Haines is situated at the upper end of North America’s longest and deepest fjord. It is 14 miles south of Skagway and 80 miles north of Juneau.
The Chilkat Valley is home to abundant wildlife and Haines is home to one of the highest concentrations of Bald Eagles in North America. 260 other species of birds also pass through the Chilkat Valley each year.
The Chilkoot River offers an amazing opportunity to view both brown and black bears. Visit the information centre for a Wildlife Viewing Guide.
Haines can be reached via the 159-mile Haines Highway which branches from the Alaska Highway 100 miles north of Whitehorse at Haines Junction. The Haines highway was built in 1943 and is now one of Alaska’s best and most scenic highways.
The town is served by the Alaska Marine Highway System, as well as scheduled air and bus transportation. Across the waters of the Chilkat River is Pyramid Harbor and the start of the Dalton Trail — one of the routes to the gold fields of the Klondike. This trail was developed by the Chilkat Indians for the purpose of trading in the interior and was improved in the late 1880s by Jack Dalton.
Haines Visitor Information Center is the best place to start exploring this artful, adventure filled town. Tlingit culture, adventure, wildlife viewing and an award winning distillery can be found in Haines. 122 2nd Avenue. 907-766-2234
Early in November 1879, a canoe slipped into the mouth of the Chilkat Inlet carrying S. Hall Young, a Presbyterian missionary, and his naturalist friend, John Muir. Young told the Chilkats of his intention to build a new Christian town between two waterways, the Chilkat River and the Lynn Canal.
Two years later, the first permanent missionaries came to Haines and the resulting town was named after Mrs. F.E.H. Haines, who was secretary of the Presbyterian National Women’s Missionary Board. She never visited the town that bears her name, although she was a supporter of the mission to Haines. By 1881 the mission was fully established.
In the early 1900s, the government built a permanent Army post here known as Fort William H. Seward, which was later renamed Chilkoot Barracks. When the fort became a national historic site in 1972, the name was changed back to Fort Wm. H. Seward.
The Fort was to be a showcase reflecting the Army’s strength in Alaska. It covered over 4000 acres. The foundations of the buildings were cut from local granite by Italian stone masons that were brought in for that purpose. The officer’s houses had the latest in conveniences with indoor flush toilets and bathtubs.
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Hotels in Haines Alaska
There are a number of hotels and accommodations in Haines Alaska. Captains Choice is one of the best hotels in town.
While staying in Captains Choice, you can will enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the town and water. Rooms are quiet & comfortable and within walking distance of downtown. Complimentary breakfast, free Wi-fi , courtesy shuttle for ferry & flights and pet friendly. Additional services at Motel include car rentals, laundromat, tour info & ticketing.
The Best Campgrounds in Haines Alaska
Haines Alaska is one of the best camping destinations for adventure lovers. Many visitors will ride the Alaska Marine Highway up the Inside Passage to Haines and start their land adventure north, from here. Haines has two excellent campgrounds in town for those in an RV or text camping.
American Bald Eagle Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of the bald eagle and its habitat through education and stewardship. It was founded in 1982 and began educating visitors about these magnificent birds. In 2010, ABEF introduced a live raptor center. Right now, the American Bald Eagle Foundation is a house of over 200 specimens with live raptors.
Haines Sheldon Museum is located downtown on the original Haines mission grounds. It’s an educational institution dedicated to collecting, preserving, and showcasing history and art from within the Chilkat Valley region.
If you love to well made spirits and adult beverages, this place is perfect for you. The Port Chilkoot Distillery makes five local handcrafted spirits in Haines Alaska. It is found in the historic bakery building in Fort William H. Seward. The spirits are made with top-notch ingredients including organic corn grown in Washington. The labels on the spirits represent the maritime culture and fishing town heritage.
Enjoy the marine life and a fully-narrated wildlife cruise with Fjord Express to Juneau. It is a great way to observe the Inside Passage between Skagway and Juneau. The journey starts by departing Skagway and then Haines in the morning and moving through the Lynn Canal, the deepest and longest glacial fjord in North America. On your way to Juneau, you may observe bald eagles, orcas, harbor seals, porpoises, and humpback whales.
Have you heard of a museum only dedicated to the hammer? Yes, you heard right! The Hammer Museum is the world’s first museum only showcasing the hammer. It portrays the very fascinating history of making this useful tool. With over 2,000 artifacts on display and nearly 8,000 more in storage, the Hammer Museum is the world’s largest hammer collection. One more unique attraction in Haines!
Fort William H. Seward is a National Historical landmark. It was named after William H. Seward who was involved in negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia. You can easily access it from the cruise ship dock on foot. Most of the original buildings still stand and have been repurposed as a B&B, restaurant and the Chilkat Center for the Arts.
View Bald Eagles from the designated parking areas along the Haines highway. The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is dedicated to protecting and preserving the habitat of one of the world’s largest concentrations of bald Eagles. The preserve consists of 48,000 acres of river-covered land dedicated to Bald Eagle habitation. It also has a 2 mile-long trail and boardwalk viewing Platform with Telescope at mile 21 of the Haines Highway.
Alaska Indian Arts Center is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the continuation and preservation of native crafts and culture of the Northwest Coast Native Tribes. You can watch artists weave Chilkat blankets, carve totems, and make other artwork.
Chilkat River Adventures
Chilkat river adventures are one of the best tours for Alaska wildlife viewing. Professional guides are dedicated to providing guests a top Alaskan Wilderness Experience, by showing guest around the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve looking for moose, bears and of course, bald eagles.
Fun facts about Haines, Alaska
Haines has the highest per capita number of artists of any town in America.
Roughly 1/3 of the population leaves during the winter.
Haines Alaska is known for the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, being home of the Southeast Alaska State Fair, The world’s only Hammer Museum, and one of the largest congregations of Bald Eagles in the World (every October).
How long is the ferry ride between Juneau and Haines?
The Ferry between Juneau and Haines typically takes 4.5 hours on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System. Ferries run once a day in summer.
Can you drive from Haines to Juneau?
No, it is not possible to drive from Juneau to Haines. You can take a ferry or take a flight. Typically it takes 45 minutes to fly from Haines to Juneau and 4.5 hours via ferry.
Is there a ferry from Haines to Skagway?
Yes, the Alaska Marine Highway travels between Haines and Skagway. There is also the Haines/Skagway Fast Ferry that travels between the two port cities in the Summer. The Haines/Skagway Fast Ferry is only for passengers, not vehicles.
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