Southeast Alaska, or Alaska's Inside Passage, comprises only about 10% of the total land area in the state of Alaska, but it's one of Alaska's most beautiful regions. Petersburg, my home and base of operations is situated in the geographic center.
This region of Alaska offers over a thousand miles of shoreline, hundreds of islands, a spectacular coastal mountain range with tidewater glaciers, and large sections of designated wilderness. Our protected waterways, sparse population, and abundant wildlife together create one of the largest, scenic, diverse and most accessible areas in North America for exploring and sea kayaking.
The city of Petersburg is located on Mitkof Island in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. It is a small fishing town with a resident population of 3000 people. Unlike other Inside Passage communities, we are off the route of the large cruise ships, and most tourists for that matter! Founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1890, Petersburg is a hard-working town known for its commercial fishing fleet and Norwegian heritage. Local waters produce millions of pounds of wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab each year. There are only two ways to get to Petersburg! One is by boat, like on one of the Alaska Marine Highway ferries, and the other is one of two Alaska Airlines jets that service Petersburg daily.
A walk through town will reveal signs of Petersburg's Norwegian past. Many buildings are adorned with traditional rosemaling design and the historic Sons of Norway Hall is still an important part of our town's social life.
Two incredible areas are located here. LeConte Glacier Bay is 18 miles from Petersburg and is the southernmost tide water glacier in North America. It’s a 12 mile-long fjord that has been carved out of the surrounding coastal mountain range by glaciers over the course of thousands of years. LeConte is very active and is constantly fracturing/ calving and filling the bay with hundreds of icebergs. The bay has 2000 foot rock walls that have been polished by the ice, thundering waterfalls and is a magical place to explore.
The other is Frederick Sound and its Humpback Whales. The whales come to the Frederick Sound to feed in the summer months before heading south to warmer water in the winter. The Sound has been the used for years by researcher who have discovered Humpbacks use a complex system of behaviors to help capture food. It’s not uncommon to see 20 to 30 whales on a given day.