Icy Strait Point on Chichagof Island is just one mile from the native village of Hoonah, Alaska. Icy Strait Point was originally built in 1912 as a salmon cannery, which operated on and off until 1956. In 1996 The Huna Totem Corporation purchased Icy Strait Point and with that gave the area a new beginning.
In 2001 the Huna Totem Corporation began development of America’s only private cruise ship destination and in 2004, it welcomed it’s first ship – Celebrity Mercury. Since it’s humble beginnings Icy Strait Point has thrived as a cruise port that preserves the character of the local village and Tlingit culture as much as possible. It’s awards from National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Conde Naste Traveler and The New York Times have all applauded Icy Strait Point for its sustainable tourism efforts. It even won “Port of the Year” in the 2020 Seatrade Awards.
Icy Strait Point has two cruise ship docks that are connected by the green transporter gondola. The original cruise ship dock was opened in 2004, and the second dock, at Wilderness Landing was opened in 2020.
Icy Strait Point offers its visitors a breathtaking array of natural wonders and cultural experiences. Icy Strait Point is Alaska Native owned and profits support the local community of Hoonah, which is Alaska’s largest native Tlingit Village. With pristine wilderness areas, stunning coastal scenery, abundant wildlife, and an impressive Tlingit culture heritage, Icy Strait Point gives travelers a chance to experience some of Alaska’s best attractions and shore excursions.
It’s possible for Independent travelers to enjoy all of the activities here as they are open to the public, but only when a cruise ship is in port. Tours can be booked at www.icystraitpoint.com
There is no shortage of activities to do in this small southeast Alaska port. Visitors can explore nature trails along the beach and through the old-growth forests or spend time in the cannery museum, shopping or dining at the well reviewed restaurants. There is also an exciting list of tours.
Finally, those interested in learning more about traditional Native American life will find plenty to explore here; whether they choose to take part in cultural activities or educational classes, there is something for everyone looking to better connect with the Tlingit heritage.
Exploring Nearby Glacier Bay
There is some confusion with visitors that may think Icy Strait Point and Glacier Bay are the same. They are near one another, but they are not the same place. Icy Strait Point is on Chichagof Island, which is the first island to the south of Glacier Bay. This waterway between Chichagof Island and Glacier Bay is Icy Strait, and was once choked with ice from Glacier Bay (Hundred of years ago). Now Icy Strait is a busy waterway with boats, ferry’s and cruise lines passing through.
Currently, there are no excursions from Icy Strait Point to Glacier Bay, but many cruise lines will include a day cruising the waters of Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is an area of immense beauty that offers breathtaking views and a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities.
Things to do in Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point has been built for visitors to explore. There are a ton of exiting things to do here from whale watching, bear sighting, food tasting, beach walking to ziplining. As of 2022, Icy Strait Point is also home to one of Alaska’s few mountain gondolas.
There are actually two gondolas in Icy Strait Point. The first is the green Transporter that takes guests from Wilderness Landing cruise ship dock to the Adventure Center, which is closer to the Icy Strait Point restaurants, museum, and activities. This ride is relatively low to the ground and doesn’t offer much more than transportation.
The Skyglider Gondola on the other hand takes guests from Wilderness Landing to the top of the mountain and offers stunning views over the water and toward Glacier Bay National Park. Tickets for the Skyglider are good all day and can be used to ride up and down multiple times. At the top of the mountain there are nature trails and viewpoints but the view from in the gondola will be hard to beat.
Point Adolphus Whale Watching
Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise takes guests to Point Adolphus, where you will find Alaska’s largest summer population of humpback whales. Passengers will cruise through breathtaking scenery while searching for these majestic mammals. Onboard naturalists share details on the biology and behavior of the many species that call this area home.
The Nutrient Rich Waters of Point Adolphus are fed by glacial runoff, and provide ample food sources for whales, birds and other marine wildlife which makes this an ideal spots for spotting these amazing mammals.
They even guarantee a 100% chance of a whale sighting. This tour is also likely to spot Orca’s (Killer Whales), Steller’s sea lions, seals, sea otters, porpoise and bald eagles.
Ziprider – The World’s Largest Ziprider!
Icy Strait Point Alaska offers a thrilling experience like no other. Ziprider – one of the world’s longest zip line rides. This thrilling ride is guaranteed to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping with its spectacular views of Chichagof Island, Icy Strait and Glacier Bay National Park.
At nearly 5,330 feet (1,625 meters) long, this one-of-a-kind attraction has six side-by-side ziplines that drop 1,300 ft from the top of Hoonah Mountain back down to sea level at speeds reaching up to 60 mph (97kph). Built in 2007, it is no longer the highest or fastest zipline in the world, but the 6 side-by-side ziplines still make it the world’s largest ziprider.
Ziprider’s can take in the breathtaking scenery while soaring through the air over alpine meadows and the lush Tongass forest. Riders can choose from single or tandem rides for added excitement. The adventure starts with a gondola ride up the mountain to reach the launching platform! If you’re looking for an action packed day out filled with incredible sights then make sure to check out Ziprider!
Spasski River Valley Bear Search Tour Experience
Visitors to Icy Strait Point, Alaska can take part in a unique wildlife tour experience. The Spasski River Valley Wildlife & Bear Search heads deep into the wilds of Chichagof Island in search of the local wildlife. Famous for some of the highest densities of coastal brown bears found anywhere in Alaska, the Spasski River Valley also attracts Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles and more.
The Bear Search Tour offers an opportunity for visitors to search for coastal brown bears, one of the largest species of bear on earth. On this two-hour guided hike through the Tongass National Forest, guests have the chance to observe these majestic creatures as they roam across their natural habitat.
Thrills At The Tree Top Adventure Park
The Tree Top Adventure Park is one of the most popular attractions at Icy Strait Point and provides thrills for all ages. The Adventure Park features ziplining, rope courses and balance obstacles. There are 3 different levels of courses, with the 1st level suitable for children as young as 7 years old.
At the Tree Top Adventure Park, you’re sure enjoy exploring Alaska’s natural beauty in a safe yet exhilarating way. Soar high above the trees or bravely face your fears during a challenging ropes course – whatever adventure you choose; it will be worth every minute!
Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen
Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen in Icy Strait Point is a unique hands-on experience that combines Native Alaskan cooking with a modern twist. Here, visitors can enjoy learning about how traditional seafood and other local cuisine are prepared. All taught by a master wilderness chef.
Watch as the catch of the day is filleted before trying your hand in grilling your own delicious seafood treat. Not only will guests enjoy yummy Alaskan cuisine, but they will also learn about the history and culture of the area. Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen is a great way to sample the food and culture of Alaska.
Hoonah Packing Co. Cannery Museum
Visitors to Icy Strait Point, Alaska can explore a piece of history with the Hoonah Packing Co. Cannery Museum. Once the largest salmon cannery in Alaska, the facility has been transformed into an educational tourist attraction that offers insight into the past life and industry of Hoonah Packing Co. The cannery at Icy Strait Point was once the largest salmon cannery in Alaska.
One of the highlights is seeing firsthand how hundreds of workers once processed as many as 1 million cases of canned salmon each year from 1940-1950s. Tour guides provide fascinating facts about this complex process which included hauling thousands of pounds of fresh caught fish from nearby boats, gutting and cleaning them by hand for canning. Visitors are given a guided tour around the various buildings on site, including a fish processing plant, smokehouse and cold storage warehouse. This is a glimpse into what life must have been like working in one of Alaska’s most successful businesses at that time.
The restored Cannery building also houses an array of shops selling locally made goods as well as a large selection of souvenirs.
Icy Strait Brewing for Craft Beer Lovers
Icy Strait Brewing offers visitors to the area a selection of local beers brewed in small batches using fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding waters. The brewery’s diverse array of unique flavors come in both draft and bottle formats. Located in the town of Hoonah, 1 mile from Icy Strait Point.
Cookhouse Restaurant for Delicious Dining
The Cookhouse Restaurant offers a delicious dining experience in an unforgettable setting. Located on Chichagof Island and surrounded by the wilds of Alaskan nature, this restaurant serves up meals with local seafood and produce that are sure to please even the pickiest diner. The menu includes dishes like King Crab Legs, Wild Salmon Burgers, Halibut & Chips, Fish Tacos, and much more – all made fresh daily!
The location itself is something special; guests can enjoy their meal inside or out on the deck overlooking incredible views of Icy Strait sound – it just doesn’t get any better than this!
Crab Station For Seafood Delights
At the Crab Station, visitors can enjoy fresh Dungeness crab caught right off the coast of Alaska while they watch whales, sea lions and other marine mammals that frequently pass by. Try fresh king, Dungeness and snow crab (whichever is in season)or try their famous Alaska Crabby Bloody Mary.
Local Arts & Crafts Shopping Galore
Icy Strait Point, Alaska is a unique destination for arts and crafts shopping. Located in the historical Tlingit Village of Hoonah, travelers can find an array of locally crafted items from indigenous Alaskan Native artists. The variety includes traditional clothing, jewelry, carvings, paintings, sculptures and much more. Many of these items are produced by locals who specialize in producing authentic works that reflect the culture and traditions that have been passed down through generations.
The artisans at Icy Strait Point take pride in their craftsmanship and attention to detail when creating each item with quality materials such as wood, bone and ivory. Visitors can also purchase souvenirs featuring the iconic whale or eagle artwork found throughout the village which represents important elements of Tlingit culture.
Duck Point Smokehouse
Tourists will find a variety of smoked seafood offerings such as wild king salmon, halibut jerky, baitfish roe chips and more at Duck Point Smokehouse located onsite. This is a great spot to stop by after exploring the nearby trails and wetlands of Spasski River Valley!
Icy Strait Point’s Scenic Nature Trails
This wilderness hike through the hillsides of Chichagof Island takes guests 2 miles to the top of the mountain where you will bask in the glorious 360 degree views of the sounding island and waterways. To reach the wilderness hike, guests are driven through Hoonah, to the Spasski River Valley and into the Tongass National Forest.
You will experience well-maintained pathways through old growth forest, while your local guides will share their knowledge of the surrounding nature.
Travel Tips For Visiting Icy Strait Point
Visiting Icy Strait Point offers a unique opportunity to experience Alaska’s rich culture and natural beauty.
Most visitor’s to Icy Strait Point will be on an Alaska cruise but keep in mind that it is possible for independent visitors to explore this unique destination. The nearby village of Hoonah, can be reached by air, with regular flights from Juneau. Or visitors can take the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Service from Juneau year-round. The list of activities at Icy Strait Point are only available for independent visitors when there is a cruise in port.
It is also recommended that travelers bring warm clothing with them as temperatures can drop drastically in Southeast Alaska, especially in the shoulder seasons.