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Thorne Bay, Alaska

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Our Story

Thorne Bay is on the eastern shore of Prince of Wales Island. It rests on gentle hills overlooking its namesake bay, where Alaska Natives hunted and fished for centuries.

Ketchikan Pulp Co. brought their floating logging camp to shore here from Hollis in 1961, when timber was still the leading sector of the island’s economy. The “new economy” boasts a number of visitor services, as indicated by the icons shown here. K through 12 schools provide education while a U.S. Forest Service ranger district office and the field office for Southeast Road Builders provide employment for families in the area. Thorne Bay is linked to the rest of the Island by the state Scenic Byways. Thorne Bay can also be accessed via several floatplane services and private boats.

Visitors entering on the main road find a unique welcome sign plaza housed in “The Claw”—the world’s largest log-handling grapple. Thorne Bay was home for the world’s largest logging camps in the 1960s. In 1982, a State of Alaska land sale program gave residents the opportunity to incorporate their city. Fishing, beachcombing, clamming and hiking are close by in the bay and up the Thorne River. Thorne Bay is also the access point for the popular USFS-maintained Eagles Nest Campground as well as the Balls Lake and Sandy Beach picnic areas. An archeologically significant 5,360-year-old spruce root basket—”The Thorne River Basket”—was found in the estuary of the Thorne River in 1998 and is preserved in the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.

Accommodations in Thorne Bay, Alaska

There are plenty of places to stay in Thorne Bay, but they can fill up fast especially in the summer months so it’s best to plan ahead. Check out the accommodations available in Thorne Bay and contact them today to book your trip!
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Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC

Packages including: cottages, boats, vehicles, saltwater charters, or guided stream fishing. Our facilities include: tackle store, hot tub, freezers, canoes, laundry, and more. Serving POW for over 20 years.
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Alaska's Boardwalk Lodge

Sports Lodge - Award-winning full service. Orvis-endorsed for fly fishing and has 5-cabin cruisers for saltwater fishing. Provides a host of other land and sea adventures.

Alaska~P.O.W. Lodging

Two cozy, fully-furnished units, each with a twin and full-sized beds located in Thorne Bay. Checkout Airbnb for more details and available dates to book online.
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Anderson Lodge Alaska/Tackle Shack

Experience Alaska with a personal touch! All-inclusive Charter & Self-guided packages for every season in our newly remodeled lodge in Thorne Bay. Call for details and custom packages.

Hiking Near Thorne Bay, Alaska

There’s no better way to start your day in Alaska then by taking a hike. Check out the hiking trails located near Thorne Bay and add them to your itinerary. You’ll be sure to hear and see a plethora of wildlife and abundant plant life in the forests!
More difficult

Salt Chuck Trail

This trail follows closely the banks of Ellen Creek for much of the duration. It passes the historic site of the old Salt Chuck mine with extensive ruins which include a number of shacks, a collapsed refinery, a home, a barge, and numerous pieces of machinery. The collapsed buildings are in extremely hazardous condition, so […]

Distance: .75 miles
Average: 1 hour

Big Lake Fish Pass

Located near Thorne Bay off of Sandy Beach Road, this short trail takes visitors to see the fish pass.

Distance: .05 miles
Average: 10 minutes
More difficult

Balls Lake Trail

Balls Lake near the center of the island may have waterfowl in the lake. The forest provides cover and food for black-tailed deer and black bears. Bald eagles are seen all year. Balls Lake is near milepost 16 on Thorne Bay Road heading west. A flat 4-mile trail loops the lake.

Distance: 3.5 miles
Average: 3 hours

Upcoming Events in Thorne Bay, Alaska

Check to see what events are happening in Thorne Bay, Alaska during your visit. Attending local events is a great way to get immersed in the rich culture on Prince of Wales Island. There are many festivals and celebrations planned throughout the year!
  • Start: August 2nd, 2024
    Location: Thorne Bay Library
    Contact: City of Thorne Bay
    Contact Email:
  • Start: August 3rd, 2024
    Location: Thorne Bay, Alaska
    Contact Email:
  • Start: August 3rd, 2024
    Location: Gravelly Creek Picnic Ground
    Contact: Derek Kuda
    Contact Email: [email protected]
  • Start: August 6th, 2024
    End: August 8th, 2024
    Location: Thorne Bay Gym
    Contact: Tammi or Stephanie
    Contact Email:
  • Visitor Testimonials

    William Cafferata

    Worked in various logging jobs in 1966. A recent image of Thorne Bay shows what looks like an active current-day logging site. If so, an indicator of good forest ractices. Encouraging, Regards, Bill

    Ralph Kelley

    Best vacation ever. We spent 8 days at Thorn bay back in 1990 and stayed with the mayor Zeke and Debbie in their one again. Went salmon fishing, hiking , boating in the bay, c!am digging. I could go on for hours. Heaven on earth.flew away on a float plane and left part of my heart there forever.

    132° 31’ W Longitude — 54° 41’ N Latitude

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