Whether you live in Ketchikan and want to get away for a long weekend, or are just passing through and looking for ways to extend your vacation, this itinerary is for you. Bring your visiting family and friends to make your trip more rewarding. Your car, RV, motorcycle or bicycle will be safely stowed in the car deck while you relax in the main cabin. Ketchikan and Wrangell are the places to be in April and early-May in order to see the annual migration of birds to Alaska.
Ketchikan — Salmon Capital of the World (+)
Ketchikan — Salmon Capital of the World (-)
Take the ferry or fly to Ketchikan. Over 260 species of birds have been sighted in the Ketchikan area. Throughout the month of April, the annual Alaska Hummingbird Festival celebrates the return of migratory birds to Alaska. While brightly-colored rufous hummingbirds are the most popular species, the festival also highlights other birds as well. Make sure to head out to the Ward Lake Recreation area, which encompasses a network of trails that offer a variety of wildlife watching. Look and listen for red-breasted sapsuckers, winter wrens and Townsend's warblers in the summer. Take a cruise to Misty Fjords National Monument to see pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets and surf scoters. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is one of four Alaska Public Lands Information Centers, which provides visitors with a "one-stop shop" for information about Alaska's public lands. The center has exhibits and interactive displays on the wildlife, habitats, Native cultures, and modern industries of Southeast Alaska. One of the knowledgeable Park Rangers will be happy to answer questions about birding in Southeast Alaska.
Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (+)
Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (-)
Sit back and relax during your six-hour ferry ride from Ketchikan to Wrangell. Wrangell is the gateway community for the Stikine River Delta, where the arrival of thousands of bald eagles creates the largest springtime concentration in North America. The Stikine River and its tributaries are located within the Stikine-LeConte Wilderness Area of the Tongass National Forest. Many birds, including bald eagles, concentrate along the Stikine River in April to feed on little oily fish called hooligan. Two thousand or more birds move between the middle arm and north arm of the Stikine River. Hundreds of thousands of gulls also arrive in the spring to take advantage of this valuable food source. Gull species present include: Bonaparte's, herring, glaucous, glaucous-winged, California, mew, ring-billed, and Thayer's gulls and black-legged kittiwakes. A variety of boat excursions can take you to the Stikine River to view not only birds, but black and brown bears, sea lions, harbor seals, and whales. Also visit the Garnet Ledge, the site of a historic garnet mine, located at the mouth of the Stikine River.
Explore More and Homeward Bound (+)
Explore More and Homeward Bound (-)
There are many great sites in the Wrangell area to view birds, including some that are easily accessible. Many species can be seen in City Park, Mt. Dewey Trail, Petroglyph Beach, Shakes Island, Volunteer Park Trail, and Muskeg Meadows Golf Course. 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. Return home via ferry service through the Inside Passage or if time is short you can fly.