TRIP IDEA

A Day of History and Culture

Russian Bishop\'s House with a Park Ranger giving talk to visitors
Duration Full Day
Topic(s) Animals, Birds, Coasts, Islands and Atolls, Forests and Woodlands, Rainforest, Native American Heritage, Natural Sounds, River and Riparian, Scenic Views, Arts, Architecture and Building, Religion and Spirituality
Activities Hiking, Museum Exhibits
Type Kid Friendly, Active, Relaxed, Urban, Educational, Inspirational
Parks Sitka National Historical Park

Park Ranger giving a tour on the Totem Trail to visitors
Park Ranger provide guided Totem Walks along the Totem Trail.

NPS Photo

Sitka is a remote park, located on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. Most visitors are here for the day, arriving by cruise ship. This trip is designed to fit within the time constraints of that visit. Other options for exploration are available if you have more time to spend at the park.

Your Itinerary

Most visitors start their visit at Centennial Hall, in downtown Sitka. From this location, the best way to start you visit is to travel the ½ mile to the visitor center. There you can receive orientation, and enjoy the exhibits.

The next thing to do would be to explore the trails that begin at the visitor center. Rain jackets are always recommended for this portion of your trip.

After hiking in the rainforest, a visit to the Russian Bishop’s house is a great way to end your visit. Take a step back in time to the 1840’s, while you learn about Russian American culture and history.

Lodging
There is no official park hotel or any lodging run by Sitka National Historical Park. You’ll want to look for lodging outside the park.

Getting Here
You can reach Sitka by plane or boat (e.g. cruise ship, or Alaska Marine Highway).

  • Plane: Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez airport has daily jet service year round through Alaska Airlines, and seasonally with Delta Airlines. Direct flights to Sitka are available via Anchorage, Juneau and Seattle.

Boat: Numerous large cruise lines offer trips to Sitka and other ports of call throughout Southeast Alaska. Smaller cruise lines and specialty tours are also available for those seeking a smaller, more personalized experience. The Alaska Marine Highway is a good option for independent travelers wishing to ‘custom create’ their own trip throughout the Inside Passage.

Activities at the Park
  • Sitka National Historical Park

    Explore Sitka's Outdoor Trails

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Sitka National Historical Park Totem Trail
    • Duration: 1 Hour
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    A man and woman walk along a forest trail near a tall totem pole.

    Thirteen totem poles stand amid western hemlock and Sitka spruce along the mile and a half long Totem Trail.

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  • Sitka National Historical Park

    Explore the Sitka NHP Visitor Center

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Museum Exhibits
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center
    • Duration: 2 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Park visitor center overlooking calm water with tall trees in the background.

    Sitka National Historical Park is the oldest National Park in Alaska, being first set aside as a public park by President Benjamin Harrison in 1890. Exhibits in the visitor center let you learn more about Tlingit culture and way of life. Demonstrating artists work in the Cultural Center studios each day, working on traditional crafts like wood carving, metal engraving, beading, sewing and regalia work.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Museum Exhibits
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Russian Bishop's House
    • Duration: 1 Hour
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Two-story historic building with yellow walls and red metal roof.

    The Russian Bishop's House is one of only four surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. Built in 1843, it served as the residence of Orthodox bishops and clergy for over 120 years. Today, it houses a museum on Russian-American history, and the restored residence of the first bishop to live in the house, Bishop Innocent.

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Last updated: May 7, 2017