OVERVIEW: Tucked away between the Chilkat and coastal mountain ranges, Haines, Alaska, is a laid-back town that embraces everyone, from senior citizen sightseers, to the world's most daring extreme skiers. The wild surroundings entice hikers, fishermen, boaters, cyclists, wildlife watchers and photographers -- anyone seeking adventure in unspoiled grandeur.
With fewer than 2,500 people, this quiet and quaint, oceanside town is sprinkled with charming shops and mom-and-pop restaurants. You won't find any skyscrapers here, just majestic mountain peaks beckoning you to explore the area year-round.
WEATHER: The winter temperatures range from the 20s to 30s while summer temperatures generally range from 50F to 70F. The average winter precipitation is 5 inches/month while summer precipitation is approximately 2 inches/month making Haines weather one of the drier spots in all of Southeast Alaska. The coldest temperature on record in town is -17F with the record high around 90F degrees.
GOLFING: Haines host's one of the world's most unique golf courses. With operating hours from 3 AM - 10 PM in the summer, there is no end to the play time at Valley of the Eagles Golf Links.
RAFTING: Rafting on the Chilkat River on daily and overnight trips in the eagle preserve are a popular attraction with Chilkat Guide Service.
HIKING ADVENTURES / BEAR VIEWING: Alaska Nature Tours invites you to experience this true Alaska town where wildlife abounds.
JET BOATING: Photographic opportunities abound on jetboat tours within the bald eagle preserve with River Adventures.
BIKING: Sockeye Cycle with allow you to enjoy two-hour to 11-day bike tours, guided or self-guided, van-supported.
FISHING: It’s part of life in Haines. Sport fishers join subsistence and commercial fishers in pursuit of salmon, dolly varden, and halibut along with shrimp and crab. Boat rentals and fishing excursions can be organized by local outfitters or you can strike out on your own.
WILDLIFE: Whether on the water, hiking or touring, keep your eyes open for whales, seals, porpoises, eagles and shore birds, as well as bears, moose and mountain goats. Haines, Alaska is home to all these creatures and more!
EXTREME ADVENTURES: (summer): Even in the summer -- mountain, rock, even ice climbing opportunities abound along with sea kayaking, fly fishing and more with Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School.
EXTREME ADVENTURES: (winter): Experience the world's best heli-skiing and snow cat skiing with SEABA (Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures).
WILDLIFE PARK: Over three dozen Alaskan mammals can be seen and photographed at close range at Kroschel's Wildlife Park. Guided tours are offered most mornings and afternoons. One of my guests, Arlene stated "the cost was $50 which I was hesistant about ... however, the interaction of Steve and the animals was just so unusual that we were all in awe ... the way he communicated with each animal with different sounds which they all responded to was eerie. The two hour tour was over in no time and I have thought long and hard since how to best describe this unique place."
CULTURAL VISITS AND MUSEUMS:
- History of the town of Haines and the local Tlingit people are featured in the Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center.
- Haines was honored to have its public library named "The Best Small Library in America" in 2005. It's worth a visit, especially since it's open daily throughout the year.
- With more than 200 specimens of local fish and wildlife on display, the American Bald Eagle Foundation is a must stop. Many tourists visit each fall during the annual appearance of up to 3,500 bald eagles within the 48,000 acre sanctuary.
- Haines' Hammer museum boasts that it holds more than 1,500 hammers but isn't just for guys!
- Alaska Indian Arts offers demonstrations by traditional craftsmen including totem carvers and silversmiths.
HISTORY: The first people to call the Chilkat Valley home was the Tlingit Indians some 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. Blessed by abundant food sources of game, fish, and wild berries -- along with a relatively mild rain forest climate -- they gathered among the ocean, rivers and streams.
The first permanent settlement of whites came in 1881 when a Presbyterian mission was established after naturalist John Muir gave a powerful speech to Chilkat tribal leaders. Not long after came salmon canneries, followed by gold mines and then the U.S. Army’s Fort Seward.
View our Alaskan bed and breakfast page on the Haine's, Alaska website.
MILITARY ROOTS: Fort William H. Seward, a National Historic Site, was carved out of the Alaska wilderness 105 years ago -- a symbol of Army strength and U.S. commitment to its young northern territory. The buildings remain today and are now private residences and businesses, however, images of its colorful past are visible to the visitor with imagination.