The state of Alaska, wild and full of natural wonders, is home to abundant mammal and bird populations, glorious pine-covered and snow-capped mountains, hundreds of glaciers, and endless outdoor experiences. We’re heading into the remote Inside Passage, where massive fjords meet towering glaciers, and where whales and orcas navigate into tiny coves that big ships can’t go. Here are just five of our favorite experiences you’re likely to have in Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Searching for Wildlife on Land and Sea
Wildlife spotting throughout the state, especially in protected areas and national parks, is always a thrill. You can spot whales “bubble netting” and orcas meandering through the waterways as bald eagles fly overhead. We may see bears and moose on land as they tromp through the valley fields. Our ships are equipped with a hydrophone, so if we happen upon a pod of whales, we can drop in on their conversation. We love heading into Pack Creek Zoological Area, where you’ll find some of the best brown bear viewing in Southeast Alaska, and Seymour Canal, a 25-mile-long inlet that is home to the highest concentration of bald eagles in southeast Alaska.
Exploring Miles of Pristine Shoreline
Did you know Alaska has more than 46,000 miles of coastline—that’s more than the lower 48 states combined! The coastal areas of southeast Alaska are brimming with wildlife as old-growth cedar, hemlock, and spruce forests touch the ocean, creating the haven for mammals and birdlife. One of our favorite stretches of Alaska’s Inside Passage is Ford’s Terror, known as “a flooded Yosemite Valley,” where the ship navigates between 5,000-foot granite faces.
Hiking, Kayaking (and Hot Springs!)
Active days in Alaska’s Inside Passage grant us the opportunity to step out on glacial moraine, kayak on glassy waters, and walk through dense forests. No previous kayaking experience is necessary on our journeys, and one of the delights traveling by boat is navigating to the scenic hot springs of Baranof Island. In this sublime spot where thundering waterfalls plunge into the sea, we soak in natural pools of hot water next to the roar of the glacier-fed white waters while eagles soar by and whales swim in the bay.
Visiting Coastal Communities
Visit Petersburg, known as “Little Norway,” and Sitka, the Russian outpost in Alaska. Indigenous groups including Tlingit and Haida have deep cultural roots in these coastal communities, and you can see glimpses of their heritage through the architecture as well as totem poles. Some of the largest concentrations of totem poles are actually in Sitka, where you’ll see depictions of legends carved into cedar wood poles.
Savoring Fresh Cuisine in a Unique Setting
We pride ourselves in bringing travelers through the Inside Passage in style, aboard a small ship that only carries up to 12 passengers. Many wouldn’t expect that a small galley kitchen could produce phenomenal cuisine worth mentioning in a blog, but one of the delights many of our passengers have is all about the food! One of our adventurers said, “The food on board was worth 1 Michelin star!” Throughout our journeys, we are met by local farmers who bring us fresh produce by boat, and our chef creates a fusion of flavors fresh from the land and sea. That’s the luxury of having our own private chef for our small groups!