This truly special town in southeast Alaska is one of the most unique in the last frontier. With strong cultural influences found in the local museums as well as all throughout the island, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re getting the ‘real’ Alaskan experience when you visit here. Couple that historic charm with the unmatched beauty of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and waters – and you have a destination that belongs at the very top of your bucket list.
Located in southeast Alaska is the historic town of Wrangell, said to be the third oldest town in the entire state.
With a population of less that 2,500 year-round residents, Wrangell is a small community where everyone sort of knows everyone. It's very tight knit and locals have a way of looking out for each other at all times, which makes it a very special place to be.
The native Tlingit people heavily reside in and around the Wrangell and are even said to have settled in the area centuries before the Europeans did. The story is that the Tlingit people migrated down the Stikine River during a time when the river still flowed underneath glaciers, making the trek incredibly challenging and unpredictable.
During the 19th century, Wrangell was founded by Russians as one of the oldest non-Native settlements in Alaska. Back then, fur trading was one of the largest industries. Fishing in the nearby Stikine River and in the Zimovia Strait was another very popular resource for providing food and income to residents in Wrangell.
Visiting the Chief Shakes Tribal House, Totem Park or the Wrangell Museum are all great places to fully submerge yourself into the historic and cultural charm that Wrangell is so proud of. Abundant native cultural influences can be found all throughout Wrangell, which is part of what makes it such a special destination. If you are searching for a 'real Alaskan experience' you will definitely find it in this magnificent place.
So how do you get to Wrangell? Well, you have a couple options: hop on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system or you'll need to get to Wrangell via airplane. If you've never been on a small plane, you'll enjoy this as your first time as the incoming viewing are utterly breathtaking.
What you'll notice first about this unique area is the undeniable beauty. Surrounded by mountains, water and glaciers - the panoramic views are sure to blow you away. Once you walk around in town you'll notice that it is a quaint oasis by the sea and truly a fishing town at heart.
In fact, the 'fishing town' influence can be found all throughout the town. As you'll see in this quaint and cozy house pictured above, the owners used fishing buoys to decorate the porch and to add a touch of privacy. Perfectly suited for a town like Wrangell.
On the saltwater many visitors enjoy fishing the protected waters of the Inside Passage. Reel in halibut, salmon and much more. Or get off the boat and enjoy hunting and berry harvesting opportunities on a nearby island or bay. Fishing on the Stikine River is another very popular activity in this island paradise. Kayaking in these areas in another great way to see things that are off the beaten path.
The marine wildlife viewing from the boat or even right in Wrangell from the docks is pretty incredible. Harbor seals, whales and eagles are just a few of the animals that you're likely to see.
For spectacular world-class wildlife viewing, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is actually the only place where you can see Brown and Black Bears fish for salmon right next to each other. It's a phenomenal experience that everyone needs to have at least once in their lifetime.
Surrounded by the lush rainforest beauty of the Tongass National Forest, Wrangell is truly an outdoor lover's dream.
Over 100 miles of trails can be found on the island making it a perfect places for RV'ers, hikers, mountain bikers and campers. The scenic pullouts on Wrangell are equally as enchanting as every step of road or trail that you choose to venture down.
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