Small Ship Cruises
Immerse yourself in a multi-day Alaskan adventure that promises incredible views and jaw-dropping bear viewing in Katmai National Park, along with a warm camaraderie that only a small group expedition can create. Explore from your home base on the Island C, a research vessel that gets you close to the action while providing comfortable lodging and delicious meals.
This is Kodiak’s most popular mountain, and for good reason: It’s a challenge, the views are stunning, and it feels like a true mountain climb — there’s a 2,073-foot elevation gain in just a few miles. A well-trod trail leads up the ridge, which you can access from the end of the airport runway. Follow an old gravel road to the northeast ridge, where a trail breaks on your left. The first part runs through the brush, but you’ll break into open… ...more
This was the largest base on Kodiak Island during WWII, and the center of the Harbor Defenses for Kodiak. At the peak, some 8,000 troops were stationed here. Now all that remains are some unmarked buildings.
During summer the meadows are full of wildflowers and the views of Chiniak Bay are spectacular. The south cape is a good place to look for Horned and Tufted Puffins, Balck-legged Kittiwakes, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers and various ducks including Harlequins, scoters and Long-tailed Ducks.
Follow the trail that winds upward through tall grass crossing some wet places. After about 1.5 miles, you come to the lake, which is a beautiful place for a picnic or swim on a sunny day. Keep an eye out for upland birds, bear, deer, and goats.
This is where the walrus head from August through November, as they move north in preparation for the winter pack ice. Visit only if the walruses have already left Round Island.
This quiet lake is lined with USCG housing, and has excellent views of Barometer and Pyramid Mountain. Stop by Lake Louise in the evening for a beautiful sunset.
A museum without walls, this organization has been working since 1996 to preserve and recognize the island’s maritime history. Their displays around town include 14 interpretive signs at St. Paul Harbor as well as three satellite exhibits. Check out the large, full-color panels that showcase the work of the Coast Guard, fishermen, and the species of fish they seek. The satellite exhibits, at the bank and college, are constantly changing; the… ...more
This road was named for the designer of the Alaska flag. Ben Benson created the navy blue flag with the stars of the big dipper and the North Star when he was just 13, in 1927. “The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear — symbolizing strength,” he wrote when submitting his design. It was… ...more
The trail parallels Island Lake Creek, which tumbles steeply through the woods over falls and boulders. This is a good place to see dippers, as well as forest birds such as winter wrens, varied thrush, chickadees, nuthatches and creepers.
Loved by locals and travelers alike, this 182-acre state park has numerous trails, beaches, and rocky viewpoints. For history buffs, the trails take you past bunkers and relics from WWII outposts in the area. You’ll also find summer naturalist programs where you can learn about ecology as well as ocean and forest creatures.
Open from May to September, this is the only golf course on the island. This nine-hole course features a full service pro shop and driving range; it’s operated by the U.S. Coast Guard but open to public. The course opens early and closes “two hours before sunset,” which means you’ll have the opportunity for some late rounds during summer solstice! http://www.kodiakmwr.com/golf.shtml
Only limited access is allowed to this military reservation. Access the trails through the pedestrian gates in the fence at the end of Woodland Drive. Walk along an old road to the cape. There are nice short hikes along the sea cliffs and a northeasterly beach. This area is especially recommended on stormy nd rainy days when easterly gales will unveil the ocean’s fury. The wildflower meadows are beautiful resting spots on calm sunny days in… ...more
A 17 mile one-way jaunt from Chiniak Highway, this road was completed alongside the development of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation launch site, which is at the end of the road. In addition to accessing the private site, the paved road offers recreationalists and travelers access to great fishing beaches and rivers, surf spots, state parks, and scenic views of alpine passes and ocean. There’s also a private ranch here, where semi-domesticated ...more
Old Womens Mountain hike provides great views of Chiniak Bay, the Coast Guard base and Kodiak city and harbor. The surrounding mountain scenery is breathtaking. About 1⁄2 mile south of the airport road, take a right turn on the paved road up to “Aviation Hill.” Turn left at the entrance to the subdivision and park at the end of the road behind the Coast Guard Loran building. You will find the trailhead at the far end of the parking lot. An… ...more
Watch the bustle of the seafood industry and get great photos of a truly giant ship — the Star of Kodiak is 441 feet long and can hold 10,000 tons of cargo! Produced as part of a five-year government program during WWII, this ship was constructed in Portland, Maine and originally named the Albert M. Boe. Launched in 1945, it had only one year as an active military ship and saw very little action. Part of an improvised effort to get Kodiak back… ...more
This is the highest mountain close to town. If you tackle this hike, you’re in for a climb, but a large portion of the trail is in the alpine, with beautiful flowers and tundra. You’ll be climbing 2,400 feet in elevation in just two miles. Watch for upland birds including Willow and Rock Ptarmigan, and American Pipits.
One of the area’s more popular hikes (or drives, as there’s a road to the top), Pillar Mountain offers a moderate, 2.5‑mile climb to an alpine summit overlooking town. Your heart, lungs, and legs may burn, but you’ll have great views and see excellent wildflowers, as most of the trail is above treeline. You’ll recognize the peak, since it dominates the sky over Kodiak. And if you get winded on this hike, consider the runners who race up here… ...more
Five days of festivities peppered with traditional and quirky tournaments, games, races and competitions. The festival is held Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, ending on Memorial Day
Stop off at the bridge and fish or raft on American River (there’s a good fishing spot to the left when you get to the bridge).
The shortest road out of town, Rezanof Drive becomes Monashka Bay Road and runs northwest of Kodiak for 12 miles. On this drive, you’ll get great views of the Specific coast, hiking trails, tide pools, a white-sand beach, and a museum.
Whether you’re looking for a campsite or fishing hole, glassing for birds, watching for bears, or beachcombing, this recreation site is a great spot to experience the wonders of Kodiak Island without traveling too far.
Watch for cattle as you drive through open range. You can admire the views from the bridge, or take the trail up Sharatin Cirque & Mountain and explore flowery slopes and signs of wildlife, including Mountain Goats, Pipits, and Ptarmigan.
Good sushi in a great setting. The exterior is drab, the interior isn’t special, but the view overlooking the channel is lovely — fishing boats and sea lions. With Alaska seafood coming in fresh, the sushi is great. It may not be up to snuff if you’re visiting from a major metropolis, but the salmon, sablefish, halibut and crab is really good. The seaweed salad is a great starter, and at lunch the bento boxes are a deal. It can be crowded in the… ...more
Founded in 1895 on Woody Island, the orphanage and missions were moved to town in 1937, following destruction of the original building by a fire. Part of a push to improve the living conditions and education of children in the newly formed territory of Alaska, the orphanage has morphed into a mission program that includes a food bank, after-school education, summer camps, and adventure programs.
The town’s most recognizable building, with iconic blue onion-like cupolas capped by crosses, this cathedral was established in 1794. That’s the year Russian monk St. Herman arrived in Kodiak. A benevolent force in the colonization and exploitation of the Aleuts and Alutiiqs, he was known for his care of the sick and dying during Western-introduced epidemics, as well as his protection of the local populations. He was canonized in 1970,… ...more
A great place to visit with the family, this extensive center includes a saltwater touch tank and interpretive displays on wildlife and the fishing industry. It’s also a base for marine research. There is a 3,500-gallon, 10-foot cylinder aquarium where you can watch the species of the cold saltwater environment surrounding Kodiak. The touch-tank will let you look, handle, and learn about the variety of species in the area’s tide pools: sea… ...more
Kodiak Island was a strategic outpost for both Russians and Americans, first used by Russians as the headquarters of the Russian American Company (now Kodiak Harbor). Take a tour at this museum with knowledgeable veterans and volunteers and learn the history of the Army and Navy on Kodiak Island and the Harbor Defenses front. Make sure you check out the eight-inch gun barrel, part of the defense system, which could fire up to 20 miles! Or… ...more
When the U.S. Navy closed their Kodiak station, Fort Greeley, in 1972, the Coast Guard took over. This is now the country’s largest station, with almost 1,000 personnel.
Whether you’re looking for a book on Alaskan history, checking your e‑mail, or bringing the family for a kids’ activity, the Kodiak library has services for both residents and visitors. A cornerstone of the community since it was founded in two shacks in the 1940’s, the library has grown to include an audio-visual wing and Alaska reference room. It now offers some 200 magazines, summer reading programs, and local artwork.
Heading southwest out of town and then curving towards the north, this relatively short road offers access to salmon streams, wildlife habitat, hiking, winter recreation, the Coast Guard golf course, and a protected bay that’s great for sea kayaking and beachcombing.
This trail can be hard to follow as it meanders through wet areas, thick vegetaion and up salmonberry slopes before it reaches the rich subalpine meadows and eventually leads into a bowl-shaped glacial cirque at the base of the mountain. There is plenty of great bird habitat along the trail so watch for pipits and ptarmigan up high and songbird and snipe in the lower elevations.
This is a well-used and busy ATV road that leads up the American River and over a pass to Saltery Cover. It is only open to trail bikes, ATVs and hikers. While it is possible to hike the road, be aware that you will need to ford some streams.
For a gentle stroll on a surfaced path, Kodiak’s Biking & Walking Path begins at the corner of Benny Benson and Rezenof Road, and parallels Rezanof northward 2 miles to the entrance to Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park. This is a relatively flat path used by joggers dog walkers, bikers and walkers, that travels past Mill Bay Beach, a French pastry and coffee shop and the trail had to the Island Lake Trail. For a longer walk, add… ...more
Come to this downtown harbor to see salmon-fishing boats, longliners, and crabbers, as well as guide-operated sport-fishing boats and personal sailboats. There are 250 slips here, accounting for roughly one-third of the boats in Kodiak. Walk the docks and see if you can identify a trawler, seiner, or crabber. The fishermen will have already “pitched” their catch, but you can still watch them chopping bait, mending nets, or shoving off for… ...more
Mayflower Beach is a black sand and stone beach with views across the bay to forested hills and mountains. Listen to the waves crash against the shore and smell the fresh ocean smell. Beachcombing, picnicking, & hiking are all great things to do in this area.
About 20 minutes from Kodiak, Womens Bay is a census designated place within the Kodiak Island Borough. Roughly 700 people live in the area, and as with the rest of the island, Womens Bay is also home to abundant wildlife. If you’re by the water, check for Sea Otters and Sea Lions. You might even see a Harbor Seal! Or if your’e interested in Kodiak’s boats and aircrafts, USCG C‑130 aircraft and helicopters may be seen on hangar apron, and… ...more
Aptly named, this island is close to town (you can walk over the bridge or drive here) and is an interesting place to explore by foot, bike, or car. The island is home to St. Herman’s Harbor (where big boats dock), a float plane landing site, and the Fisheries Research Center. You can also spot sea lions from Ramp 3 at the boat harbor.
This scenic, tranquil bay is a great place to access the water (there’s a boat launch) and to start hikes. You can hike to a beaver dam from a turnoff on the right at MP 11.6. Look for the white granite in the cliffs; this is the “backbone” of the geology here, the rock that the island is formed upon. From the end of the road, there is good hiking to a waterfall. To the right is a 2.5‑mile trail to Cascade Lake. You’ll have to cross the Red… ...more
The mountain range to the right is Devil’s Prongs and Barometer Mountain is to the left.
Whether it’s your first or last stop on the island, make sure you visit this museum, which offer the best insight into the island’s heritage. Not only will you find an impressive collection here, but also a great staff; they’ll share stories about village life, continued traditions, and archaeology projects. With 100,000 artifacts, some 50,000 photos, and a total collection of 250,000 pieces, the museum houses much of the history of the… ...more
A six-mile round-trip hike that climbs to just over 2,000 feet, this climb will get you great views of Women’s Bay and the rolling mountains of the island. Look for ptarmigan up here…this is a hike the Audubon Society does annually.
This old bunker is open for exploration. If you make it this far on your hike, be sure to walk around the bunker and step inside to get a rough idea of how how soldiers lived during WWII.
Hopefully this life-size bronze statue is the closest you’ll come to a Kodiak brown bear. The statue honors Charles Madsen, Kodiak’s pioneer-era bear-hunting guide and one of the first registered guides in Alaska.
One of the easiest beaches to access from town, this park has a nice overlook and excellent waterfront with picnic sites. In late July through September, you can fish from the beach for silver and pink salmon. Birding is good year round, but it’s especially great during the winter.
Located in the oldest standing building in Alaska, this museum is filled with artifacts, photography, and artwork recording the history of Kodiak. You’ll find exhibits from the time of the Alutiiq and Aleut Natives, to king crabbing and daily life in the 1980s, all the way up to the present. Their focus, though, is Russian-American history and the island’s early American history. Inspect the design expertise of the Alutiiqs while examining… ...more
Just over the bridge, this park offers easy beach walking and great photo opportunities of Kodiak. Snap shots of the waterfront, have a picnic, or enjoy quiet beaches. The park is forested, with excellent spruce groves that are silent havens for birds and squirrels. There’s excellent bird watching at the end of the trail. Walk the mossy earth and head over to the pebble beaches — it’s a great midday retreat close to town.
A curvy road following the shoreline south from town, this 42-mile highway will take you past the U.S. Coast Guard Station, salmon streams, long ocean inlets, and exposed surf beaches.
It’s rare when a National Wildlife Refuge has an amazing visitor center, but this one is a must-see. Kids and adults will love the displays, including the complete skeleton of a grey whale. You can learn about the grey whale migration from Baja to the Bering Sea, the food they eat, their evolutionary developments, and the seven-year process of discovering and transporting the skeleton to the museum. The center also coordinates educational… ...more
This is the former site of a Russian brickyard and is currently the site of an archaeological excavation. You can also access the Iron Gate Beach.
Kodiak Island Brewing Company opened in 2003 and is the only brewery on the island. Their inviting Taproom allows locals and visitors to sample some brews, enjoy a pint or two or take a growler to go.
Situated near the base of Pillar Mountain — the backdrop for the City of Kodiak — Emerald Isle Bed & Breakfast is conveniently located about 1⁄2 mile from the downtown area.
Happy beach is a black sand and stone beach. Listen to the waves crash against the shore and smell the fresh ocean smell. Beachcombing, picnicking, & hiking are all great things to do in this area.
Sit down at this beach and watch the air operations at one of the largest Coast Guard bases in the U.S. Located next to the Kodiak airport, aviation enthusiasts will be well-entertained.
Access: Public Sports: Airgun Archery Indoor Pistol — 75 feet Indoor Rifle — 75 feet Muzzleloading Outdoor Pistol — 50 to 500 yards Outdoor Rifle — 100 & 500 yards Pistol Silhouette Rifle Silhouette
Whether you’re looking for world class bear-viewing or want to experience a breathtaking flightseeing tour, Kodiak-based Island Air Service can make it happen. Start your bear-viewing tour in Kodiak, and you’ll have a shorter flight time compared to leaving from Anchorage. Even if you’re just here for a day while your cruise ship is in port, it’s easy to fly out and witness the majesty of these impressive creatures.
Take a stroll from Happy Beach North around the point to discover the more secluded Holiday Beach. Bring matches and fire starter with you. Look for driftwood to start a fire and enjoy a cold beer in the sun.
Sure, you’ll find all the makings of a great state fair here, including contests (don’t miss the delicious baking contest) and games that make for family fun. But the rodeo is definitely a highlight: it’s a taste of the Wild West, Alaska-style, complete with bull riding and a horse show. You’ll also see one of the oddest small-town contests anywhere: a cow-milking contest, where audience members are invited to chase down small cows and milk ...more
Cross Fox Lakes on Kodiak Island are an excellent destination for a family outing, picnic, or swim on a hot summer day. You can continue past the lakes and explore the terrain farther up the valley. In winter, the lakes are a great place for ice skating.