Location, location, location the Sitka area is ideal for enjoying the great outdoors. Here is some area information and links to useful sites for planning your outdoor adventures.
The Sitka area has lots of exciting natural features to explore, here is a short list.
The Mount Edgecumbe Volcano and volcanic field are perhaps the most striking geological features in the Sitka area. The Mt Edgecumbe Volcanic field makes up the southern half of Kruzof Island that forms the northern edge of Sitka Sound. The volcanic geology of Kruzof Island contributes much to the abundant fish and wildlife found in the Sitka area, and likely played a role in the first humans settling here. The Tlingit People are said to have lived here for thousands of years. Kruzof island is uninhabited but has lots of facilities for outdoor recreation including trails, beaches, and forest cabins that are available to the public. For trail information please visit and support Sitka Trail Works at www.SitkaTrailWorks.org. You can find additional information and make reservations for the forest cabins by following this link www.recreation.gov. Sitka Alaska Outfitters provides marine transportation to forest cabins and has cabin camping equipment packages available for rent in the excursion catalog.
Mud Bay ATV Trails on Kruzof Island, there are over 30 miles of OHV trails to explore. A very popular place for both residents and visitors to ride, camp, hike, fish, hunt and just generally get out there. Some of the highlights are the Iris Meadows estuary arguably the best place in the Sitka area for viewing Alaska Coastal Brown Bears in nature. The meadows are also filled with beautiful wild flowers in season. The Shelikof River that flows through the meadows has runs of salmon and char and is a great location for fly fishing. There are 2 public forest cabins accessed from the mud bay trail system called Shelikof Cabin and North Beach Cabin, both are situated in the trees just up from beautiful sand beaches. The North Beach Cabin you can ride ATV's to and the Shelikof Cabin involves a approximate 2 mile hike along the estuary. It is a good idea to consider the tides when hiking to the Shelikof Cabin. Access to Mud Bay is by boat approximately 12 miles from Sitka.
Harbor Mountain Road is an access road that was built by the army corps of engineers in WW2 to service radar installations. It is the only road up to the sub alpine region of the forest in Southeast Alaska. Harbor Mountain Road is part of the Tongass National Forest and managed by the local forest service who periodically close off access for safety and resource preservation. Along the way you will find beautiful forest views and scenic vistas overlooking Sitka Sound. At the top of the road you will find a trail that leads to the peak of Harbor Mountain, hiking up here will reward you with amazing vistas of the surrounding mountains and an arial view of the city of Sitka.
Sitka Trails provide great access to the forest and there are a nice variety to chose from for most skills and fitness levels. The trails are maintained by Sitka Trail Works a local non profit that does an amazing job, please visit their site for detailed information about local hikes. www.SitkaTrailWorks.org
St Lazaria Island is a small island off the southern coast of Kruzof Island. St Lazaria is a part of the Alaska national wildlife refuge system and protected as a seabird sanctuary. Thousands of birds nest here every summer this combined with the stunning rock formations make this a popular destination for day tour boats. You can visit St Lazaria on one of the ocean raft trips found in our online catalog.
Goddard Hot Springs are located on the western most tip of Baranof Island in a sheltered cove just up the beach from the sea. The springs are property of the City of Sitka who maintains the baths and also rents out a public recreation cabin on a nearby island called the Tom Young Cabin. Access is by boat approximately 16 miles south of Sitka.
Redoubt Lake is a large lake in the Tongass National Forest Baranof Island that has an elevation of just a few feet an easy portage for a kayak and a good place to go view bears during salmon season. Redoubt Lake has some of the larger salmon runs in the Sitka area and a popular place for resident subsistence fishermen.
Salmon Lake, River, Trail, Cabin excellent for hiking, camping and fly fishing located 10 miles south of Sitka by water.
West Chichagof Yakobi Wilderness I could go on all day about this place but instead I'm going to keep its secrets for those who choose to go there and explore. I highly recommend this wilderness for multi-day trips because there is so much to see and do there and it is more remote. Sitka Alaska Outfitters holds a permit to provide outfitting and guide services and offers custom multi day trips, marine transportation, and trip consulting for excursions in this area.
False Island OHV Trails, Sitkoh Lake Cabin are located on the southern part of Chichagof Island this area is usually accessed by boats that can carry ATV's and camping gear. A great place for muti day trips this area was originally developed for logging and now is used for recreation, ATV riding, hiking, camping and fishing. There are 2 forest cabins at Sitkoh Lake. Floatplanes provide transportation services to Sitkoh Lake, it can also be accessed by hiking up from Sitkoh Bay on the trail or by ATV on the roads from False Island.
WHAT TO BRING ON A HIKE
This list is taken from the Sitka Trail Works website. Some of the things will be easy enough for you to travel with and some like the pepper spray will not. These hiking items are commonly called the 10 essentials. Sitka Alaska Outfitters rents pepper spray and bear cannisters so if you want to go hiking or camping and need these items just get in touch with us and we will set you up. I have added comments to their list i hope you find helpful.
- Water (bring a good quality water bottle that is reusable the tap water in sitka is excellent. it will save you money and help reduce pollution.)
- Raincoat (a quality lightweight packable rain coat and pants are a good investment. bring your own even if your lodge provides raingear you will be more comfortable)
- Extra Clothes to put on ( The weather can change rapidly and layering is essential to manage perspiration a good quality poly fleece fleece mid layer top (with hood and bottom) poly pro long jons (long underwear) are great even in the summer in Alaska. I prefer the ones that have a zippered collar for venting.
- Boots (Southeast Alaska has fallen in love with XtraTuffs but a good sturdy pair of hiking boots is good too. make sure you wear them before your trip to ensure a proper comfortable fit)
- Food (energy bars, trail mix)
- Extra dry socks
- Sun block (Clothing can do a good job as sunblock too usually you will want to be wearing long sleeves and pants so small amount of sunblock for your face and hands will suffice) If you don't have any ask your guide, Sitka Alaska Outfitters Guides carry sunblock.
- First-aid Kit ( Make your own most commercial first aide kits are bulky and next to useless. I dont think i have ever used a band aide on a day hike.) If you are on a guided trip your guide should have a first aide kit. A good kit should include Insect repellent, hand sanitizer soap, waterproof first aide tape, gauze pads, Asprin, Antibiotic ointment, Sea sick pills if boating, sunblock, Wet Wipes, Toilet Tissue, at a minimum.
- Map (If you are going to go to the trouble bringing a printed map make sure you know how to use it or stay on the trail. These skills should be practiced before you go out hiking off trail in Alaska. It is very easy to get lost here and few maps have enough detail to be a great help when you are in dense forest or fogged in on a mountaintop. They are completely useless without a compass and compass skills)
- Compass ( in my opinion more useful than a map at least you can determine which way to get back to the coastline where you can be found.)
- Flashlight ( in Summer there is long daylight I also recommend some article of bright clothing that can be used to signal comrades or rescuers)
- Tide Book (Very important when beaching a boat or hiking along an estuary)
- Knife (I like a quality multi tool like a swiss army knife or leatherman it is amazing how often I end up using the other tools)
- VHF marine radio ( If you are going remote and don"t have a VHF you can rent one from Sitka Alaska Outfitters. make sure you get the basic instructions how to use it before heading out.)
- Camera ( If you are a photographer and the goal is to take pictures bring your equipment and plan on taking the time to get the shots this should be prearranged if on a guided trip so as to not hold up the rest of the group.) Otherwise most modern cell phones have good enough cameras for capturing snapshots. I recommend a good waterproof case for your phone I use the Lifeproof case and it has saved my phone several times.)
- Pepper spray (available for rent from Sitka Alaska Outfitters or purchase at local stores. Don't try and fly with it even in your checked baggage.)
An excellent resource for visitor information. lodging, things to do, and more.
Sitka Travel offers a selection of premium vacation rentals in Sitka Alaska. Online bookings are available.
This is where you can research and reserve public recreation cabins. Sitka Alaska Outfitters provides marine transport to many of these cabins and has gear available to rent to support your stay at public recreation cabin.
Daily air service from just about anywhere you can fly into Sitka on the friendly sky's.
Alaska Marine Highway
The ferry system connects connects Southeast Alaska's communities via water for passengers and Vehicles. Mainland road system connections are at Haines, Skagway, Prince Rupert and Bellingham.
From the National Weather Service Office in Juneau AK.
The ADF&G publishes current regulations and fish reports. You can also buy licenses online at this site.
The forest service has information about the Tongass National Forest and facilitiies in it.