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Overview

Located along a deep fjord in northern Southeast Alaska, the town of Haines (pop. 1,400) straddles a narrow peninsula. Out front is Chilkoot Inlet and directly behind lies the wide Chilkat River and towering peaks of the Chilkat Range. Historic Fort Seward — built in the early 1900s — is a focal point, with its white Victorian buildings, spacious parade grounds, and master totem carvers at Alaska Indian Arts. The town is also home to a couple of museums, including the unique Hammer Museum with more than 1,500 hammers of all shapes and sizes. The Haines Highway — one of the only roads out of Southeast Alaska — leads north, paralleling the ...

Located along a deep fjord in northern Southeast Alaska, the town of Haines (pop. 1,400) straddles a narrow peninsula. Out front is Chilkoot Inlet and directly behind lies the wide Chilkat River and towering peaks of the Chilkat Range. Historic Fort Seward — built in the early 1900s — is a focal point, with its white Victorian buildings, spacious parade grounds, and master totem carvers at Alaska Indian Arts. The town is also home to a couple of museums, including the unique Hammer Museum with more than 1,500 hammers of all shapes and sizes. The Haines Highway — one of the only roads out of Southeast Alaska — leads north, paralleling the river past the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, one of the finest places to see bald eagles. Each winter, an upwelling of warm water keeps the Chilkat and its tributaries open, attracting a late-season run of salmon. As the fish die, their carcasses provide food for all sorts of animals, from bears and wolves to gulls and ravens. Most impressive are the 3,500 bald eagles that gather from hundreds of miles in all directions to feast on salmon. Fittingly, the American Bald Eagle Foundation is headquartered in Haines, hosting a popular Bald Eagle Festival in early November. The mountains that hem in Haines are popular ski destinations for powder hounds, with two local heli-ski operations. Alaska Mountain Guides leads ski mountaineering classes.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Four hours northwest of Juneau. It is in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle, near Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Bald eagle activity peaks in November and December.