Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information

 
Menu

Inside Passage

Sitka is the only Inside Passage community that fronts the Pacific Ocean, hugging Baranof Island's west shore in the shadow of the impressive Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano with a graceful cone reminiscent of Japan's Mount Fuji. 

About Sitka

Located on Sitka Sound and surrounded myriad small, forested islands, the city of 8,615 residents is marked by the picturesque remnants of its Russian heritage, including the onion-shaped domes and gold colored crosses of the beloved Saint Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Although first inhabited by Native Tlingit Indians, Sitka is recognized as the heart of the Russian influence in Alaska. The Russians arrived by 1741 and in 1804 attacked a Tlingit fort. The region’s most famous battle eventually led to the creation of Sitka National Historical Park. Originally established as New Archangel, Sitka became the capital of Russian American in 1808. When Russia sold Alaska to the United States on October 18, 1867, the transfer ceremony took place on Sitka’s Castle Hill.

Things to do

Pick up a map from the Visitor’s Center in Harrigan Centennial Hall offering several walking tours that highlight the city’s history and culture including the Russian Blockhouse, Russian Bishop's House, Princess Maksoutoff’s Grave and Castle Hill to name a few, that date back to the Russian era. There are 22 buildings in Sitka on the National Register of Historic Places, so there’s plenty to see on a walk through town. Downtown features numerous art galleries, a fine bookstore and gift shops, while the city’s main event during the summer is the Sitka Summer Music Festival.

Centennial Hall, the community’s civic and convention center, is also the venue for the spirited New Archangel Dancers, who perform Russian folk dances using authentic music, choreography and costumes. Sitka National Historical Park features a remarkable collection of totem poles carved by Tlingit and Haida artists that are placed along a well-maintained trail in the forest. Near the park is Sheldon Jackson Museum, one of two official Alaska State Museums. The museum's impressive collection represents many different Alaska Native cultures.

Sitka offers superb hiking with trails that begin in the lush rainforest that surrounds the city and often end up high in the mountains. The Tongass National Forest can provide information and maps to more area trails for hiking and camping information.

For the nature lover, Sitka is home to a number of attractions that will amaze and educate visitors. These wildlife-oriented destinations include the Alaska Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bear. The Alaska Raptor Center rehabilitates injured birds and releases them back into the wild. The few who don’t regain flight remain housed at the center and visible to guests. Fortress of the Bear features a three-quarter-acre habitat for orphaned brown bear cubs complete with covered viewing areas.
Vacation Guide
Free official State of Alaska vacation plannerRequest your free official State of Alaska vacation planner.

Order a Copy

April 2014 Banner Ad Visit Anchorage 14 purple New test group drving train ad 1

My Alaska News

Monthly travel tips, highlights and savings!

Your email: 

Alaska Gallery

Alaska Image GalleryView our photos of Alaska ranging from wildlife to relaxing life.

View Photos

Travel Specials

Alaska Denali Travel
Save $70 on your Denali Backcountry Adventure

Alaska Travel Specials