Visitors to Tongass National Forest have an enormous array of activities to choose from: bird-watching, trekking, camping, glacier trekking, lake canoeing, off-roading, fishing for five separate species of salmon, or simply relishing the pure fresh air and pristine natural beauty. Wildlife is also prevalent, with chances to view otters, brown and black bears, wolves, eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer. Hike with a guide through the forest to learn more about the indigenous trees and plants, or combine a nature walk with a paddle on a secluded lake in a Native American-style canoe. To get a sense for the sheer size of the forest, consider taking a helicopter tour from Ketchikan.
Things to know before you go
- Dress in warm layers, and be prepared for mist and rain any time throughout the year.
- Wear sturdy, water-resistant shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, particularly if you plan to hike.
- Before visiting the Tongass National Forest, you may want to visit the Tongass Historical Museum in Ketchikan to learn about the area’s geography and Native Alaskan heritage.
How to get there
Tongass National Forest covers most of Southeast Alaska and surrounds the Inside Passage. The communities of Ketchikan and Juneau serve as the main gateways to the forest and the jumping off points for most guided tours and activities.
When to get there
Rain is common throughout the year in Tongass National Forest, though April and May tend to be the driest months. The best time to spot bears in the park is during the salmon spawning season, typically mid-July to late-September.
Tongass Wilderness Areas
Tongass National Forest is divided into 19 wilderness areas. Some of the best areas of the park to explore include: Admiralty Island National Monument, home to one of North America’s densest populations of brown bears; the glacial lakes and waterfalls of Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan; and the Russell Fjord Wilderness, home to the Hubbard Glacier.
- Totem Heritage Centre
- Museo de la casa de Dolly
- Creek Street
- Museo Histórico de Tongass
- Centro de descubrimiento del sureste de Alaska
- Puerto de Ketchikan
- Pueblo nativo de Saxman
- Santuario de la selva tropical de Alaska
- Ward Cove
- Parque histórico estatal Totem Bight
- Faro de Guard Island
- Pasaje interior
- Monumento Nacional Misty Fjords