A two-hour kayak ride up Mitchell Bay toward Hasselborg Lake takes you through a serene, pristine wilderness. You’ll share the area with water birds, eagles, salmon and of course, brown bear. This area is a U.S. National Monument, a designated wilderness area, and has never been clear-cut. The Civilian Conservation Corps built shelters here during the 1930s. Many of these remain, as well as cabins that you can reserve for overnight excursions.
This spot is a favorite of locals for its fishing and views of water birds like mallards, ducks and geese. Paddle through some of the most incredible wilderness areas you’ll ever see. Dense spruce and hemlock forests are home to Sitka black-tailed deer. Bald eagles soar above and perch in treetops along the shoreline. Brown bear feed on salmon that are returning to glacier-fed streams. Lakes abound, and a backdrop of rocky peaks adds a 3,000-foot dimension to this spectacular wilderness setting.
Long summer days make a day-trip easy, or reserve one of three cabins on Hasselborg Lake to stay the night. (Two of the cabins, Little Sheehan and Big Sheehan, are within 200 feet of each other and can accommodate larger parties.)
Many visitors like to make the Hasselborg stop part of a longer expedition on the Cross Admiralty Canoe Route, a 32-mile kayak/canoe adventure from one side of the island to the other.
Before you go
- Some lodges offer kayak rentals to guests, which is convenient for a spur-of-the-moment day-trip to Hasselborg. If exploring this is on the top of your list, ensure availability by bringing a kayak with you on the ferry or getting a charter flight to bring you and your kayak directly to Hasselborg Lake. (You could also fly in, kayak back to Angoon, and ferry out).
- If you plan on staying the night, make your cabin reservations ahead of time and review the advice posted at the U.S. Forest Service site. Admiralty Island is known as the “Fortress of the Bears” for a reason. Understanding bears and bear safety is key to enjoying your stay.