Wrangell, located near the mouth of the Stikine River, is one of Alaska’s oldest towns. The town is the only one to be ruled by four nations: Tlingit, Russia, England, and the US. Talk about interesting history! The award-winning Wrangell Museum showcases the diverse nature of Wrangell’s past. Alaska Native culture is another of Wrangell’s cultural showcases. A stroll about town uncovers dozens of native totems along with the stunning collection at Chief Shake’s Island and the Kiksadi Totem Park located on Front Street.
The most popular day trip from Wrangell is to Anan Wildlife Observatory. Anan Creek is the site of one of the largest pink salmon runs in the Inside Passage. From the viewing platforms at the observatory, you can watch eagles, harbor seals, black bears and a few brown bears chowing down on the spawning salmon. Guided trips to Anan Creek are plentiful. Or opt for an excursion up the Stikine River to view up-close and personal, the massive glaciers as they calve into the river. Another local hotspot is Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park, where you can see primitive rock carvings believed to be at least 1,000 years old.
All this combined with the land and sea adventure of the Tongass National Forest makes a visit to Wrangell a must!
For more information on Wrangell, visit www.wrangellalaska.org.
Petersburg, Alaska is a busy and scenic waterfront, lined with wharfs, working boats and weathered boathouses. Tidy homes and businesses – many decorated with distinctive flowery Norwegian rosemaling – line the quiet streets. It’s located at the north end of the Wrangell Narrows, a fjord reminiscent of Norway itself.
Petersburg lies across Frederick Sound and nearby LeConte Glacier, which provides outstanding kayaking, flightseeing and day boat cruising opportunities.
A trip south leads to the rest of Mitkof Island, where a road system leads visitors to Tongass National Forest campgrounds, hiking trails, fish ladders, a hatchery and a trumpeter swan observatory.
Because of Petersburg’s Norwegian heritage, you’ll find unique bakeries and gift shops in town celebrating this history. Be sure to try the halibut, Petersburg boasts the largest home-based halibut fleet in Alaska. You’ll find none fresher!
With its unique Norwegian heritage, it’s breathtaking views, and access to all the best outdoor enjoyment, a trip to Alaska’s Rainforest Islands isn’t complete without a visit to Petersburg.
For more information on Petersburg, visit www.petersburgak.org.
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
At 2,231 square miles, Prince of Wales Island is the fourth largest island in the United States after the Big Island of Hawaii, Kodiak Island in Alaska and Puerto Rico. Prince of Wales Island features 11 different communities (some traditionally Native Alaskan) with populations ranging from 35 to 1,400. Serviced by the Interisland Ferry Authority with regular service from Ketchikan, the ferry docks in the small town of Hollis. The largest, most visitor-friendly towns on Prince of Wales are Craig and Klawock. Other main communities include Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove.
With 990 miles of coastline and chains of inland lakes, water activities are plentiful on Prince of Wales. Try kayaking around one of the Island’s bays or coves, or portage a canoe amongst the inland lakes. Tongass National Forest public-use cabins are readily available throughout. The island has the most extensive road system in the Inside Passage, with 1,300 miles of paved or maintained gravel roads that lead to small villages, rustic campgrounds, fishing lodges and numerous trails. There are also several hundred miles of logging roads that many visitors explore on mountain bike.
As far as attractions go, Prince of Wales Island has some really interesting ones. Fish ladders at Cable Creek Fish Pass and Dog Salmon Fish Pass help salmon negotiate their spawning routes and ancient caves on the north end of the island are karst formations of more than 850 grottos and caves. The most popular cave is El Capitan. The cave is northwest of the town of Thorne Bay. Regularly scheduled tours are available seasonally.
Come see why Prince of Wales Island is known as “Alaska’s best kept secret!”
For more information about Prince of Wales Island, please visit www.princeofwalescoc.org.
Kake is a small beachfront village populated mainly by Tlingit Alaskans focusing on fishing, logging and subsistence-based lifestyle. Located on Kupreanof Island and at the edge of the Tebenkof Bay Wilderness, Kake is home to the world’s largest totem pole.
The waters surrounding Kake are rich with halibut and salmon, making it a world-class destination for anglers as well as a prime spot for humpback whale watching.
More than 120 miles of logging roads that head inland from the village and can be explored by mountain bike or on foot to access more of Kupreonof Island. Trail access from the roadway includes Big John Bay Trail, Goose Lake Trail and Cathedral Falls Trail. Bear viewing is possible along Silver Spike Road Bridge and at Gunnuck Creek Hatchery, where a large number of chum salmon return every summer.
Kake also serves as the departure point for ocean kayak trips into Tebenkof Bay Wilderness, a remote bay system composed of hundreds of islands, small inner bays and coves.
For more information on Kake, visit www.cityofkake.org.