Wrangell, AK is filled with so much natural beauty and panoramic landscapes that you’ll wonder why the quaint city isn’t overrun with tourists. . If you’re an outdoorsy traveler, you’ll want to stay in Wrangell forever since there are so many options to go hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing as well as getting up close and personal with their resident black and brown bears.
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1.Anan Creek Bear Observatory
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Usually, the brown and black bears that reside in similar areas do not interact with each other and tend to chase each other away so as not to share their habitat. What makes Anan Creek Bear Observatory so unique is that here they do merge, because the brown bears, which are usually the aggressor, are much younger than the adult black bears that live there. The experience starts with an orientation with a ranger from the US Forest Service, followed by a short half-mile walk on a trail to the observatory. The rest of the tour is self-exploratory unless you choose to hire a professional guide to give you more background on the bears and the area. It’s great fun for the entire family and you may even see the two different species fishing for salmon at the same watering hole.
Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-2323
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Located within the James & Elsie Nolan Center, the Wrangell Museum is a wonderful place for visitors of all ages to explore the area’s colorful history. There are many exhibits there that will give you a better understanding of Wrangell’s Native Alaskan culture, natural environment, its military presence, and important aspects of its past such as the fur trade and gold rush. The museum’s collection comprises several artifacts and over 250 photos on display for you to enjoy. There is also a video highlighting several instances from the city’s past. Don’t forget to pick up a fun souvenir from their gift shop, which is filled with books, local handmade items, and many other items.
296 Campbell Drive, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-3770
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Alaska Waters offers amazing wilderness tours in Wrangell that show you a side of the city you won’t be able to see from land. There are many types of tours available, with their most popular being the Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory Tour. For nearly 6 hours, you’ll be able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience seeing bald eagles, black and brown bears, and harbor seals just feet away from you on the observation deck. Their LeConte Glacier Excursion is another fun choice; the tour lasts around 4 hours and will give you the chance to cruise on a jet-boat through fields of icebergs beside LeConte Glacier.
107 Stikine Ave, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 800-347-4462
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Alaska Vistas is the perfect choice for more adventurous visitors who want to explore their surroundings on their own. These unguided trips can be customized based on what you want to see, no matter if it’s a short or an extended excursion. With Alaska Vistas you’ll get the support you need to have that peaceful trip into the Alaskan wilderness; this support may be in the form of planning services, water taxis, trip support, gear rentals, cabin arrangements, permits, and much more. Those who want to explore without a group but with a knowledgeable professional guide can request one as well.
103 Front St, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-3006
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5.Alaska Charters and Adventures
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Alaska Charters and Adventures offers an array of personalized and guided tours of the many natural wonders in the state. You’ll be able to experience true Alaskan wilderness during this adventure of a lifetime while experiencing everything from observing bears catching wild salmon to getting extremely close to gigantic icebergs. You can also choose to watch whales feed in the calm Alaskan waters or hike through the marvelous untouched forests. The tours are conducted in small groups so that everyone gets a unique experience without getting lost in the shuffle of larger crowds. There’s a special tour dedicated to photography so that you can take the most amazing photographs of Alaska’s unrivaled beauty.
5 Front St, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-4157
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Meaning “great river” in Tlingit, the Stikine River is best explored from the city of Wrangell. The stunningly gorgeous waters are a dream come true for nature lovers as well as photographers. You’ll be able to see an array of wildlife such as bears, sea lions, moose, and otters during your exploration of the river; ornithology aficionados will not want to leave as there are over 120 species of migrating birds that you may come across, such as Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, and tundra swans. There are many ways to explore the waters depending on how close and how adventurous you want to be. You can see the Stikine River from the air as you fly through the coastal mountains on a helicopter or plane tour. Other options include jet-boat charters, canoes, kayaks, and rafts.
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7.Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site
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The Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site is a must-visit attraction when you’re in Wrangell. The site comprises over 40 different rock carvings that are only fully visible during low tide. Many researchers have assessed the sketches at Petroglyph Beach and believe that it dates back to over 8,000 years ago. The drawings depict varied scenes involving whales and salmon as well as faces, and is thought to have been sketched by the Tlingit people. It is a significant site that will educate visitors on Wrangell’s rich history and the ancient Native Alaskans who lived there years ago.
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8.Mount Dewey Trail
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Hikers and nature lovers should not miss spending time on the Mount Dewey Trail while in Wrangell, Alaska. The hiking trail is short, but it will take you to the top of a small mountain that is right in the center of the city. Once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of the bustling city as well as the serene landscape that surrounds it. The hike is only about a half-mile round trip and has a 300-foot elevation gain. It’s a fairly easy hike and a lot of the trail is paved or fitted with wooden planks; please keep in mind that there are steps, so it’s not very wheelchair friendly.
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9.Night N Gale Charters
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Get out on the waters with Night N Gale Charters for the ultimate Alaskan fishing experience. Every fishing trip is unique and tailored specifically to you and what you want to see and catch. Wrangell’s calm waters are often overlooked but are teeming with halibut, rockfish, lingcod, salmon, and much more. These world-class fishing tours have allowed anglers to catch some of the largest fish ever, including a silver salmon pushing 20 pounds. The boats themselves are a thing of beauty and guarantee the utmost comfort during your fishing expedition. You’ll also be able to see some gorgeous views of Wrangell’s surroundings during your trip, so be sure to pack a camera.
Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 509-951-1373
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10.Muddy Water Adventures
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Muddy Water Adventures offers water taxi services and tours throughout Wrangell’s many bodies of water and the Tongass National Forest. The professionals at Muddy Water have over 25 years of experience in touring the local area, ensuring that you have a relaxing and enjoyable trip as you take in the beauty that surrounds you. Tours are conducted in a covered, heated jet-boat that can hold up to six people, guaranteeing that you have a more personal experience. You’ll learn so much from Captain Zach Taylor, who was born and raised right there in Wrangell and has spent his life cruising the rivers and charting the best courses.
Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-305-0206
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11.Chief Shakes Island
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Housed in a grassy islet right in the middle of Wrangell’s boat harbor is Chief Shakes Island. The Shakes, whose current leader is Chief Shakes X, represent a long line of Tlingit leaders, whom you can learn all about as you explore the historic space. The major attraction is the Shakes Community House, which is a replica of a traditional Tlingit tribal house that was built in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. While there, you’ll be able to see original totems that date back to the 1840s holding the building up; there are six additional totems that were carved in the late 1930s and are duplicates of originals.
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© Stikine Restaurant
Housed within the Stikine Inn is their famed seasonal Stikine Restaurant, which is lovingly called “The Stik” by local patrons. They have an array of full-service dining options that are concocted by a world-class chef. It is a wonderful place to try out all the dishes and drinks that make Wrangell unique. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is famed for its juicy burgers, slow-cooked prime rib, and steak. Their fish and chips are made from fresh halibut sourced from a local fisherman and dipped in a batter infused with a local brewery’s draft beer; it will hands down be one of the most delicious versions of it you’ll have in your lifetime.
107 Stikine Ave, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-3388
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13.Breakaway Adventures Day Tours
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Breakaway Adventures Day Tours has been around since 1989 and is Wrangell’s premier jet-boat operation. Visitors from around the world will love the amazing experience they will have on one of the many tours offered. Tours include the Anan Bear Tour, the Leconte Glacier Tour, the Stikine River Tour, and a trip to Telegraph Creek, BC. Breakaway also provides rentals for skiffs, canoes, and kayaks. Other things to do include a ride on their water taxi across the Stikine River, guided or unguided. It’s no matter if you’re a solo traveler or a part of a group of 50, Breakaway Adventures Day Tours will have something that’s perfect for you.
104 Front St, Wrangell, AK 99929, Phone: 907-874-2488
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13 Best Things to Do in Wrangell, Alaska
- Anan Creek Bear Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of Bernard Marschner - Fotolia.com
- Wrangell Museum, Photo: Courtesy of marcel - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Waters, Photo: Courtesy of mark galer - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Vistas, Photo: Courtesy of szymanskim - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Charters and Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of LoweStock - Fotolia.com
- Stikine River, Photo: Courtesy of monigre - Fotolia.com
- Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of LoweStock - Fotolia.com
- Mount Dewey Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Kiryl Lis - Fotolia.com
- Night N Gale Charters, Photo: Courtesy of Mat Hayward - Fotolia.com
- Muddy Water Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of LoweStock - Fotolia.com
- Chief Shakes Island, Photo: Courtesy of Jay - Fotolia.com
- Stikine Restaurant, Photo: Stikine Restaurant
- Breakaway Adventures Day Tours, Photo: Courtesy of flownaksala - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of korkeakoski - Fotolia.com