[by Stephanie Hamrick]
Sparkling waters and lush forests surround Haines, located on Alaska’s Panhandle in the Chilkat Valley. Originally known to Alaska Natives as Deishu, meaning “end of trail,” and home to the historic United States Army Base Fort William H. Seward, this area boasts rich Native Tlingit and U.S. history. Haines also accommodates bald eagles yearround, their number growing to 3,500 in the fall and winter months—the largest concentration of these birds in the world. Other frequent visitors include moose and bears. Be sure to stop by in the summer for the Southeast Alaska State Fair. With the motto, “adventure capital of Alaska,” Haines delivers on this promise with extensive opportunities for seeing wildlife, biking, rafting, kayaking, fishing, hiking and heli-skiing. At the intersection of history and adventure, Haines offers an abundance of ways to explore and learn.
- Kroschel Wildlife Center – Get to know over 15 species of Alaska wildlife through a tour of the Kroschel Wildlife Center. Their guided tours offer plenty of opportunities to see and photograph animals in their natural environments while you walk comfortably on the trail. Stop by their gift shop to pick up a handmade piece of memorabilia. kroschelfilms.com
- Beach Road House –With the forest next door and downtown Haines just minutes away, Beach Road House can give you an enriching Alaska experience whether you’re looking for a wildlife and nature experience or quick access to the many attractions of Haines. The Beach Road House offers two standard rooms and three cabins. beachroadhouse.com
- Fireweed Restaurant – Newly expanded, the Fireweed restaurant is located inside the Historic Fort Seward Building No. 37, which was built in 1904. Stop by to experience their new bar space and taste their oven-fi red thin-crust pizzas made with local ingredients. With specials changing weekly and a diverse mix of offerings, you’re sure to find something your taste buds will enjoy. fireweedrestaurant.com
- Haines Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center – Learn more about life in the Chilkat Valley. The museum offers exhibits on Tlingit Native Culture and non-Native European settlements in the area while also featuring local artwork. Experience the collection on your own or request a guided tour. Make sure you step outside to take a look at Lynn Canal. sheldonmuseum.org
- Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry – It only takes 45 minutes to travel between Haines and Skagway when you take the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry. Spend the trip soaking in breathtaking views of the Alaska scenery and wildlife while you sip on the complimentary coffee and tea. The ferries make multiple trips throughout the day, but reservations fill up fast. hainesskagwayfastferry.com
- Sockeye Cycle Co. – Explore the Chilkat Valley on a bicycle with a guided tour from Sockeye Cycle Co. Whether you’re looking for a one-day tour or a two week excursion, Sockeye Cycle Co. is likely to have an option to fit your needs and skill level. Looking for an easier ride? Try their Haines Bike and Brew tour to explore the town and end the day with some local ales. cyclealaska.com
A HAVEN FOR BALD EAGLES
- The American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of bald eagle habitat. They welcome visitors to their Natural History Museum and Live Raptor Center where live-raptor demonstrations take place along with other presentations.
- The 22nd annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival will be held November 14-20 this year.
- More than 3,500 bald eagles congregate in the Chilkat Valley in Haines during the winter months.
- The best wild eagle viewing from the road can be found between miles 18 and 31.