Remote Forest Service cabins are open to the public during the day. Photo by Michael Murray.
Meet the Neighbors - Explore Southeast Communities
Use Juneau as your base for exploring
our diverse Southeast Alaska region
Southeast Alaska is a wonderfully unique part of the state, a place surrounded by extreme geography, diverse vegetation, and an abundance of wildlife. Warm, wet air from the Pacific Ocean - blocked by the coastal mountains of Southeast Alaska - creates a temperate rainforest climate.

The Alexander Archipelago is a group of 10,000 islands snuggled up to the narrow strip of mainland on the west side of the Coast Mountains. Protected from the Pacific Ocean, the calm waters of the Inside Passage stretch from Ketchikan to Skagway.

The majority of land in Southeast Alaska is managed by the U. S. Forest Service and National Park Service. The Tongass National Forest is the nation's largest, with more than 17 million acres. Located just west of Juneau, the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is approximately 3.3 million acres.

Click on the map to see where these communities are located, then read more about them below.

region map



Glacier Bay National Park & Gustavus

Located just 33 miles west of Juneau, the homestead community of Gustavus is the entry point for Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. Gustavus is easily accessible by year-round scheduled commuter air service and during the summer by a scenic three-hour ferry ride or a 14-minute flight on an Alaska Airline 737 jet. The area is famous for its incredible country inns and lodges offering quality service and outstanding meals. Visitors to Gustavaus, population 386, can stay in the community or within the national park.

Skagway

Located northeast of Juneau is Skagway, home of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the beginning of the world-renowned Chilkoot Trail. One of only three communities in Southeast Alaska accessible by road, daily ferry service during the summer is provided by the Alaska Marine Highway System (6 hours) or commercial fast ferry service (2 hours). Convenient scheduled commuter air connections are also available.

Haines

Haines lies northwest of Juneau, just 10 miles west of Skagway. Fort Seward, Alaska's first army post, was built in 1903 to protect northern Lynn Canal's deep-water ports. Also located here is the 48,000-acre Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. From November to March bald eagle numbers increase dramatically to 4,000. Located on the road system, Haines is also accessible by the Alaska Marine Highway System (4 hours), commercial fast ferry (2 hours, summer season) and scheduled commuter air service.

Yakutat

On the outer coast, farther northwest of Juneau, is Yakutat, gateway to the Hubbard Glacier, Alaska's most active tidewater glacier. Daily jet service connects Juneau with this coastal community. From Yakutat, adventurers and surfers - yes, surfers - gain access to Alaska's "lost coast" on the southern edge of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The rivers around Yakutat boast the best salmon and steelhead fishing in the world.

Sitka

Ninety miles west of Juneau lies Sitka, the historic capital of Russian-America. This compact community on the edge of the Pacific Ocean was once referred to as the "Paris of the Pacific" due to its cosmopolitan nature. Sitka's Russian heritage can be seen today throughout the town. Visitors can stand in front of the flagpole where, on October 18, 1867, the territory of Alaska officially exchanged hands between Russia and America. Daily jet service and regular ferry service offer visitors to Juneau easy access to Sitka.

Petersburg

One hundred miles south of Juneau is the fishing community of Petersburg. Known as Alaska's little Norway, as many of the town's inhabitants share a Scandinavian heritage, Petersburg offers a delightful atmosphere in a spectacular setting. Convenient to the Tebenkof Wilderness Area, Petersburg is reachable via jet, ferry, and commuter air service from Juneau.

Wrangell

A few miles to the east of Petersburg is the community of Wrangell. Wrangell is the starting point for day tours to the bear-watching observatory at Anan Creek and for river trips up the mighty Stikine River, which flows from Canada through the coastal mountains into the ocean.

Angoon

Located on Admiralty Island, the Tlingit village of Angoon is just 60 air miles from Juneau. Scheduled commuter air and ferry service provide access to this full-service community of about 500 residents. Angoon's rich Tlingit culture is reflected in its collection of totem poles. Adventure travelers will enjoy the community's close proximity to hiking, canoeing, and bear viewing.

Elfin Cove

Located on Chichagof Island, 90 miles west of Juneau, Elfin Cove (population: 32) is known for its access to world-class fishing.

Hoonah

Tucked into a natural harbor on northern Chichagof Island, the Tlingit fishing village of Hoonah offers boaters a safe layover before venturing into Glacier Bay. This full-service community is served daily by scheduled commuter air service.

Pelican

On the northwest edge of Chichagof Island, 70 miles west of Juneau, is Pelican. Surrounded by old-growth rainforest, this fjord-like setting is one of the most picturesque in the state. This full-service community of 150 year-round residents offers daily commuter air service from Juneau.

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Nestled on the banks of the famed Yukon River, Juneau's Canadian sister city awaits. Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory, boasts a population of 25,000 and often serves as a layover for weary travelers along the Alaska Highway (Al-Can). Motorists continuing on to Juneau will enjoy the 2-hour drive from Whitehorse to the ferry terminal in Skagway.
Travel between Southeast Alaska communities often involves a float plane.  Photo by Mike Dobson, Nine Lives Charters.
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Travel between Southeast Alaska communities often involves a float plane. Photo by Mike Dobson, Nine Lives Charters.
Mother brown bear and cubs at Pack Creek. Photo by Ted Stedman.
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Mother brown bear and cubs at Pack Creek. Photo by Ted Stedman.
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