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.
Created in 2015 when the local watershed group purchased a 50-acre industrial site along the Chilkat River, this flat, winding, 1.5 mile-long trail – formerly a through road – offers stunning views and wildlife sightings very near to downtown. Drawn to salmon swimming upriver, brown bears and eagles are easily spotted in fall months, but wolves, coyotes and moose also traverse the channels and broad river flats against a stunning mountain backdrop. A run of smelt-like eulachon fish can attract hundreds of thousands of seagulls – virtual clouds of them – here in early May. Heading south, sidestep muddy sections and follow alder tunnels to mossy glens and secluded beach meadows. The trail widens to become scenic, residential River Road. Follow road to another 1.3 miles of public, recreational, beachfront land, a day-use area treasured by locals. Or climb Mud Bay Road’s Cemetery Hill to arrive at Fort Seward. Trail starts at the end of Sawmill Creek Road, which intersects Haines Highway one mile west of Fort Seward.