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Majestic Scenery and Stately Wildlife on Prince of Wales Island

Abby Twyman
July, 2019
Today is: June 14th, 2024

Long and vast, Prince of Wales Island is situated on the southeast coast of Alaska. It is one of several bodies in the Alexander Archipelago. The 2,230 square miles that make up the island are accessible by ferry from take-off points like Ketchikan. For avid outdoors people, the island is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Historically, Prince of Wales was home to Tlingit and Haida peoples. Others--Russian, French, Spanish and English--explored the island in the 18th century, leaving little impression until gold was discovered. Commercial fishing followed as the economic draw, followed by logging, with fishing remaining as the major revenue source today.

Byways and Waterways

Beyond the island's economic assets, it is a venue offering many things to do in Alaska. Among its fans are dedicated hikers, canoe enthusiasts, kayakers and other paddlers. A favorite, but strenuous, trail is the Sunnahae near Craig, Alaska. While only two miles, it is a steep slope, ascending 1,800 feet from the low point to the highest. The ironically named Twenty-Mile Spur Trail is a pathway extending 1.3 miles one way. Scenically, hikers enjoy the spruce and hemlock trees that line the trail. It is very popular among cross-country skiers. These trails, and many others, are found in the Prince of Wales district of the Tongass National Forest.

The island is infused with lakes, rivers, streams, coves, and inlets. Even the inexperienced can hire outfitters for canoe trips of varying length and duration. The Sarkar Lakes Canoe Route takes paddlers on a tour of natural wonders where they can see up close, though safely, hmm manner of local wildlife: Sitka Black-Tailed Deer, Gray Wolves, and black bear. Taking a nice boat ride also affords visitors close-up perspectives of native birds and marine life, including seals and their pups. Humpback whales and orcas are also visible from time to time. There are plenty of things to do in Alaska on Prince of Wales Island. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

Hunting and Fishing

Filleted Salmon - Prince Of Wales IslandFew other places on earth offer the game fauna that Alaska does and Prince of Wales Island is teeming with this natural bounty. Our island offers excellent saltwater fishing for king salmon, halibut and lingcod throughout the year. Many other species are caught on a seasonal basis. Freshwater trout and several salmon varieties abound in the island's many lakes and rivers.

Hunters can hunt several species on the island depending on the season: black bear, deer, wolves, and grouse. Conformity to both federal and state law is expected so newbies do well to employ Alaska hunting guides for their initial forays. Animal watchers have numerous locations at which to view native fauna, including El Capitan Cave and Dog Salmon Fishpass.

Eating and Sleeping

For the hardy, Tongass National Forest has a plethora of cabins to let out. These accommodations are suited for outdoorsy types; amenities are minimal. Lodges, bed-and-breakfasts, and full-service hotels are also available closer to Hollis and other island towns. Likewise, campground facilities can be found on state and federal land. Seafood, baked goods, salads, and sandwiches are on the menus of most island eateries. Local lodges and hotels also offer restaurants and lounges.

Plan your Prince of Wales Island vacation today and see for yourself the beauty that surrounds this amazing island.



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