Ketchikan, Totem Bight State Park, Wrangell, Juneau, Haines
A visit to the Inside Passage in April offers bird and whale watching, cultural attractions and the region’s lush temperate rainforest, bursting with new growth.
Day 1 – Ketchikan
Spring is an excellent time to join tens of thousands of migratory birds and whales on their return to summer feeding grounds in Alaska. Start in Ketchikan, which is visited by thousands of Rufous hummingbirds on their annual circuit between California, the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. The Ketchikan Hummingbird Festival runs throughout the month of April.
Day 2 – Ketchikan
Spend some time checking out the various cultural facilities and attractions in Ketchikan, traditional home territory for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people. Totem Bight State Park features a collection of 15 totem poles and a traditional Tlingit clan house in a beautiful coastal setting. On Fridays and Saturdays the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center offers information about the surrounding temperate rainforest and Alaska Native culture.
Day 3 – Wrangell
Fly to Wrangell, where you can continue to witness the fascinating and inspiring journey of thousands of migratory birds by participating in the Stikine River Birding Festival, held annually in late April. The festival celebrates the thousands of bald eagles that congregate here along with other shorebirds.
Day 4 – Juneau
Fly on to Juneau, Alaska’s capital city. Head out for a whale-watching excursion to see humpback whales fresh off their annual migration from Mexico and Hawaii with calves in tow; the whales usually start arriving in April. You may also see killer whales, sea lions, seals, puffins, murres, cormorants and dozens of other shorebirds. Enjoy locally brewed Alaskan Brewing Co. beers and fresh seafood for dinner at a waterfront eatery.
Day 5 – Juneau-Haines
Head out to Auke Bay and catch the ferry north to Haines. The four-hour trip offers more whale-watching opportunities as well as a stunning voyage past Lynn Canal’s coastal mountains, waterfalls and dense rainforest. In Haines, take a photography tour to capture images of wild birds and other animals that pass through or make their homes in the Chilkat Valley area.
Day 6 – Juneau
Fly back to Juneau and take a walking tour of the downtown area including local attractions like the Alaska governor’s house, the historic Wickersham House, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and the Alaska State Museum.