SOUTHEAST ALASKA's Inside Passage stretches about 400 by 125 miles as the eagle flies. Pick a spot and explore her vast islands, waterways and all that it offers, or travel the Inside Passage north. Either way, you're sure to make many discoveries beyond your imagination.
Metlakatla on Annette Island is the home of the Tsimshian. This is Alaska's only federal Indian reservation, founded in 1887 by Reverend William Duncan. It is south of Ketchikan, the first port of entry to Alaska.
The Ketchikan area offers a well-rounded cultural experience. Explore Saxman Tribal House, Totem Bight State Park, Totem Heritage Center, and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. From Ketchikan, charter into the magnificent Misty Fjords National Monument.
Continuing north through the Inside Passage, the Prince of Wales Island, third largest island in the United States, is a boater's and diver's utopia, with sheltered coves and hundreds of smaller islands. There are more than 500 caves, sinkholes and underground streams. El Capitan drops 597 feet, one of the deepest single drops in a North American cave. Reservations are required to go spelunking in these caves.
Discover your own petroglphys (rock carvings) on the beach in Wrangell. Charter on the wild Stikine River with wildlife, glaciers and hot springs. Garnets in Wrangell! Garnet Lodge was originally owned and mined by Minnesota women and donated to the boy scouts. If you haven't seen a bear yet, you might want to visit Anan Bear Observatory, up close and personal! Permits required.
The best part of your trip will be cruising through the Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg. Twenty two miles of real beauty so close you can almost touch the land. There are 60 plus lights and buoys to mark the Narrows, and it is not navigated by the large cruise ships.
Petersburg is also known as "Alaska's Little Norway". It is the home to one of Alaska's most prosperous fishing fleets. The Norwegian culture is evident with rosemaling on houses and storefronts. Take in the LeConte Glacier, the southern most active tidewater glacier in North America.
Continuing north, take a detour into Endicott Arm to see the Dawes Glacier, or Tracy Arm to see the Twin Sawyer Glaciers. Here you'll see many seals and their pups resting on the floating ice bergs. Marine life abounds in both of these arms.
Circumnavigating Admiralty Island, known as the "Fortress of the Bears," could take you a week at a minimum and is a favorite among visitors. There are many bays that are home to the marine life, cultural opportunities, fishing, and a true wilderness experience.
Juneau is Alaska's capital city and offers the most dramatic landscape on the planet. The lush rainforest of the Tongass National Forest is home to the eagles, bears, porcupine, deer, grouse, and goats, while the surrounding waters host the Great Blue Heron, several varieties of shore birds and ducks, salmon, halibut, steelhead, dolly varden, crab, and shrimp. Juneau has a rich mining history and celebrates Gold Rush Days at the end of each June. The Mendenhall Glacier is close enough that you can drive to it, hike to it, and in the winter, you can skate right up to it.
Sitka -by-the-Sea was known as the Paris of the Pacific and is now known as "Carmel" of Alaska. It has a rich European and Russian heritage. Sitka has a forest of Tlingit and Haida totem carvings, and a volcano which rises 3, 271 feet out of the sea, know as Mount Edgecumbe.
Haines is an artists' haven. The first artists were Tlingit. Adapting a Tsimshian technique, they wore ceremonial Chilkat blankets, with totemic patterns and bold colors. Haines is also the Bald Eagle hangout. 400 in summer and 3500 in the winter - the world's largest gathering munching chum salmon on the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
Skagway was the jumping off place for the Klondike. With a rich mining history the town comes alive with ghost stories and the "Days of '98 Show". Plan to get off the boat for a half-day trip on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad and follow the gold miners' Trail of '98. The narrow-gauge railroad is a step into history and not to be missed.
While the main communities of Southeast Alaska have been touched upon, the favorite coves, bays, inlets and waterways have not. There are hot springs throughout Southeast that would cure any soul, rainforest trails unique unto themselves, special areas that whales and marine life abound. These are secrets kept by the captains and you'll only experience it on a charter. We invite you to explore the Alaska of your dreams.