McCarthy is near the southeastern corner of Alaska, not far from both the Canadian border and the Gulf of Alaska. It is just south of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
As of March 2015, the McCarthy Road off of the Edgerton Highway from Chitina is the only way to access McCarthy from outside. The road is not always maintained during the winter, but it is also possible to fly in via small plane from nearby cities.
McCarthy is considered very remote and has a small population. The nearest major cities are Anchorage at just over 300 miles away, and Whitehorse in Canada which is about 650 miles away via the Alaska Highway.