Rambler Mine extracted gold in the early 1940s, and is perched high on the side of White Mountain.
The trailhead is located at the end of the maintained portion of Nabesna Road, mile 42. As you near the end of the maintained portion of the road, you will reach private property owned by the Ellis family. Please respect their privacy and take care not to park on their property or private air strip. Continue driving on the road through the Ellis property. Approximately 1000 ft beyond their property, there is a gravel parking area.
After leaving your car, continue hiking down the historic mining road. After about 1/3 mile, turn right onto the tree-canopied trail. You will then begin a steady, uphill 1/2 mile ascent through a predominately spruce and alder forest. After reaching the mine, you may continue on the route upwards for further views. This route is not maintained and may not be readily visible.
The mine opening and tunnels, surrounding buildings, and other structures are in a state of disrepair and can be hazardous. Please exercise caution and common sense.
If you're looking for a real primitive and pristine Alaska experience, and you're on a limited budget, this is a great bet.
This is definitely mosquito country, so bring the DEET!
Be aware that several creeks cross under the road. In heavy rain, they may overflow possibly trapping you in the park until they recede. Pack some extra supplies in your vehicle just in case you have to stay over for a few days.
If you have some extra time, this would be a great opportunity to bike the entire 40 mile road. It's rough, so use a mountain bike.
There are some other great hikes along Nabesna Road that I would love to come back and try some day. The Skookum Volcano Trail was another great day hike with amazing views. I've also heard good things about the Trail Creek/Lost Creek loop, and the Caribou Creek Trail.
For more information on this area, I heartily recommend Hiking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park by Danny Kost.
There are several single campsites with their own lakes and outhouses. Get there early so you can claim one for your own.
The drive from Anchorage is a great road trip. The Glenn Highway is one of the most scenic in America. At mile 100, I recommend making the Matanuska Glacier Rest Area your lunch stop. Since the driving time is under 5 hours, you may also consider taking a side trip to Matanuska Glacier where you can actually walk on top of it.