Sitka Alaska

sitka alaska

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.

Sitka Alaska Sights and Activities:

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 difficulty. 

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 adequate preparation.

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.


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