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.
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.
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.
Mid-July - Septemeber
The lush green Tongass National Forest stretches out below as you take a classic Alaskan floatplane ride to Neets Bay, one of the best places in Southeast Alaska to see black bears fishing for salmon. This 3-hour trip packs in spectacular flightseeing, a nature walk, and the chance to watch bears in their natural habitat.
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!
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.
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.
Ketchikan is black bear country, and just outside town you can see them in their favorite summertime activity – fishing for protein-rich Alaska salmon. A walking tour through the lush foliage of the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary reveals prime salmon habitat, a certain attraction for hungry bears. Wait and watch for this apex species in action – pouncing on fish, teaching cubs, and chasing each other to the feasting grounds.
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.
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.
Fly through the upper stories of a temperate rainforest in this thrilling zipline adventure. Two exciting courses, each with 8 zips, are located within the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary – home to spawning salmon, bald eagles, and black bear! Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand, this is the ultimate location for a zipping good time.
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.
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.
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.
Go with Wings Airways and you’ll take off from Juneau in a 10-passenger DeHavilland Otter floatplane and get a lush view of the city as well as the surrounding mountains and ice fields. Opt for a 40-minute flight seeing tour, or book the “Flight and Feast Tour,” which takes you to dine at a 1920’s lodge.
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...
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.
Connell Lake is a good choice if you want a trail that is less popular but just as close to town as the Perseverance trail. The rocky, dirt path gently climbs through the rainforest canopy and hugs the shoreline of the lake. On the other side is a nice flat area that the creek bows around, creating a small peninsula. A fire-pit indicates that this is a preferred spot to spend some time or camp.
A highlight for many visitors, this chapel lies 22 miles north of Juneau off of the Glacier Highway. As Juneau’s expensive waterfront homes peter out, the Shrine of St. Therese appears on your left. It’s in a stunning setting, on an island with crashing surf, mountain views, and a rugged coastline, where you can look for humpback whales and sea lions. Take the trail from More...
Dr. Sheldon Jackson, museum founder, had the distinction of serving in three pioneer fields during the late 1800s, founding Protestant missions and schools, establishing the public school system, and introducing domestic reindeer. In his travels he reached many sections of Alaska, as well as the coast of Siberia, gathering the majority of the artifacts now seen in the museum. Located More...
Fish Creek is remote, yet road-accessible from the small town of Hyder, which means some human traffic, but not thick crowds. A 3-mile drive or hike from town provides access to an elevated walkway beside the creek that is over ¼-mile long. What makes this area unique is the chance to see brown and black bears in close proximity as they prowl the shallows for spawning salmon.
The one-mile gravel trail to Coast Guard Beach winds through Ketchikan Gateway Borough land and then crosses into Alaska Mental Health Trust Land. Mostly the trail descends to the beach; however, a few hills do rise along the way. This beach is a good place for walking, sunbathing, beachcombing, photography, writing, reading, meditation, tai-chi, just sitting, marine-life viewing, and dog swimming.
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!
May - September
Tucked inside the lush Tongass National Forest, discover an Alaskan botanical garden unlike anywhere else in the world. A 2012 Reader's Digest poll chose Glacier Gardens out of thousands of entries as the Most Interesting Landmark in America! Vibrant hanging gardens spill from 15-foot-tall upside down tree “Flower Towers” and elegantly designed landscapes compliment the natural beauty of the rainforest. Explore these unique gardens on a guided tour in a covered vehicle, then travel through 50 acres of temperate rainforest.
Get a serving of history along with a classic Alaskan feast. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake, a two-hour experience out of Juneau, has been running for more than 30 years. It’s a great meal and an Alaskan tradition. You’re dispatched from your hotel and brought to a corner of the Southeast Alaska rainforest, which saw lots of activity during Alaska’s Gold Rush.
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.
Northstar Trekking operates out of Juneau and caters to all styles of exploration. The curious glacier observer can simply fly to the glacier and snap photographs from flat or rolling terrain. You can also choose to hike on the glacier itself. If you’re very adventurous, you can even learn how to climb on the ice walls. No matter which option you choose, NorthStar Trekking will guide you all the way, making sure you get the most out of this unique opportunity.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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...
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.
May - September
Take a five-minute ride from the cruise ship pier to the Mountain House,1,800' up Mount Roberts, where the Chilkat Mountains, the Gastineau Channel, downtown Juneau, Douglas Island, and Admiralty Island spread out before you. Visit the gift shop, restaurant, live bald eagle display, and nature center. Check out the wildlife viewing platforms and follow the self-guided trail marked by Native totemic carvings for access to upper alpine hiking trails.The tram cars, and Mountain House are ADA compliant. The inner loop trail is an easy hike for most folks who wish to take a walk in the woods. Serious hikers can continue on up the mountain!
Ketchikan is known as the “salmon capital of the world,” and this uniquely personal tour is your chance to angle for these iconic Alaskan fish—as well as huge halibut. You’ll board an intimate fishing boat—complete with top-quality fishing and rain gear, as well as heaters, snacks, and beverages—close to the Ketchikan cruise terminal. And, since this is a private charter, it will be only your group on board!
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...
At the Chilkoot Dining Room you'll sample a piece of Alaskan Gold Rush history. While enjoying Skagway's finest steak and seafood, you're able to take in E.A. Hegg's historic Gold Rush photos. The friendly staff provides great service and flavorful food that make the historic atmosphere one to remember. The menu varies with daily specials and market fresh offerings. More...
Dog sledding on a glacier is the ultimate blend of Alaskan adventure, as you also get there by helicopter! Board a TEMSCO flight that whisks you thousands of feet above sea level to the Denver glacier and a dog mushing camp hidden away on a snow field, where Alaskan sled dogs will greet you energetically, ready to take you on the ride of your life.
Once you reach the Mountain House at the 1,800-foot level of Mount Roberts, step onto trails that begin in a sub-alpine ecosystem and climb another 300 feet into the true alpine. With sixty stair steps, a length of one-half mile and an elevation gain of just 150ft, the main trail will take you to open vistas, mountain valleys, snow gullies, rocky ridges and stunning views of More...
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.
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.
Take time to enjoy the upper canopy of the Tongass National Forest on a zipline tour that offers the excitement of flying through old-growth forest, walking across a sky-bridge, and a tea break to soak up the moment. Glide across 7 zips on this course located in the Eaglecrest Ski Area on Douglas Island and finish up your tour with some axe throwing. It’s a blast for the whole family!
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.
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
Late April-early October
Drive your own jeep along private logging roads that wind up into the mountains, on your way to an alpine lake. Paddle across the shimmering lake to a shoreline camp for a delicious snack over an open fire. Enjoy some storytelling, then go on a short nature walk through a beautiful old-growth forest.