Alaska’s Inside Passage is a scenic cruise route that weaves its way through fjords, forests, glaciers, and picturesque towns. There is a multitude of reasons why this is one of the most popular routes to travel in the state and you’re about to hear all about them.
Let’s run through the best things to see on Alaska's Inside Passage.
Due to its prominent position at the southern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage, Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s first city. The city features an ample display of totem poles which you can view while exploring the town on foot. The Misty Fiords National Monument – a short transit from town and typically included in your cruise itinerary – is awash with scenes of glacial-carved valleys and snow-capped peaks. Grizzly and black bears, deer, and salmon thrive in this park.
Juneau, Alaska’s capital, sits atop a series of inter-coastal waterways within the Tongass National Forest. The city offers easy access to Alaska’s glaciers and is a prime location for wildlife-watching endeavors. Downtown Juneau features an abundance of boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. All of the Alaska Inside Passage cruises include time to explore the city and pick up any souvenirs.
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park covers around 3.3 million acres and is a true wonder to behold. The scenery is rugged with deep-cut fjords fringed by temperate rainforest. As you explore the channels via kayak or Zodiac, look out for resident birdlife including puffins and cormorants in this isolated wildlife sanctuary.
Chichagof Island is the fifth largest island in the US and is rumored to have the largest population of resident bears than anywhere else on the planet! The island is blanketed in thick forestry where they shelter but do keep your binoculars to hand. It is also possible to spot humpback whales in these waters as well as seals.
LeConte Glacier is the southernmost tidewater glacier in the Northern Hemisphere and is an incredible sight. The glacier bay is encircled by soaring mountains, plunging waterfalls, and dense forests that are frequently wrapped in a dramatic mist. As you cruise through LeConte Bay, you will encounter chunks of floating ice and you may even see boulders crash from the glacier into the waters.
Frederick Sound in the Alexander Archipelago is a feeding station for humpback whales and you may be fortunate to spot them in action during this leg of the cruise. Eagles will frequently make an appearance here seeking their own share of fish. You’ll cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in Alaska, and notice the distinctly remote sense of the Frederick Sound.
Cruise itineraries of Alaska’s Inside Passage typically last for 7-10 days and depart from Seattle or Vancouver, BC. Shorter and longer variations are available and it is also possible to travel in reverse and start at Juneau.
Follow my social accounts for details about my forthcoming virtual event about Alaska in tandem with UnCruise. Until then, you can contact me directly to discuss planning your own excursion on Alaska’s Inside Passage.
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