List of 9 Amazing Places to Visit in Sitka (2023)
If you are thinking of traveling abroad, consider Sitka to be your next destination! Sitka is a city located in Alaska. The entire area of Sitka is spread over Baranof Island, parts of Chichagof Island, and some other islands as well. Sitka is a very picturesque city, with a cold and chilly weather. The population of the city is also very little and it can be the perfect getaway for anyone planning a family trip, honeymoon, or even a solo trip.
Sitka belonged to Russia before and hence, has a very unique history and culture. Sitka also happens to be the second oldest city in Alaska. Hence, you can imagine the amount of history that surrounds this place. The city of Sitka is also famous for fishing and the 6th largest port in the United States of America. Both commercial and recreational fishing is famous and trendy here.
List of 9 Amazing Places to Visit in Sitka
Here is a compilation of the top locations in Sitka that you must visit:
1. Alaska Raptor Center
If you are interested in birds and wildlife, then the Alaska Raptor Center can be the perfect location for sightseeing in Sitka. The Alaska Raptor Center was started as an initiative in the backyard and slowly grew into a major hospital and educational center for bald eagles. The operation is entirely run by volunteers. Even then, it has become one of the foremost tourist attraction sites in Alaska. Every month, tons of visitors from near and far visit this place.
Every year, the Alaska Raptor Center provides medical care for more than 200 bald eagles and other injured birds. The organisation also has raptors-in-residence, or bald eagles who are unfit for the wild, but stay on with the organisation to teach the visitors and school children about their features.
People are also allowed to adopt and pay for the costs of any particular bald eagle they choose. The area covered by the Raptor Center also has award winning habitats which are home to their residential bald eagles.
- Address: 1000 Raptor Way, Sitka, AK 99835-9302.
- Timings: 10 am to 3 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays only.
- Fees: $15 for adults and $6 for children under 12.
2. Sheldon Jackson Museum
The Sheldon Jackson Museum was founded in the year 1888. It was built to house an extensive and exceptional collection constituting native ethnographic material, art materials, and items of cultural significance. These items were gathered by the Presbyterian missionary and Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson, the General agent for education in Alaska. The museum currently has over 6,000 items which accurately depicts the history of the city and its people. The museum also has a unique building and it was the first concrete structure that was constructed in Alaska.
The museum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places for this very reason. If you are a history-buff, visiting this museum would give you a very special insight into the history, lives, and culture of the people residing in Sitka.
- Address: 104 College DR, Sitka, AK 99835.
- Timing: 12 noon to 4 pm from Wednesday to Saturday.
- Fees: For summers- $9 for general, $8 for seniors, and Free for 18 and under.
- For winters- $7 for general, $6 for seniors, and Free for 18 and under.
3. Russian Bishop’s House
The Russian Bishop’ House is the ideal location, if you want to learn about the time in Sitka when it was under Russia. It has been a center for culture and education since the 1840s. Before that, the structure was the residence of Ivan Veniaminov, who was an orthodox Russia leader and also, the first bishop of Alaska. His house served as the headquarters in-charge of the administrative section of the Russian Orthodox Missionary in Alaska.
The influence of this place was great and has been widely collected and categorised. Even today, you will be able to notice the Russian influence that once was. Apart from the history, the architecture of this place is also unique and noteworthy. It has an intricate design of Russian origin, like the joinery methods. Sightseeing in Sitka is incomplete without visiting this location.
- Address: Lincoln and Monastery Streets, Sitka, AK 99835.
- Timings: 8 am to 4:30 pm, daily.
- Fees: Free.
4. Fortress of the Bear
Just like the Raptor Center, the Fortress of the Bear was also started as an effort to rescue two orphaned bear cubs. From that, it has grown into a large facility catering to bears and maintaining their habitat and ecosystem. You will be able to get aerial, as well as, on-ground view of the bears.
This organisation was thought of by Les Kinnear, who himself was enthusiastic about the outdoors and wildlife. He was the one who rescued the two bear cubs and started this place. As of now, Fortress of the Bear has eight bears, including three huge black bears. The entire area covered under this organisation is made in such a way to accurately depict the natural habitat of bears.
This has become a safe-haven for orphaned and injured bears, who are provided great care. You will also be able to learn about the biology, safety, and nutrition, related to bears.
- Address: 4639 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka, AK 99835-9805.
- Timing: 9 pm to 5 pm, daily.
5. Sitka National Historic Park or Totem Park
The Sitka National Historic Park or the Totem Park is located at the mouth of the Indian river, and is the perfect place for nature-lovers. It covers a total area of 113 acres. It was built in the year 1890 and is one of the oldest federally made park in Alaska.
This park has some indigenous vegetation like Sitka spruce trees, flowers, ferns, and shrubs. The Sitka National Historical Park Visitors Center also has Russian artifacts and other indigenous artifacts which depict the history of the location. The park also has a long trail which ends in the Tlingit fort near to the Indian River. You can either go on a solo-walk along this trail, or have a guided tour, led by a ranger.
- Address: 103 Monastery Street, Sitka, AK 99835-7617.
- Timing: 9 am to 8 pm, daily.
- Fees: Free.
6. St. Michael’s Cathedral
As you already have read, before Alaska became a part of the United States of America, it was colonised by the Russians. The St. Michael’s Cathedral was the first orthodox Russian Church in North America. Hence, it has become a very sought-after local landmark and tourist spot as well. This Church was designed by the Bishop himself, and was constructed between the years 1844 and 1848. The architect was a nobleman by the name of Sergey Padyukov.
During that time, this Church happened to be the largest and most elaborate building in Alaska. It covered an area of 647.5 sq. m. However, the original building was greatly destroyed when it caught fire in 1966. But locals managed to collect most of the artifacts which were inside and built a replica of the church to store those there. You will be able to visit this replica to get a feel of the great church that once was.
- Address: Lincoln and Cathedral Streets, Sitka, AK 99835.
- Timing: 9 am to 4 pm, daily.
- Fees: $5
7. Herring Cove Trail
The Herring Cove Trail is located 6 miles to the southeast of Sitka and happens to be one of the most popular trails in the country. Since it has a diverse landscape and lower elevation change, it is greatly favoured by tourists and locals, alike. The trail travels along a cascading creek which ascends through gravel, rock steps, and spruce and yellow cedar forests. This trail is 1.6 miles long in total, and the first part is the trickiest. Once you complete three-fourth of the trail, you will be able to witness a magnificent waterfall, which will make your hard work worth it.
The Beaver Lake is located along this trail and provides great fishing opportunities as well. You can also continue your journey on the Beaver Dam Bridge, and get an exceptional view of the lake below. If you continue to hike on the east side of the lake, you will eventually end up at the beginning of the trail, from where you started. A perfect day out for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers!
- Address: Herring Cove Road, Sitka, AK 99835.
8. Harbor Mountain Trail
If you are more interested in getting splendid views of the mountains and peaks in Sitka, definitely opt for the Harbor Mountain Trail. The Harbor Mountain can be very easily accessed from Sitka and the trail ends at a very little distance from downtown. You will be able to explore a variety of topography on this trail, which will enrich your heart and soul.
The beginning of the trail has a winding path through the Sitka spruce forests. You just need to cover a mere distance of half a mile to get a taste of what beauty this trail will lead you to. 1.25 miles into the trail, the forest area clears up and a much better view of the mountains can be experienced. You will be able to get crystal-clear views of Sitka Sound and Mt. Edgecumbe.
Once you reach the top, the view waiting there for you will be etched in your memories, forever. All in all, this trail is nearly 2.5 miles and takes 2 hours to complete one-half of it. You will also be able to rest and eat at the Alpine hut, which is a very quaint shelter, located on the mountain-top.
- Address: Harbor Mountain Road, Sitka, AK 99835.
9. Baranof Castle State Historical Site
The Baranof Castle State Historical Site is one of the most popular tourist attraction site in the country. It is more commonly known as Castle Hill and has great historical significance as well. A strategic fort was built by the Tlingit natives here. However, between the years 1804 to 1867, the Russians occupied this vast site.
Today, Baranof Castle has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Apart from the historically significant artifacts, this structure also provides amazing views of the rest of the city and the waterfront as well. There is a fully operational walkway that visitors can use to reach to the top of the hill and catch a glimpse of these sights. Visitors can spend an entire day here exploring not just the history, but also the geography of this place.
- Address: Harbor Road, Sitka, AK 99835.
- Timing: 9 am to 5 pm during summers and 10 am to 2 pm during winters.
These are some of the top locations in Sitka worth visiting, when you go out to explore the city. It truly is one of the greatest places on Earth and a very ideal vacation spot to be at one with nature and wildlife. Not to forget, the impressive history and culture of this place is unparalleled and will mesmerise you forever! Visit Sitka as early as possible for the best time ever.