Tongass National Forest


Kayaks were invented to negotiate the sheltered fiords and inland marine waterways such as you'll find in the Inside Passage. Almost all of the Tongass' waterways are explorable by kayak. Just check with local rangers about the best places to set off. You're almost sure to see lots of wildlife; watch out for whales, sea-lions, seals, orcas, bears, sea otters and eagles. In most areas, you can camp anywhere you can land. Of course you know to pitch your tent well above the tide level.

It's hard to beat a roomy, dependable canoe for extended paddling trips through the interior. The Cross Admiralty Canoe Trail is popular with the kayakers, too. Trips can begin in Juneau and travel across the Oliver Inlet tram into Seymour Canal. Kayakers and canoeists may also load their crafts on the State ferry and travel to Angoon before paddling to Mitchell Bay. A system of seven lakes connected by a portage trail between Mole Harbor and Mitchell Bay offers calmer waters than the ocean and rental cabins in which to dry out. These trips usually take five to seven days. People with more time may paddle from Juneau to Angoon by either the lakes route (10-14 days) or all the way around the island (two to three weeks). These longer trips involve open water crossings and require a decked boat with an experienced paddler.

Besides the Admiralty trail, we've pulled together info on some other inland canoe trails. Maybe we should call them paddle craft trails, because you can take your kayak on these routes as well. But somehow, it doesn't have the right ring. . .

Honker Divide Canoe Route : Strenuous, 3-4 day trip following old trapper route across Prince of Wales Island
Sarkar Lake Canoe Route : 2-3 day trip exploring 7 lakes on Prince of Wales Island
Kuiu Island : These 4 portage routes are age old shortcuts and foul weather protections for travelers on this mystically gorgeous island.



Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »