Include the Inside Passage on your driving tour through Alaska. Most of the communities in Southeast Alaska are not accessible by road, so let us take you through the Tongass National Forest to some of the unique communities along the coast. This itinerary can also be completed in reverse, board the ferry in Haines and continue south to Prince Rupert.
Ferry from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan (+)
Ferry from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan (-)
Make your way to Prince Rupert, then board the ferry for a six-hour cruise to Ketchikan. Let us take care of everything for you. Your car, RV, motorcycle or bicycle will be safely stowed on the car deck while you relax in the main cabin. Step outside for some fresh air, the covered solarium is heated and provides spectacular views of the passing landscape. The Alaska Marine Highway is a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the only marine route with this designation.
Ketchikan — Salmon Capital of the World (+)
Ketchikan — Salmon Capital of the World (-)
Pick up the official Ketchikan walking tour map at the Visitors Bureau conveniently located downtown. Routes can be walked in as little as 60 minutes, but plan extra time to appreciate the sights and for visiting attractions. The Tongass Historical Museum, historical properties of Creek Street, and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center provide a sense of history of the town, and the Totem Heritage Center highlights Native cultural influences that have shaped the area. Fly and/or cruise to Misty Fjords National Monument. After mid-July, tour one of the many bear viewing areas. Go salmon fishing with an experienced charter boat captain to see why Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capitol of the World." Visit Saxman Native Village or Totem Bight State Park to learn about the Native culture of the area. You can also go hiking, kayaking, or ziplining.
Ketchikan to Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (+)
Ketchikan to Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (-)
Head back to the ferry terminal to continue your adventure. During your six-hour voyage from Ketchikan to Wrangell keep an eye out for wildlife. Let the Alaska Marine Highway do the driving for you while you recount your journey so far. Wrangell Island has over 100 miles of forest roads that offer mountain bikers, hikers, RVrs and other explorers access to remote lakes, rivers, campsites and scenic overlooks. Take a boat tour to the Stikine River, a designated wilderness area, to view black and brown bears, migratory birds, eagles, sea lions, harbor seals, and whales. Go fishing for salmon or halibut with an experienced charter boat captain. In July and August visit the Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory, it is a favorite spot to view brown and black bears feasting on salmon. If history and cultural influences are your pursuit, visit Chief Shakes Island and Tribal House Historic Monument and Petroglyph Beach State Historical Park. Wrangell also has the only regulation USGA rated golf course in Southeast Alaska.
Wrangell to Petersburg — Little Norway, Big Adventure (+)
Wrangell to Petersburg — Little Norway, Big Adventure (-)
Enjoy a three-hour ferry ride on the Alaska Marine Highway from Wrangell to Petersburg through the Wrangell Narrows, a very narrow waterway that separates Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island. The Wrangell Narrows is a highlight of the Inside Passage, famous for its many navigational markers. Be sure to sit up front to see the action. Spend the day exploring Petersburg, the fishing community called "Little Norway," for its Scandinavian influence. Explore LeConte Glacier Bay, just 20 miles by boat, it is the southernmost tidewater glacier in Alaska. Charter boat, kayaking and flightseeing tours are available for viewing this natural wonder. Venture a little farther out, only 30 minutes by boat, to go whale watching. Or, go sport fishing. Troll for king and silver salmon or drop a herring to entice a pacific halibut that can grow as big as a barn door. Mitkof Island is also home to healthy bird, wolf, black bear, deer, and moose populations.
Petersburg to Juneau — Alaska's Capital City (+)
Petersburg to Juneau — Alaska's Capital City (-)
Next, board the Alaska Marine Highway for a relaxing eight-hour ferry ride to Juneau. Reserve a passenger cabin if you would prefer some privacy, or unwind in the recliner lounge or observation lounge. These rich waters are home to abundant wildlife; keep an eye out for orca and humpback wales, porpoises, seals and sea lions. Look to the shoreline to spot deer, bears, wolves and moose. Juneau's most popular attraction is the mighty Mendenhall Glacier, the only glacier accessible by road in Southeast Alaska. Go to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for interactive displays and hike one of the many trails in the area for different views of the glacier. Several helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft companies offer unique opportunities to see and experience the Juneau Icefield from the air. Whale watching is something you won't want to miss. Humpback and orca whales congregate in the calm waters around Juneau and put on quite a show in the summer. Even if you’ve never cast a reel, you ought to try fishing for salmon or halibut. Also, try hiking, rafting, kayaking and even ziplining.
Juneau to Haines — Adventure Capital of Alaska (+)
Juneau to Haines — Adventure Capital of Alaska (-)
Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery on a four-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from Juneau up Lynn Canal to Haines. If you're a history buff, the past comes alive at the Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center. For a different experience, visit the Hammer Museum, the only one of its kind in North America. Take a float trip or a jet boat ride through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. The American Bald Eagle Foundation gives you an opportunity to learn more about these amazing raptors and a chance to meet some of them up close. For more wildlife, venture out to Chilkoot Lake where brown bears and many species of birds are often seen along the road and in the Chilkoot River feasting on salmon. Rent a bicycle, take a kayak tour or go golfing in "The Adventure Capital of Alaska." Return home or continue on your adventure. The Haines Highway, a National Scenic Byway, meanders through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and connects with the Alaska Highway in Haines Junction, so you can continue north to Anchorage, or head south back home.
If time allows, spend a couple more days in southern Southeast Alaska exploring the Alaska Scenic Byways of Walden Point Road and the Prince of Wales Island Road System. From Ketchikan, take the ferry to Annette Bay and drive the 14.7 miles of Walden Point Road to Metlakatla to explore the only Native Reserve in Alaska. You can also take the Inter-Island Ferry Authority from Ketchikan to Hollis on Prince of Wales Island to drive the Prince of Wales Island Road System. This Alaska Scenic Byway covers 260 miles of mostly paved roads that lead to communities on the island that each present a different Alaska experience.