Totem Trail and Russian Memorial Loop-
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.