Southeast Alaska is archetypal Alaska: an awesome four-hundred-mile-long tableau of fjords, mountains, glaciers, a thousand islands and thick conifer forests lining the Inside Passage. The area’s first settlers were the Tlingit (thling-get), and it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that Russian expansionists burst into the region. Today, southeast Alaska’s small communities resound with tales of endurance, folly and cruelty.
The state’s southernmost town, Ketchikan, rich in Native heritage, makes a pretty introduction, while Sitka retains a Russian influence. Further north are swanky Juneau, the capital; Haines, with its mix of old-timers and arty newcomers; and Skagway, thoroughly redolent of the old gold-rush days. You could spend months exploring here, but most are content to focus on the towns of Sitka and Skagway, and Glacier Bay National Park, an expensive side-trip from Juneau that penetrates one of Alaska’s most stunning regions.Read More
Shielded by islands from the Pacific Ocean, SITKA is one of Alaska’s prettiest and most historic towns. The Russians established a fort here in 1799 and Sitka subsequently became the capital of Russian America, witnessing transfer of ownership to the US in 1867. Sitka today earns its keep mostly from fishing and tourism and offers a wealth of great outdoor activities.