At the northern end of America’s longest fjord, Haines shares a border with 20 million acres of protected wilderness. The heart of Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park is less than 25 miles by air from downtown Haines, and Canada’s Kluane National Park and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park are just up the road. As you can imagine, opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless. And this is just part of what makes Haines the Alaska of your dreams!
Haines’ friendly people can take you rafting, canoeing, kayaking, or jetboating; fly over Glacier Bay (you can even land on a glacier!); or by bus or van to all of Haines’ attractions; hike the area’s beautiful trails, some to the summit of spectacular peaks. See birds, wildlife, and meadows full of flowers in our lush forests, on our ocean shores, or along the banks of our rivers. Fish for halibut, salmon and trout. In winter our wilderness becomes a vast playground for skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and snowmobiling. Whatever you do, bring your camera, because Haines is a photographer’s paradise.
While you’re in Haines, explore our cultural heritage at Sheldon Museum, and at Alaska Indian Arts in historic Fort Seward, or learn about the area’s natural history through taxidermy at the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Browse Haines’ galleries for exquisite artistry of the Chilkoot and Chilkat Tlingits and other resident artists.
Haines has a busy, year-round calendar of events, so come for a festival, a bicycle race, or for the Southeast Alaska State Fair in July. Enjoy a fascinating performance of native legends presented with marvelous costumes and masks.
In winter you’ll be among birdwatchers and photographers from around the world as the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve hosts the planet’s largest gathering of American bald eagles — thousands of them at a time feasting on a banquet of spawning salmon! As daylight fades, the Northern Lights may put on a show, and you’ll always find a warm place to snuggle up — or a hot spot to dine & dance! — after a day of playing in the snow.
Perhaps best of all, Haines’ scenic streets are never over-crowded, yet they offer everything you’ll need while you’re on the road: lodging, RV parks and private campgrounds, restaurants and bars, supermarkets and hardware stores, gas stations and garages, bookstores, galleries and gift shops, clothing stores and outdoor outfitters, as well as excellent medical and dental services. Haines even has a public swimming pool, a small airport, a tennis court, and a visiting veterinarian!
For these and many other reasons, the guest register at the Haines Visitor Center is filled with “Favorite place on our entire trip!” comments from both highway travelers and cruise ship passengers. Come spend some time with us! Find out why people are discovering Haines to be the Alaska of their dreams.
Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve: The river “flats” of the Chilkat River between Mile 18 and Mile 21 of the Haines Highway constitute the main viewing area for eagle watchers. This area is considered a critical habitat in the preserve. In this four-mile stretch known as the “Council Grounds,” thousands of eagles congregate each year. Bald eagles are attracted to the area by the availability of spawned-out salmon and open waters in late fall and early winter.
The natural phenomena responsible for five miles of open water on the Chilkat River during freezing months is called the “alluvial fan reservoir.” Here, warm water “percolates” into the river and keeps it from freezing, producing conditions that facilitate the late run of salmon. The salmon die shortly after spawning, and their carcasses provide a feast for the eagles at a time of year when food is scarce elsewhere. This combination of open water and plentiful food brings over 3,000 eagles into the Chilkat Valley beginning in early October and lasting until January. The peak of the gathering usually occurs in mid-November.