With a population of about 9,000 Sitka Alaska has the distinction of "the most beautiful seaside town in Alaska" and is a common port-of-call on Alaska inside passage cruises.
Like so many Alaskan municipalities
it's ancient Aboriginal roots (The Tlingit and Haida First Nations)
combined with later Russian influence gave Sitka a rich and
compelling cultural flavor.
This tapestry can be found in local
galleries, downtown architecture, art, dance performances, and
museums. Venues like Sitka National Historical Park (Totem Park), the
Sitka Cultural Center, and the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi (modelled
after a Tlingit clan house) capture the modern expressions of this
early cultural genesis.
Sitka's native artists include
world-class basket weavers, wood and silver carvers, and traditional
robe weavers. The outstanding chamber music of the Sitka Summer Music
Festival and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp are two more events of interest
to the artistically inclined.
There is some excellent hiking to be found in and around Sitka. A map of the trail system can be found here.
The vicinity of Sitka is a
mountain-bikers paradise with close to a dozen trails of varying
The landscape has many opportunities
for climbing, most of which are not connected to a trail system. This
arduous activity on Tongrass rock, ice and mountain requires some
RV and tent camping can be found at the
Starrigavan Recreational Area, with 34 primitive sites fully ADA
accessible, located 7 miles north of Sitka at the end of Halibut
Point Road and 3/4 mile from Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal.
World-class fishing is available in
various aquatic settings: estuary, lake and pond, river and stream,
salt water. Some details can be found here.
There are a number of cabins/trails/rec
areas which offer splendid vistas for Sitka scenery.
The Sitka vicinity has a couple of picnic areas offering more pristine Alaska landscape. The Harbor
Mountain Recreational Area Picnic Site is located on Baranof Island
atop Harbor Mountain about 9 driving miles north of Sitka (no water,
pit toilet, no ADA access). The Starrigavan Recreational Area Picnic
Site has 4 small picnic sites and two larger ones with shelters.
Available water, vault toilets and ADA access. Located 7 miles north
of Sitka at the end of Halibut Point Road.
For winter activities there are a
couple of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The Herring Cove Trail is located 7 miles southeast of Sitka. Follow
the Sawmill Creek Road about 7 miles to its end. The
Thimbleberry/Heart Lake Trail is located 4 miles east of Sitka on
Sawmill Creek Road.
For those interested in a rustic base
camp for water activities, the Tongass National Forest operates 17
isolated cabins scattered throughout the Sitka area. Some have
electricity and water; cabin capacity ranging from 5 to 15 persons,
fees in the $35 - $50 range.
Of course further exploration of Sitka vicinity is possible through the many guided tours and excursions available.