Shaped by the staggering force of massive glaciers millions of years ago, Alaska’s Inside Passage stretches 500 miles along the Pacific Ocean and boasts wildlife-filled fjords, tidewater glaciers, and lush island scenery. The Tongass National Forest — the largest national forest in the United States and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world — covers the vast majority of the Inside Passage.
The Inside Passage is home to Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Alaska Native peoples whose history is reflected in towering totem poles and whose vibrant culture can be seen today through art, song, and dance. Russian settlers left their legacy through onion-domed churches gleaming with icons.
Today, the Inside Passage is the most popular route for large and small cruise ships departing from the Seattle, Los Angeles, and Vancouver, B.C. from May through September. For those that want to travel at their own pace, the Inside Passage is also accessible on the state ferry along the Alaska Marine Highway System, which stops in 35 ports of call from Bellingham, WA to Dutch Harbor in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
Both cruisers and independent travelers are awed by the lush beauty of top Inside Passage destinations including Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway, Wrangell, and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. There’s no shortage of adventures to be had, including kayaking, hiking, fishing, experiencing Alaska Native culture, glacier viewing, and searching for wildlife including whales, bears, and eagles.
Local Climate & Weather
For Alaska's day-to-day weather, it’s best to plan for a bit of everything. Learn more about weather in this area.