The Alaska Marine Highway
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With 656,425 square miles of rugged wilderness, scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Alaska is a big place! Which means traveling in Alaska presents some unique opportunities. Unlike the 'lower 48' many of our communities are not accessible by a land based road system so in many areas the primary means of travel is by air or sea. The Alaska Marine Highway makes up a large part of our 'highway system' and is a route so special it has been designated National Scenic Byway and an All American Road, the only marine route with this designation.
From the southern terminus in Bellingham, Washington the Marine Highway stretches more than 3,500 miles to Dutch Harbor with stops in Prince Rupert, BC, throughout the Inside Passage, across the Gulf of Alaska to Prince William Sound and along the Aleutian Chain. The Alaska Marine Highway is the perfect way to experience the communities that populate Alaska's diverse and scenic coastline.
The Inside Passage
In the southeast, Alaska's Inside Passage treats you to spectacular natural beauty, an unmatched variety of wildlife, and a rich mixture of native, early russian, and gold rush history. It will reveal a multitude of islands and coves along the unspoiled coastline that are perfect to explore by boat or kayak. The entire region is wrapped in the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the United States and the largest contiguous temperate rain forest in the world.
The larger communities of Southeast are a regular stop on most cruise line itineraries and the locals are always ready to welcome visitors and offer a multitude of tours, guides and outings to suit any taste. Don't miss the totem poles, native dancers and the many museums that highlight the rich native culture of Southeast.
The Gulf of Alaska
From June through September the M/V Kennicott makes semi-monthly trips from Ketchikan and Juneau in the southeast to Whittier in southwest, with stops in Yakutat. This route is not only a service link between the Inside Passage in the Southeast and the Southwestern routes, but the trip of a lifetime for those who like comfortable adventure.
Prince William Sound to Kodiak Island
The coastal communities of this region are the outdoor playgrounds for more than half of the state's population. AMHS ferry routes take you through beautiful Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska, around the Kenai Peninsula and into lower Cook Inlet. With four mountain ranges within driving distance of these AMHS ports, the opportunity for day hikes in the mountains of the Chugach State Park to multi-day excursions into spectacular Denali National Park, home to North Americas' largest mountain, Mount McKinley, outdoor activities abound. Offering a variety of exciting adventures including, camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and much more.
While aboard the ferry, travelers will thrill to the spectacular sights of ice-blue glaciers, tranquil fjords, lush forests, and unbelievable concentrations of seabirds and marine wildlife. On Kodiak Island, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge was established to conserve their most popular residents, the Kodiak Brown Bear.
The Aleutian Chain
|Sand Point||to||King Cove||6:30|
|King Cove||to||Cold Bay||2:00|
|Cold Bay||to||False Pass||4:15|
Remote, beautiful, and mysterious best describes Alaska's Southwest. See it for yourself on the Alaska Marine Highway. From gentle coastal grasslands to rumbling, snow-capped volcanoes, The Aleutian Chain has a character and charm all its own. This land of mystery is home to numerous national wildlife refuges, and hundreds of species of sea birds, fur seal colonies, walrus and other wildlife.
With 119 state parks spread across the state and a total of 365 million acres, there's plenty of room for everyone to seek their own adventure. Whether you're interested in bike trails, secluded coves for kayaking or enjoying the array of hiking trails or National parks for a few nights of camping, follow our guide to the communities along the way.