One of two Haida villages in Alaska, Kasaan is on the east side of Prince of Wales Island on Kasaan Bay off Clarence Strait. It is accessible via a 17- mile gravel road that begins near the Goose Creek Bridge on Thorne Bay Highway. The road is one of the island’s Scenic Byways and offers unique views and a turnout at Tolstoi Bay.
Kasaan gets its name from the Tlingit word “Gasa’aan,” meaning “pretty town” or “pretty village.” Haida people migrated north from Haida Gwaii (in present-day British Columbia) and established the village now known as “Old Kasaan” seven miles from today’s Kasaan. In 1892, the Copper Queen mine camp, sawmill, post office and store were built on Kasaan Bay. Haida people relocated to the new village from Old Kasaan. In 1902, a salmon cannery was built in Kasaan and operated off and on until 1953.
A two-third-mile walk on a forest trail leads to Kasaan Totem Historic District and Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House. The Whale House or Naay I’waans, “The Great House,” built around 1880, is the only traditional Haida longhouse standing in the U.S. In the 1930s, totems from the old village were moved to the totem park. Between 1938 and 1940, Civilian Conservation Corps carvers restored the longhouse. Visitors may enjoy the remote setting but should remain mindful of the sacredness of the site. Kavilco Inc. and the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK) joined to restore Naay I’waans and re-dedicated the site in 2016. Guided tours are available by contacting OVK at 907-542-2230. Kavilco Inc. and OVK have an exclusive agreement for all tours.
The City of Kasaan and the Organized Village of Kasaan offer lodging by reservation; call 907-542-2212. OVK has two 2-bedroom cabins that sleep as many as six; call 907-542-2230. Kasaan sells fuel on a limited basis; call 907-542-2212 for scheduled times. Espresso drinks and food are available at the Totem Trail Café. For the safety of our residents, visitors are asked not to shoot firearms within the city limits—a large area around the main town site.