Wrangell, Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan
Day 1 – Wrangell
Time your arrival in Wrangell to catch some or all of the Stikine River Birding Festival, scheduled in 2014 for April 24-26. The annual festival is held to celebrate what is the largest springtime concentration of bald eagles anywhere in Alaska, but eagles are just the beginning – you’ll spot dozens of other bird species and have the opportunity to attend lectures, art classes and other fun birding-themed events. Wrangell is accessible via daily jet service out of Seattle.
Day 2 – Wrangell
Amongst all the fun birding activities available this weekend, consider adding something unexpected to your itinerary – golf! The festival features a tournament at the local Muskeg Meadows Golf Course, a USGA regulation nine-hole course, but you can also just play a round on your own. All equipment, including clubs and carts, is available for rent, and it’s a fun and active way to spend some more time outdoors appreciating the local scenery. If golf isn’t your thing, visit Chief Shakes Island, where a replica Tlingit tribal house sits on a small island in Wrangell Harbor that is connected to the mainland by a short spit. The tribal house was completely renovated in 2013 and is an excellent example of Tlingit totemic art.
Day 3 – Prince of Wales Island
From Wrangell, hop aboard the Rainforest Islands Ferry to Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island. In just less than two hours, you’ll arrive on Prince of Wales Island, one of the largest islands in the United States and a great place for outdoor exploration. Local lodges and tour operators provide fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking and other tour options.
Day 4 – Prince of Wales Island
Spend another day on Prince of Wales Island, hiking the extensive trails within the Tongass National Forest, kayaking along the island’s shoreline or whale watching from shore or by boat.
Day 5 – Ketchikan
Climb aboard the ferry again for the short trip to Ketchikan. Once you get to town, spend the afternoon exploring the downtown area. Be sure to stop in to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center at 50 Main Street right downtown to check out the latest schedule of events for the Alaska Hummingbird Festival and find out which local galleries are hosting art shows associated with the festival. Enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of Ketchikan’s excellent downtown eateries and prepare for a big day of birding tomorrow.
Day 6 – Ketchikan
The Alaska Hummingbird Festival officially kicks off on April 29 and lasts through the 31st. Tailor the rest of your trip around festival events, including guided birding hikes, art shows and other festivities, all of which you can learn about through the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center or by stopping in to visit with the helpful folks at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. Amongst your birding adventures, consider adding in a visit to Totem Bight State Park to see the breathtaking collection of Tlingit totem poles, or even a snorkeling tour to check out the stunning variety of life in the intertidal zone right offshore. After a few fun-filled days in Ketchikan, daily jet service from Ketchikan to Seattle and beyond will get you home.