This is a rarely visited group of islands south of Chilkat State Park. Unpredictable winds, huge tides, and strong currents make them a challenging destination to visit. Combined with the lack of any public transportation, these islands remain a near-pristine wilderness left for the serious boater to explore.
The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is the site of the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world. Each November, up to 3,600 bald eagles descend upon this 48,000-acre preserve to take advantage of a late-season run of chum salmon. There’s a roadside pull-off at 19-mile Haines Highway with informational displays and a two-mile paved trail along the Chilkat River. Much of the preserve is inaccessible, but in the summer, rafting and jet boat tours are a great way to see more than you would along the road
Chilkat State Park, seven miles south of Haines, is less visited than Chilkoot Lake, probably because it’s further from town and the road is gravel. But don’t let that stop you. The park is quiet, it’s one of the best local areas to look for moose, and the view of the Rainbow Glacier—a hanging glacier with a huge waterfall dropping from its face—is world-class.
Just south of the Chilkat Island is Sullivan Island, and at its southern end, you’ll find Sullivan Island State Marine Park. It has the same accessibility issues as the Chilkat Islands; the easiest way to see these islands is to look for them as you cruise via ferry or cruise ship down the Lynn Canal between Haines and Juneau.
This small campground, less than one mile south of the cruise ship dock in Haines, is for bicyclists and others arriving on foot—no vehicles are allowed to here. Don’t miss the nice overlook in the forest above the campground, with views over the water to the Chilkat Mountains.