Wrangell & Petersburg

About 90 north of Ketchikan is Wrangell, one of Alaska’s oldest settlements, and home to the Tlingit people for thousands of years. In 1834, the area was settled by Russian traders and from 1861 to the 1890s, it served as the jumping off point for three major Gold rushes up the Stikine River. During this period, Wrangell had some famous visitors including John Muir, and Wyatt Earp, the famous Arizona lawman, who volunteered as a marshal for 10 days. Two of the most interesting sights in the town are Chief Shakes Island, which has an impressive collection of ancient Tlingit totems and a tribal house that contains Tlingit tools, blankets and other cultural items, and the Petroglyph Beach State Park, which has primitive rock carvings dating back 8,000 years! The Wrangell Museum also has an impressive collection of Tlingit items as well as several photographs and other exhibits from the Gold Rush.

Another 50 miles north, at the tip of the Wrangell Narrows, lies Petersburg, the center of Norwegian culture in Alaska. Petersburg is most famous for the Little Norway festival that it hosts in mid-May, a four-day event that features Norwegian costumes, a parade, booths, games, and dances. About 20 minutes away by boat from Petersburg is the Leconte Glacier. Icebergs that have calved off from the glacier can often be seen floating near the Petersburg shoreline. Naturalists can also enjoy endless hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities in the Tongass National Forest surrounding Petersburg.

 

 


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