Prince of Wales Island is located 600 miles north of Seattle, Washington in Southeast Alaska near Ketchikan Gateway Borough, and can be reached via the Inter-Island Ferry Authority that runs along another scenic byway, the Alaska Marine Highways All American Road.
The island is 135 miles (215 km) long, 45 miles (72km) wide and has an area of 2,577 sq mi (6,675 km), about 1/10 the size of Ireland and slightly larger than the State of Delaware. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island. Communities include; Point Baker, Labouchere Bay, Port Protection, Wale Pass Coffman Cove, Naukati, Thorne Bay Klawock, Kasaan, Hollis, Craig and Hydaburg . There are four federally-recognized Tribal Governments on Prince of Wales Island: Craig Community Association, Hydaburg Cooperative Association, Organized Village of Kasaan, and Klawock Cooperative Association.
The Island of Prince of Wales is a unique and special place. It is a great place to showcase some of Southeast Alaska’s unique qualities such as a temperate rainforest with all its natural beauty and wonder, bountiful wildlife, Native culture and historical artifacts. The byway cover s two hundred sixty miles of mostly paved roads that lead to communities on the island that each present a different Alaskan experience. Prince of Wales has the most extensive road system in the entire Tongass National Forest, the largest forest in the country. The approximately 1,500 miles of roads offer unparallel access to recreational opportunities in the Tongass
Caution: More than 1,500 miles of roads reach into Prince of Wales Island. About 200 miles of paved road girdle the island. More than 50 miles of improved gravel roads extend along shorelines and into the mountains. Logging roads criss-cross the forest. You can drive a standard car that entire distance. To explore logging roads, use a four-wheel drive or sturdy SUV.
Be sure your spare tire is in good shape. Watch the gas gauge and mile markers: fuel is available in Craig, Klawock, Naukati, Thorne Bay, Coffman Cove and Whale Pass. Bring your cell phone’s car charger.
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