Angoon is located on the western side of Admiralty Island, a place known as “Kootznoowoo,” or the Fortress of the Bears. The island is home to the highest density of brown bears in North America.
ABOUT ANGOON (TLINGIT: AANGÓON)
Located 55 miles southwest of Juneau, Angoon is the gateway to Admiralty Island National Monument. The Tlingit community of about 500 residents is perched on a strip of land between Chatham Strait on the island's west coast and turbulent Kootznahoo Inlet, which leads into the heart of the 1,493-square-mile island.
THINGS TO DO
A stroll through Angoon quickly reveals the resident’s strong indigenous heritage through their traditional lifestyle and the painted fronts of the 16 tribal community houses. A day in the village can be spent observing and gaining an understanding of the Tlingit culture.
More than anything else, though, Admiralty Island is known for its bears. The island has an estimated 1,500 to 1,700 brown bears living among the forested mountains, lakes, and rivers. The top bear-viewing area is Pack Creek. The area’s extensive tidal flats attract a large number of bears that feed on spawning salmon. Within this area is the Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary, which includes a sand spit and an observation tower along the creek accessible via a one-mile trail. Most visitors are day-trippers who arrive and depart on floatplanes with guides from nearby Juneau. A permit system regulates the number of daily visitors. Information about permits, guides, and nearby public use cabins is available through the Tongass National Forest.
Scattered across Admiralty Island are 13 US Forest Service public use cabins that can be rented and reserved in advance. Many of the rustic cabins are located on inland lakes and can be reached from the Cross-Admiralty Canoe Route. The 32-mile trail system links eight major lakes and seven portages, and allows paddlers to travel from the east end of Mitchell Bay to Mole Harbor in Seymour Canal.
Several lodges scattered in and around Angoon offer world-class sport fishing and prime wildlife viewing. More than 90 percent of Admiralty Island is a federally designated wilderness and home to a wide variety of wildlife, including one of the highest densities of nesting bald eagles in the world, humpback whales, Sitka black-tailed deer, and salmon. Angoon also serves as the departure point for many kayak and canoe trips into the heart of Admiralty Island National Monument, including the 32-mile Cross Admiralty Canoe Route.
Many visitors to Angoon spend a few days paddling and fishing Mitchell Bay and Salt Lake. It is possible to rent a kayak or canoe in Angoon or in Juneau and then place it on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. Although the majority of the paddling on Admiralty Island consists of calm lakes connected by streams and portages, the 10-mile paddle from Angoon to Mitchell Bay is subject to strong tides that must be done during slack tide periods.
Learn more about bear viewing in Alaska.
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