Petersburg is located on the northern tip of Mitkof Island at the northern end of Wrangell Narrows, midway between Juneau and Ketchikan. It is accessible by air or by Alaska state ferry.
Visitor information: Petersburg Visitor Information Center, Box 649, Petersburg 99833; phone (907) 772-4636 or toll-free 1-866-484-4700.
Petersburg was named for Peter Buschmann, who selected the present townsite for a salmon cannery and sawmill in 1897. He was followed by other Norwegian immigrants who came to fish and work in the cannery and sawmill. Today, Petersburg boasts the largest home-based fishing fleet in Alaska. The community has a post office, high school and elementary school, and 13 churches.
Lodging downtown at the Scandia House. There is a restaurant and take-out. Hostel accommodations at Alaska Island Hostel. The 5-block-long downtown commercial area has a grocery store; hardware, marine and fishing supply stores; drugstore; 2 banks; a liquor store and bar; several gift shops and art galleries; and clothing stores specializing in Alaskan and Norwegian items. Ferry and tour reservations for whale watching, sea kayaking and glacier viewing tours at Viking Travel Inc. Auto repair, towing, gas and diesel at Petersburg Motors. Private campground on Scowbay Loop Road at Frog’s RV( email) and on Mitkof Highway at the Trees RV Parkat Mile 10.2, which is open year-round and has a general store. Ohmer Creek USFS Campground is at Mile 21.7 Mitkof Highway.
- Clausen Memorial Museum displays artifacts representing Petersburg history, including cannery and fisheries, a world-record 126.5-lb. king salmon, the Cape Decision light station lens, and a Tlingit canoe.
- Little Norway Festival, held in May, is an annual event celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day. Pageantry, old-country dress, contests, Vikings & Valkyries, a Viking ship, dancing, Norwegian pastries, a parade and a Norwegian “fish feed” are featured.
- Sons of Norway Hall, on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1912. Situated on pilings over Hammer Slough, it is a favorite photography subject.
- Fisherman’s Memorial Park, next to the Sons of Norway Hall, commemorates those townspeople lost at sea. The Viking ship Valhalla is next to the memorial.
- Take a whale watching cruise tour out of Petersburg. Hundreds of humpbacks congregate in Frederick Sound and lower Stephen’s Passage. Contact Viking Travel, phone (800) 327-2571, (907) 772-3818.
- LeConte Glacier lies 25 miles east of Petersburg in LeConte Bay. It is the continent’s southernmost active tidewater glacier and the fastest flowing glacier in the world. Accessible via flightseeing trip or charter boat.
- U.S. Forest Service public-use cabins, canoe/kayaking routes and hiking trails may be accessed from Petersburg.
- Take a drive on the island’s 2 roads: 34-mile-long Mitkof Highway and 21-mile Three Lakes Loop Road.
- Fish for salmon, steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden.