This is a popular weekend hike if you want to spend two-to-four hours in the Tongass National Forest and is only about 15-20 minutes north of town. Though you gain elevation on the hike up to the lake, it is not unforgivingly steep. Perseverance Lake is one of Ketchikan’s picturesque mountain-lake scenes.
Some people love the view of Alaska from the side of a ship, or from above in a bush plane. But this cycle shop and tour operator based in Haines and Skagway proves that there's nothing quite like the view of Alaska from atop two wheels, as you glide through the gorgeously unique scenery. Its day trips are a fabulous way for independent travelers and cruise passengers to take a detour on their voyage, enjoying a different pace and perspective on the Alaska frontier. The day trips, with a 6-to-1 ratio of travelers to guides, last from just under three hours to a full day.
Some people love the view of Alaska from the side of a ship, or from above in a bush plane. But this cycle shop and tour…
Toll Free: (877)-292-4154
May - September
Plenty of whale tours let you watch the orcas and humpbacks as they breach and spout from the water—but not many also let you eavesdrop on the big mammals' conversations. This 3.5-hour tour out of Juneau is equipped with an amplified hydrophone system; listen to the whales underwater while enjoying the lush rainforest views. Onboard the North Star—a 48-passenger jet boat with large windows, an outside viewing deck, and a comfortable inside seating area—you’ll stay warm and dry while you listen to the whales and the narration of an onboard naturalist.
Walk the fine line between folklore and gold fever. The Liarsville Camp, near Skagway, was originally named after journalists who came here during the Klondike Gold Rush and cooked up all manner of tall tales. The event begins with an all-you-can-eat feast in the forest. Then explore the old trail camp and finish off your day with a visit the Fancy Goods store. You can also have your picture taken with one of the dance hall girls or the camp’s lovable mascot, an Alaskan malamute named Denali.
Summer is not the only time to embrace Sitka’s connection to our vast oceans and the inhabitants. November’s annual Sitka WhaleFest, hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, celebrates marine life through a science symposium, art, wildlife cruises and so much more!
The Indian river is home to a number of fish: Summer Pink, chum, coho, chinook salmon, along with Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout. This arched bridge is the place to see them. Be sure to stop by on your way through Alaska's oldest designated National Park.
Museum: Year-Round, Walking Tours: May - September
This museum sits on the site where Alaska officially became a state. View the exhibits and watch an award-winning documentary about the city. Plus, the City Museum doesn’t end at the building’s walls. From May to September, you can take walking tours of historic downtown Juneau and the Alaska State Capitol.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this collection of 19th century totem poles is the biggest in the world. Salvaged from abandoned Haida and Tlingit villages, some are as old as 160 years—no small feat, since totem poles usually deteriorate in less than a century. You can take a quick, free tour, or check out the current exhibits of contemporary Tlingit art.
This is a beautiful hike in June and July, when the alpine wildflowers are at their peak. But it’s a beautiful hike anytime, because the views from up top—facing Mount Edgecumbe and overlooking Sitka Sound—are awesome. There are two ways up this mountain: a big climb or a big drive.
Take a spin through Juneau on a fun bike tour. It’s a great way to explore Alaska’s capital city, with lots of scenery and history along the way. Choose from one of several options. There’s a bike and brew tour, which includes seeing the Mendenhall Glacier as well as a tasting of Alaskan beers. Or ride your bike out to Douglas Island for a tram ride, 1,800 feet up Mt. Roberts for some spectacular views. Or custom design your own great bike trip through Juneau.
The focus of the 3.5-hour Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip is great views of the namesake glacier, which is 1.5 miles wide, 150 feet high, and the most famous part of the massive Juneau Icefield that even John Muir once raved about. Glide along the iceberg-studded lake and scope out the glacier, getting up-close views of hanging glaciers and towering peaks. Keep an eye out for birds nesting in the rocky cliffs, as well as otters, seals, black bears, and bald eagles.
This Southeast Alaska-based tour operator will leave you with a new definition of what it means to have a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska cruise: You sail on an intimate vessel—often getting to steer yourself, under the supervision of an experienced licensed captain—while exploring away from the crowds, and getting a wonderfully up-close view of the wildlife and scenery. Sailings from Juneau and Sitka.
Experience kayaking in Alaska the way it should be—away from the crowds—with these unique Ketchikan paddling tours that make you feel like a true explorer. Your small group (usually just 4 people) will board the company’s comfortable boat and set off from the Ketchikan cruise-ship dock, leaving the big ships and the crowds behind. Choose from a 3-hour tour, or 5-hour kayak and hike tour.
The path to the Perseverance trailhead, Basin Road, showcases a dramatic change from urban to wilderness, leading from downtown Juneau to a spectacular canyon. At the end of it is where Perseverance Trail begins, and this former rail line (named for the mine it once serviced) quickly climbs up above the Gold Creek valley. There’s plenty to see along the way, including old mine shafts that blow cool winds, and a stretch of trail where the mountain drops steeply away to Gold Creek.
Mid-May to Mid-September
Sockeye Cycle offers fabulously in-depth trips that stretch across the state, and even into Canada, and last anywhere from 3 to 12 days. Cycling around Alaska is special in a few ways. The roads can sometimes be quirky, and sometimes a little more rugged than a freshly paved road somewhere else. But on the other hand, you‘ll likely get the road to yourself, so you can relax and spend more time enjoying the scenery. These multi-day trips offer a rewarding way to explore the Northern frontier, but with enough comforts that you never feel like you’re roughing it.
Sockeye Cycle offers fabulously in-depth trips that stretch across the state, and even into Canada, and last anywhere from 3 to…
Toll Free: (877)-292-4154
In the coastal Southeast Alaskan town of Sitka, marine wildlife typically plays out on a big scenic backdrop. At Sitka’s unique Science Center, you’ll find a salmon hatchery and aquarium. Wildlife fans get an up-close look at the marine creatures that make this part of Alaska so special.
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from Ketchikan brings you to a dock where you'll then walk 1.5 miles to the viewing platform. You'll see up to 10 black bears feasting on fish near the fish ladder.
This bear viewing spot is a bit unusual because it attracts only black bears. A short 26-mile floatplane or boat ride from…
Late April-early October
Begin in downtown Sitka, where you’ll take a motorized, rigid-hull inflatable on a 15- to 20-minute ride across beautiful Sitka Sound, with the massive volcano Mt. Edgecumbe providing a dramatic backdrop. Look for marine wildlife on your way to a unique float house in a small, protected bay where you’ll kayak across shimmering water.
A tour aboard a TEMSCO helicopter offers beautiful views of Alaska’s Capital City, and up-close exploration of Mendenhall, one of the state’s most accessible glaciers. Look out on alpine lakes, moraines, and crevasses before you land and check out the Juneau Icefield for yourself.
Refuge Cove State Recreation Site is a sliver of land lining part of an edge of a neighborhood and is a popular beach picnicking destination with the locals. The site comes complete with pit toilets, sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates, and a quarter-mile trail accompanied by interpretive signs that address the local natural history.
If you are a lover of alpine, stunning views, and longer, more challenging hikes, then this all-day, one-way mountain traverse between Carlanna Lake and Perseverance Lake is the perfect choice.
If you are a lover of alpine, stunning views, and longer, more challenging hikes, then this all-day, one-way mountain traverse…
Alaska’s oldest National Park isn’t a big one—only 113 acres—but it’s rich with history and there’s plenty to do: hiking trails, ranger-led interpretive walks, carving demonstrations, ethnographic displays, and more. The park’s main attractions are the roughly 20 totem poles and the beautiful coastal rainforest, which you can explore on your More...
Settlers Cove State Recreation Site offers two of the best sandy beaches to be found in the Ketchikan area and provides pit toilets and sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates. A campground with eight campsites is available as well and one public-use cabin on the water that can be rented.
Located in Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, this trail is wheelchair-accessible and close to the airport. It has many opportunities for waterfowl and bird watching. It is excellently maintained. This makes the trail a very easy hike. Many times you will see strollers, runners and bikers on this trail because it is paved.
As part of the New Deal during the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps came to this area and hired skilled Native artists who could recreate old crumbling poles and train apprentices, to keep the art form alive. You can wander the grounds at this state park, and learn about how to interpret the symbols on poles, or check out the large, carved tribal house. Was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. 10 miles out of town on N. Tongass Hwy.
May - September
Baranof Fishing Excursions offers classic Alaska fishing experiences from their private marina in downtown Ketchikan. They provide everything you need from rubber boots to expert guides, for an extraordinary fishing adventure!
The lake and glacier are the premier destination for the thousands of cruise-ship tourists who visit Juneau, but they don't venture much beyond the visitor center and the short trails just outside it, leaving the mountains above the center very quiet in comparison.
Don’t look for a dome and don’t look for big grounds; Alaska’s capitol building is one of the few that have neither. That’s because the territory of Alaska had trouble securing funding and land for the building, relying on local residents to provide funding. Completed in 1931, it housed the federal government until statehood in 1959. Today, the large, boxy More...
Get up close and personal with the famous Mendenhall Glacier on this unforgettable canoe trip. No experience is necessary to paddle across a glacier-fed lake to within 200 yards of the gorgeous blue ice. The crowds fade away and for the next two hours you’ll be surrounded by water, mountains, and the serenity of Alaska’s natural surroundings.
Close to town on moderate terrain, this trail is a popular destination for locals and travelers and is used for everything from family walks to trail runs. The trail follows the turquoise blue Indian River up through the valley to a waterfall. This riverside terrain makes it a good place to look for birds and other wildlife like deer. In late summer, the river fills with salmon (though fishing is prohibited). The bears have their own trail on the other side of the river, so it’s rare to encounter one.
May - September
Alaska invites contemplation and reflection. Experience the quiet side of Ketchikan on a guided walk through dense stands of cedar and spruce to a rural ocean beach. Here you can connect with the land and sea through activities such as creative writing, meditation or tai chi.
Experience world-class exhibits and audiovisual programs. Discover Tsimshian, Haida and Tlingit totem poles, the rainforest room, a Native fish camp scene, and exhibits on Southeast Alaska's ecosystems, fishing, mining, timber and tourism. Located one block from the cruise ship dock in downtown Ketchikan. Accepts America-the-Beautiful passes.
Take the train out of Skagway to some of Alaska’s best hiking. Not just any train, though, but a Gold Rush-era, narrow-gauge train that winds through gorgeous scenery and drops you off at the trailhead. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad winds through stunning scenery on its way to drop you off on hiking trails that offer waterfall, mountain, and glacier views. It’s a fun way to gear up for a day or two of great hiking. The train is an engineering marvel and gives you a dose of history before your immersion in nature.
Just outside Ketchikan, the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary promises a close-up view of old-growth forest, salmon habitat, an historic lumber mill, totem carving, raptor exhibits, and chances to see black bear and other wildlife – all in under 3 hours! There’s no better introduction to Alaska’s Southeast than this showcase of ecology, wildlife, history and Native culture.
May - September
This Southeast Alaska tour operator has its own definition of the Easy Rider: You can take this scenic tour, driving a scooter or motorcycle, with the wind blowing in your hair—but with no stress or hassle. As the only scooter company in Skagway, this tour offers an active way to explore the area—but caters to anyone from thrill-seekers to older families (you need to be 18+ with a valid driver’s license) and little old ladies.
The Indian River is a beautiful, clear stream that’s home to spawning salmon each summer. On the lower reaches of the river, by the intertidal zone and lower floodplain, pink and chum salmon spawn from mid-July through September.
Farther up the river, you’ll find coho and chinook salmon, Dolly Varden, char, and steelhead trout.
Hop on a TEMSCO helicopter for an Alaskan adventure combining aviation, sled dogs and massive glaciers. Get an amazing view of the gorgeous landscape surrounding Juneau, and then ride along as an energetic team of huskies tours you around the ancient, snow-packed Mendenhall glacier.
Late April-early October
Bike 5 miles alongside a 100-year-old water flume, surrounded by the gorgeous Tongass National Forest, to a salmon-spawning stream at Ward Creek. After a delicious snack, hike about ¾-mile, following a boardwalk up into the forest. You’ll learn all about the plants that thrive in this unique environment.
Eaglecrest is one of the few community-owned ski areas in the US—and the only one that can boast of being on an island, which gives it the unique perk of having ski slopes with ocean views. Whether you are a beginner looking to play in the snow, or a longtime skier or boarder, Eaglecrest makes a great all-ages winter playground. In summer, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and berry picking.
Perseverance Theatre creates professional theatre by and for Alaskans. Founded in Juneau in 1979 by Molly Smith, the Theatre has since grown into Alaska’s flagship professional theatre, serving nearly 15,000 artists and audiences each year.
Despite being a community of only 30,000, and only accessible by boat or plane, Juneau has proven to be an ideal home for the Theatre. More...
April - August
Spend three exhilarating days in remote Alaska fishing for monster Kings, shiny silvers and tasty halibut, not to mention mammoth lingcod and rockfish. Troll the waters of Prince of Wales Island with expert guides from Underdog Sport Fishing. They know the area, have a passion for fishing, and will show you the Alaska of your dreams.
This exhilarating tour puts you in a rugged Tomcar for a back country ATV adventure over 10 miles of old logging roads through the Tongass National Forest. The off-road excitement is matched by amazing views as you navigate twist and turns, motor easily up hills, and splash through epic potholes. It’s sheer fun for the whole family. Get Dirty!
Late April-early October
Paddle all around a shimmering lake, looking for wildlife on the shore and reveling in the spectacular mountain views that surround you. Then stop off at a shoreline camp to enjoy a snack over an open fire. When you’re finished, you’ll go on a short walk through a dramatic old-growth forest.
Steep Creek is a Forest Service fish viewing site, with runs of sockeye and coho salmon that start in mid-July and continue into October. The site is very easy to visit. It is adjacent to the Mendenhall glacier visitors' center about 10 miles from downtown Juneau. There are no permits, fees or restrictions for the visitation. There's a 1/3 mile loop trail, part of which More...