Take a self guided walking tour of Sitka. Some of the areas include Castle Hill where the Russians governed Alaska, the Sheet’ka Tribal Community House at Totem Square, the Russian cemetery at the top of Observatory St, St Michaels Russian Orthodox Cathedral, the Sheldon Jackson Museum and the Russian Bishop’s House built in 1842. The Alaska Raptor Center is great place to see bald eagles that are injured and being rehabilitated.
Walk from the harbor to the site of the 1804 battle between the Tlingit and the Russians. The battle site is now protected as part of Sitka National Historical Park. Nothing but a clearing remains as evidence of the fort. A Tlingit totem pole stands along the waterfront.
For salmon fishing and whale watching, take a tour in the Alexander Archipelago. Try a Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour.
Visit Sitka – Hotels
Alaskas Big Salmon Lodge
Longliner Lodge and Suites
Cascade Creek Inn & Charters
Mount Edgecombe Extinct Volcano
The Gulf of Alaska makes Sitka weather cool in summer, while temperatures are around freezing in winter. July and August have the warmest Sitka weather. Expect average summer highs of 60 F (16 C) and average lows of 52 F (11 C). June is the driest month of the year, but it is often overcast and drizzly. Rainfall is highest in October when up to 12 inches falls during the month. From November to March, average highs are about 42 F (6 C) and average lows hover around the freezing mark. December to March can see snowfalls of a fee inches. June is likely the best month to visit Sitka, but expect to get cold and wet.
Get to Sitka
You can’t easily get to Sitka, because it is very isolated. The town is located on an island facing the Pacific Ocean in the Alexander Archipelago of the Southeastern Alaska Panhandle. A cruise ship is a great way to get to Sitka, but Sitka is not one of the regular Alaska cruise stops. Passengers must tender ashore, because cruise ships can’t dock at the harbor. Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT) connects Sitka with Juneau and Ketchikan. Sitka is also served by the Alaska Marine Highway System (ferry system), however it is not on the main route and has less frequent service.
Visit Sitka – Background
About 10,000 people live in Sitka. The Kiksadi clan of the Tlingit tribe first lived here at a village they called Noow Tlein. In 1799 Russian governor Alexander Baranov built a fort six miles south of town. The Tlingit burned it to the ground in 1802 and drove out the Russians. In 1804 Baranov returned with several hundred men to retake the town. After six days of battle, the Tlingit snuck away in the night and the Russians took over. The Russians then built the fort at Castle Hill. By 1867 the fur seals had been depleted and the Russians sold Alaska to the United States. Sitka was the capital of Alaska until Juneau took over in 1912.