99 Best Sights in Juneau, the Inside Passage, and Southeast Alaska, Alaska

Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends

The appeal of this hour-long performance is twofold. It provides an introduction to some of the more formal elements of Tlingit culture, such as traditional dancing, regalia (ceremonial clothing), and storytelling, and at the same time offers the audience a vibrant and entertaining performance. The show also highlights the important fact that Tlingit culture is still thriving in Southeast Alaska, in part through the revitalization of traditions such as the ones on view in this theater. Performers share a story from Tlingit oral tradition, such as "How Raven Stole the Sun," and at the end, members of the audience are invited up on stage to try a few dance steps.

Whale Park

This small waterside park sits in the trees 4 miles east of Sitka right off Sawmill Creek Road. Boardwalk paths lead to five viewing platforms and steps lead down to the rocky shoreline. A gazebo next to the parking area contains signs describing the whales that visit Silver Bay, and you can listen to their sounds from recordings and an offshore hydrophone.

Whale Park

This small park on a traffic island across from St. John's Episcopal Church is the site of the Chief Kyan totem pole, now in its third incarnation. The current replica was erected in 1993 and then restored and re-raised in 2005. The original was carved in the 1890s, but over the decades it deteriorated and it was replaced in the 1960s. The 1960s edition is housed in the Totem Heritage Center.

Mission and Bawden Sts., Ketchikan, AK, 99901, USA

Recommended Fodor's Video

Wickersham State Historic Site

At the top of the hill behind the capitol, on a rise sometimes known as "Chicken Ridge," stands the former residence of James Wickersham, pioneer judge, delegate to Congress, prolific author, and gutsy outdoorsman. The white New England–style home, constructed in 1898, contains memorabilia from the judge's travels throughout Alaska—from rare Native basketry and ivory carvings to historic photos and a Chickering grand piano that came "'round the Horn" to Alaska in the 1870s. The tour provides a glimpse into the life of this dynamic man.

Wildlife Tours

Although wildlife-viewing is a possibility on any excursion, several tours are geared specifically toward this purpose, including the Spasski River Valley Wildlife and Bear Search, which entails a bus trip to a nearby meadow, and the Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise to Point Adolphus. Bears are sighted about 70 percent of the time, according to staff, and with whales, that figure climbs to 100 percent (if they don't spot any, you get a refund). Both excursions take about 2½ hours. If you've got more time, the 5-hour Whales, Wildlife and Brown Bear Search allows you to do both tours back-to-back.

William Duncan Memorial Church

This clapboard church is one of tiny Metlakatla's nine churches. The original burned in 1948. The current version, topped with two steeples, was rebuilt several years later. Nearby, Father Duncan's Cottage, maintained to appear exactly as it would have in 1891, contains original furnishings, personal items, and a collection of turn-of-the-20th-century music boxes.

Xunaa Shuká Hít

This 2,500-square-foot, recreated, cedar post-and-plank clan house, dedicated in 2016, is a space for the Huna Tlingit clans—whose ancestral homeland is Glacier Bay—to gather for meetings and ceremonies. It's also a place where visitors can learn about traditional food, art, crafts, dance, and other aspects of Tlingit culture. Xunaa Shuká Hít (roughly translated as "Huna Ancestor's House") was a collaborative project between the National Park Service and the Hoonah Indian Association.

Yellow Hill

A boardwalk 2 miles from town leads up the 540-foot Yellow Hill. Distinctive yellow sandstone rocks and panoramic vistas make this a worthwhile detour on clear days.


Icy Strait Point's ZipRider is a major draw, and there's really no good reason to skip this adventure while you're here. Apart from the bragging rights you'll have earned after riding the world's longest zip line—5,330 feet—the ride is an unforgettable minute and a half, and an experience that can't be re-created elsewhere. This adventure begins with an 8-mile bus ride through the village of Hoonah and up a series of bumpy logging roads to the zip line tower. There, groups of six riders are strapped into their harnesses and released into the air by Icy Strait Point staff. One advantage for the nervous: you can't see over the metal gate while you're being strapped in, so it's easy to forget how high up you are; the zip line has a vertical drop of 1,300 feet. Once in the air, nerves probably won't be an issue, as the spectacular scenery quickly commands attention. There are no age requirements, but riders must be between 90 and 270 pounds.