How Long to Spend
A main filming location for the hit TV shows, “Gold Rush” and “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet,” Haines is what many imagine Alaska to be, a magnificent location rough around the edges, shaped by quirky characters and a zig-zagged history that includes an Army fort and religious mission site.
Haines is an overlooked gem on the emerald necklace of towns strung along the Inside Passage. Mostly bypassed by large cruise ships attracted to places with prettier business districts, the town is recognized as a recreation mecca, with a huge land base and few crowds. Heli-skiing that attracts Olympic skiers, brown-bear viewing, and Chilkat Native art treasures are among its biggest attractions. Due to a mottled history that includes a prominent Native settlement, Army installations, a religious mission, and commercial fishing, timbering and mining, Haines isn’t easily defined. Its most alluring attractions are dispersed and take time to hunt down. But the town is an accurate thumbnail of Alaska, mesmerizing for its beauty and memorable for its characters and quirkiness. Chat up a local and you’ll hear an interesting earful. Enchanted visitors sometimes return to buy property and join the community.
You’ll also find wildlife and outdoor adventures in Haines—and more of it than in many towns. There are hiking trails right in town, hanging glaciers and other dramatic wilderness, and tons of marine wildlife. But here are the top draws:
- Bald Eagles: In the fall, Haines has more bald eagles than anywhere else in the world. One great place to see them: the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
- Mt. Ripinsky: If you’re fit, the best way to get an overview of Haines is to climb Mt. Ripinsky, 3,300 feet above Haines. From the summit you can see downtown, Ft. Seward, and further south down the Chilkat Peninsula.
- Get on the Water: Kayak the calm waters of Chilkat Lake or ply the waters of Lynn Canal.
- Peddle: Haines has some great bike trails to discover independently, or with a guide.
- Jump to all tours and activities
- From Skagway, the closest town, board the Fast ferry for the 35-minute ride to Haines.
- If flying, begin by taking a major carrier to Juneau. Then hop a 45-minute commuter flight to Haines.
- If driving, Haines is just 45-minutes from the Canadian Border. Click here for a driving itinerary that includes Haines.
- Alaska Marine Highway State Ferry service is irregular—reserve in advance, especially if you have a vehicle.