Cruising Chichagof Islands, Alaska


Chichagof Island

Chichagof IslandsChichagof Island, or Shee Kaax, is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Alaska Panhandle, nearby to Bell Island, Nelson Island and Soloma Point. At 75 miles (121 km) long and 50 miles (80 km) wide, it has a land area of 2,048.61 square miles (5,305.9 km2), making it the fifth largest island in the United States.

Chichagof Island is directly north of Baranof Island, Peril Strait separating the two islands. It is bounded by Chatham Strait to the east, Icy Strait to the northeast, Cross Sound to the northwest, and the Gulf of Alaska to the west.

The communities of Hoonah, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, and Elfin Cove are all located on the northern half of Chichagof Island, in the Hoonah-Angoon Census Area. The southern half of the island comprises the northern part of the City and Borough of Sitka. The vast majority of the island is pure, uninhabited Alaskan wilderness teeming with wildlife.

Alaskan wildlife

One of the last grizzly strongholds, the dense rain forests of Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska hide more of brown bear per square mile than any other place on Earth. Brown bear, is the king of the forest, but Sitka black-tail deer, bald eagles, minks, martens, beavers, ducks and sea birds thrive on the island.

Depending on the month and the weather, the wildlife can be found in different locations throughout the island. In July, the salmon start their migration from the ocean up the rivers and we find the Bears feeding in coastal rivers and streams. In August and September, the salmon have made it further up the rivers to shallow streams where the bears chase them.

Marvel at the unbelievable scenery as your crew expertly guides you through glacier-carved fjords. Anchor in remote coves for an opportunity to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Explore the shoreline on an intertidal walk or forest hike with your guides.