Nestled against the base of White Alice Mountain, Hoonah is the largest Tlingit village in Alaska.
The town of Hoonah is located on Chichagof Island, about 30 miles west of Juneau along Icy Strait in the Inside Passage. The Huna, a Tlingit tribe, have lived in the Icy Strait area for thousands of years. In 1912, the Hoonah Packing Co. built a large salmon cannery north of town. The cannery operated on and off under different ownership until the early 1950s, and it sat shuttered for decades until the local Native corporation, Huna Totem Corp., purchased and rehabilitated the facility to create the private cruise port now called Icy Strait Point.
Things to do
Since Icy Strait Point opened in 2004, Hoonah has attracted more visitors, particularly those who arrive by cruise ships. The port is centered on the restored salmon cannery, which now houses a museum, local arts and crafts shops, restaurants and a mid-1930's cannery line display. Outside is the world’s largest and highest zip line at 5,330 feet long, featuring a 1,300-foot vertical drop. Icy Strait Point offers a range of excursions for visitors, from Native dance performances to bear viewing and whale watching.
Hoonah’s access to the outstanding fishing along Icy Strait also attracts sport fishing and wildlife enthusiasts. Whale watching is considered excellent near Hoonah and humpback and killer whales are often spotted along the shores right in front of town. Sea kayakers are also drawn here for the 40-mile wilderness paddle that follows the shorelines of Port Frederick and Tenakee Inlet from Hoonah to Tenakee Springs. The two inlets are connected by a short portage and the trip ends for many in the Tenakee Springs’ natural hot springs. For more information on sea kayaking and hiking in the area, contact the Tongass National Forest, which manages the wilderness areas around Hoonah.