Welcome to the wild! Baranof Island is a great place to spend a week exploring. Surrounded by tiny islands, you'll never tire of the view, as it is one of Southeast's most beautiful (if that's possible).
Below are the top places to visit.
Sitka is the largest city on the island, and is also the largest city (area wise) in the United States - so there is plenty of room to stretch out! If arriving to Sitka via ferry, you'll want to take a taxi, or shuttle into town. If you're flying into Sitka, it's a little over a mile of walking distance from the airport to the downtown area. You'll cross a bridge that overlooks islands and fishing boats, a classic Southeast scene. Sitka is a very walkable town, you can easily access trails and beaches.
- Nugget Restaraunt - Best homemade pies around! Located in the airport, grab a slice before your flight or plan on going there for dessert. Ask any Southeastener what's special about Sitka, and they'll reply with "PIES!"
- North Sister Crepes and Juice Co. - Looking for an Alaskan spin on crepes? This is it! Located downtown, menu items include crepes stuffed with Sitka harvested kelp, and fresh caught salmon and even beach asparagus. Ingredients are homemade, homegrown, organic, and tasty as hell!
- Baranof Island Brewing Company - A new up and coming brewery who uses glacial fed water to make mouth-watering beer. There are several places to drink up this high quality, local beer, but if you'd like to visit the brewery and tasting room you'll have to head to the brewery itself. Located off Sawmill Creek road about 1.5 miles from town (keep the ocean on your right).
- The Cellar - BEST SHOPPING IN SOUTHEAST, ALASKA! You can spend hours at this cute boutique. Find unique items that fit Sitka's savy style. Items are reasonably priced, you can spend anywhere from $30-$100 on a single item. There is also local handmade jewelry that is to die for. This shop is an absolute must.
- Herring Cove Trail - An easy to moderate trail that winds through beautiful trees and waterfalls, approximately 1.6 miles and located at the end of Sawmill Road.
- Harbor Mountain Road & Gavan Hill Trail - Located off of Halibut Point Road, follow Harbor Mountain Road which meandors uphill climbing 2,000ft, from there get of of the car and hike! Gavan Hill Trail is a 6 mile loop, advanced hiking but if you're into history you'll be pleased to discover old WWII Radar and Fort ruins!
Baranof Warm Springs
A slice of wilderness heaven! Baranof Warm Springs is a natural hot spring settled right next to a grand waterfall, you'll feel like you're the only person on earth. Hike up the trail and canoe your way around a beautiful mountain lake.
Do not plan on overnighting, as the accomodations are no longer in operation. But do plan a day trip, and a sack lunch! A quick 20-45 minute flight from Sitka, this makes for a fantastic "Spa Day."
On the southern tip of Baranof, Port Alexander is the definition of a fishing village. A very remote town that relies heavily on salmon runs, Port Alexander is a great place to visit and experience life in rural Alaska. Port Alexander is a town of roughly 80-100 people in the summer months, does not have cell phone service, or roads. The only way for visitors to get to Port Alexander is by float plane, there are scheduled flights twice a week operated by Harris Air. If you're looking for tranquility, this is it!
Where to Stay:
Fishermens Inn is a fantastic lodge operated by long time Alaskans. When staying at Fishermens Inn, transportation is included from Sitka by the lodge's private float plane. Enjoy fishing trips, boating excersions, and the BEST homemade, fresh Alaskan cuisine you can imagine. The lodge keeps you busy if you want, or lets you relax if you need.
Things to do:
- Port Alexander City Museum - Little treasures from Port Alexander's hay day back in the 1930's. Once the fishing capital of Alaska, this little museum holds the key to a very wild, permisquous town.
- Walk to Blow Hole - On the airport side of the bay, walk the boardwalk until it makes a 90 degree turn. Keep on the dirt trail and follow it about 5 minutes towards the ocean. You can only see the Blow Hole at low tide, and is best to watch it when the tide comes in or during storms!
Anyone ever make it to Baranof Island? If so what did you do?