Haines Parks & Hiking Trails

All of the great hikes in Haines are close to town. And, Haines experiences less rainfall than nearby Juneau, Ketchikan, or Sitka, making it a fantastic hiking destination in Southeast, Alaska. Still, like any hiking adventure in Alaska, you should come prepared with rain gear, as well as sunscreen, bear spray and a water bottle. Then hit the trails, which include several mostly flat coastal hikes, and two steep trails that access alpine tundra.

Parks & Trails

Flat Hikes

This trail through an urban for­est offers a close view of a muskeg, a swampy wet­land crit­i­cal to the health of rain­for­est rivers and fish­eries. It’s flat and easy, with long sec­tions of board­walk, plus park benches. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 7 miles

This trail has a short option and a longer one. One hour of walk­ing from the trail­head takes you to Moose Mead­ows, a pret­ty beach mead­ow with great views of the Rain­bow Glac­i­er. For a long day hike, or an overnight hike, con­tin­ue on the trail all the way to the tip of the Chilkat Penin­su­la to a place now known by its Tlin­git name Ayik­lu­tu (“point with­in a point. )” This six-mile (one-way) coastal trail can be a rugged scram­ble over beach rocks  ...more

Distance: 1 mile

Built to take eagle pho­tog­ra­phers out of harm’s way along the Haines High­way, this 1.5- mile trail includes look­outs and inter­pre­tive pan­els about the adja­cent Bald Eagle Coun­cil Grounds, where thou­sands of eagles gath­er each year. Warm upwellings of riv­er water keep sec­tions ice-free, pro­vid­ing birds with an impor­tant meal.

A site of his­toric sawmills and a now-closed road, nature has reclaimed this for­mer indus­tri­al site, which has become one of the town’s most attrac­tive and tucked-away trails. It’s less than a mile from town, but is seclud­ed and can be thick with wildlife.

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Alpine Hikes

There are two main alpine hikes in Haines- Mt Riley, south of town, and Mt. Ripinski, just north of town. The Mt. Ripinski area also includes peak 3920 and the Seven Mile Saddle, which are so closely connected geographically they can be combined into one long day hike.

Difficulty: Difficult

This trail — a steady climb of almost 2,000 feet in 2.5 miles from the Mud Bay trail­head to the top of Mount Riley — affords amaz­ing panoram­ic views of rivers, oceans, moun­tains, and glac­i­ers. You’ll walk through old-growth coastal for­est, sub-alpine stunt­ed trees, and bog­gy alpine muskegs, all while sur­round­ed by glacial­ly-stri­at­ed rocks. Hike up and back from the Mount Riley side, or make a big­ger trip of it, climb­ing point-to-point from the…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

If you’re in shape and ready for a climb, this tow­er­ing yet gen­tle peak above town makes for a great hike. You’ll expe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ent ecosys­tems of a South­east Alaskan moun­tain — lush for­est, sub­alpine stunt­ed trees, alpine mead­ow, and rocky sum­mit. The weath­er can be vari­able at the top, so bring lay­ers, food, and plen­ty of water. Also bring a cam­era and binoc­u­lars, to look for the res­i­dent herd of moun­tain goats that pop­u­late these alpine…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 3920 feet

Accessed from 7‑Mile Haines High­way, this climb is a thigh-burn­ing beast that will reward the fit and the will­ing with great views, extend­ed time in the alpine, bright wild­flow­ers, great blue­ber­ry and salmonber­ry pick­ing, and the chance to see moun­tain goats and bears. The short­est route is from the 7 mile trail­head, which climbs near­ly 4,000 feet in 2.5 miles! It’s steep and chal­leng­ing all the way, from the for­est to the top. Half way up…  ...more

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Biking

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Road Accessible Parks

Each Octo­ber and Novem­ber, between 3,000 and 4,000 bald eagles descend upon this 48,000-acre pre­serve cen­tered on riv­er bot­tom­lands a few miles north of Haines to feast on late runs of salmon. Eagles can be found through­out the pre­serve, how­ev­er, with an esti­mat­ed 300 to 400 of the birds in the area through­out the year.

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. 

The park has a few camp­sites, but no out­hous­es. The dock at the park pro­vides pub­lic access to Mos­qui­to Lake, which offers great fish­ing, espe­cial­ly for cut­throat trout and Dol­ly Var­den char. The lake fills with migrat­ing ducks in the spring and fall, and trum­peter swans use the lake as a stopover on their migra­tions. Up to 80 swans have been seen at one time on the lake. In the win­ter, locals like to ice fish and cross-coun­try ski on the lake  ...more

For decades just a wide spot in the road, this new, pock­et park cap­tures the most emblem­at­ic scene in Haines, the state­ly build­ings of his­toric Fort Seward against the relief of the tow­er­ing Chilkat Peaks. 

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. 

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Boat Accessible Parks

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 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.

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