Explore Sitka's Outdoor Trails

A view down totem trail, lined with tall trees and a totem pole on the right.

Totem Trail and Russian Memorial Loop-
1.6 miles

One of the nicest walks in town is right outside the door at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center. The park features two loop trails connected by a footbridge spanning the Indian River, for a total of 1.6 miles. Walkers will experience classic Southeast Alaskan temperate rain forest, characterized by towering Sitka Spruce and Western hemlock trees and lush, green ground cover, punctuated by beautiful vistas of Sitka Sound and the intertidal zone.

This parcel of land is of immense historical significance to Alaska. The Battle of 1804 was fought here, which culminated in the Native Tlingit temporarily withdrawing from the area. This allowed the Russian colonists to establish the settlement that would be the center of their American empire, and later became Sitka. This battleground is commemorated at the mouth of the Indian River with a totem pole honoring K'alyaan, the warrior that led the Tlingit forces in battle.

The Totem Trail and the adjacent grounds outside the Visitor Center feature 18 authentic totem poles carved by Native Alaskan carvers. To learn more about the poles, join a ranger-led tour, or call the number posted on the back of the poles to listen to the self-guided cell phone tour.

The trail has a broad, gravel surface and minimal elevation change, and is appropriate for all hikers. Dogs must be leashed.


We recommend you set aside at least 30 minutes to walk the Totem Trail, and 30 minutes to walk the rest of the trails.

All ages are welcome.

Dogs must remain on leash.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

The Totem Trail starts at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center at 106 Metlakatla Street.

If you have a car: Parking is available in the visitor center's upper and lower parking lot.

If you do not have a car: The visitor center is located just off of Lincoln Street, the main street in downtown Sitka. It is a 15 to 25 minute walk from all major hotels in Sitka, as well as from the main docks where cruise ship passengers disembark. City buses also stop at the visitor center's upper parking lot every hour.

The park trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Accessibility Information

Handicap parking is availble in the visitor center parking lot. The trails are covered in packed gravel and most are of a gentle grade and handicap accessible. Audio description options are available upon request in the visitor center.

Last updated: April 17, 2018