You don't need a vehicle to take a road trip through Southeast Alaska. Fly or ferry to Ketchikan to begin this adventure through the Inside Passage. Depending on where you live, this could add an extra day to your itinerary. The good news is that the flight from Seattle to Ketchikan is only 90 minutes, so Alaska's closer than you think. Consider bringing your bicycle, or renting one, to explore more of these communities.
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. Go salmon fishing with one of the many experienced charter boat captains. 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. If you brought your bicycle, ride eight miles out to Ward Lake for a hike, or pedal 30 miles along the coastline to both ends of the road.
Ferry from Ketchikan to Wrangell (+)
Ferry from Ketchikan to Wrangell (-)
Head to the ferry terminal to continue your adventure north through the Tongass National Forest. Step outside for some fresh air, the covered solarium is heated and provides spectacular views of the passing landscape. Reserve a passenger cabin if you would prefer some privacy; food and beverage service is also available. During your six-hour trip 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 and plan for the next day's adventure.
Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (+)
Wrangell — A Hidden Jewel (-)
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 your mountain bike around the Nemo Loop Bike Route, a thirteen mile gravel route that accesses the Nemo Recreation Sites as well as Thoms Lake Trailhead and Cabin. Hike to the top of Mount Dewey for spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape. Wrangell also has the only regulation USGA rated golf course in Southeast Alaska.
Ferry from Wrangell to Petersburg (+)
Ferry from Wrangell to Petersburg (-)
Enjoy a three-hour journey 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 in the forward observation lounge to see the action.
Petersburg — Little Norway, Big Adventure (+)
Petersburg — Little Norway, Big Adventure (-)
Spend the day exploring Petersburg, the fishing community called "Little Norway," for its Scandinavian influence. Charter boat, kayaking and flightseeing tours are available for viewing the LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier in Alaska. Troll for king and silver salmon or drop a herring to entice a pacific halibut that can grow as big as a barn door. The Mitkof Highway is a major recreation corridor for Petersburg with many biking, camping and interpretive opportunities. Highlights along the highway include the picnic sites at Blind Slough, Blind River Rapids trail, a Trumpeter Swan observatory, Homer Creek Trail, Wilson Creek Recreation Area, and more.
Ferry from Petersburg to Juneau (+)
Ferry from Petersburg to Juneau (-)
Next, board the Alaska Marine Highway for a relaxing eight-hour voyage to Juneau. 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. Bond with your traveling companions and meet some new ones along the way. Travel the way Alaskans do and gain a greater appreciation for the unspoiled wilderness of the Inside Passage.
Juneau — Alaska’s Capital City (+)
Juneau — Alaska’s Capital City (-)
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. Also, try hiking, rafting, kayaking and even ziplining. Juneau has more hiking and biking trails than roads, so you're sure to find adventure. From Juneau, fly back to Seattle and home again. You'll have explored a lot of the communities along the Inside Passage and have great stories to tell.