Welcome to the Sitka cruise port guide. Sitka is a popular port for cruise ships. Sitka sits in the Alexander Archipelago on the Baranof Island. It is situated in a bay which makes for quite convenient temperatures. Most ships are at anchor when visiting Sitka and as soon as you go to the outside deck you already get mesmerised by all the beautiful scenery around you. They say Sitka is the most historic town of Alaska. Inhabited for thousands of years by the native Tlingits, the spot of major battle between Europeans and Native Americans, former capital of Alaska for 40 years and 19th century Russian occupation. These a just a few chapters in the history of Sitka. The city has about 14 miles of road and as soon as you have reached the city borders the vast wilderness starts. Islands, inlets, coves, mountains and rainforest are all around you and are home to Alaskas most well known inhabitants: humpback wales, sea otter, brown bear, black bear and bald eagles. Sitka’s scenery might be one of the most unusual with Mount Edgecumbe, a 3200 foot dormant volcano, dominating the skyline.
Cruise Port Guide Sitka – Alaska – USA: at anchor or docked
In Sitka you will find 1 cruise dock out of town suitable for docking and 2 spots in town where ships can tender to. Most of the time cruise ships will tender instead of dock. Check with the front office on board what the plan is for your ship. Both tender platforms are right in the downtown area of Sitka. Find both tender locations on the map above. If your cruise ship docks it will dock about 5 mile from town and a shuttle bus will be provided to get you to the city centre. Downtown Sitka is easy to explore by foot, but you can also opt for several other transportation options. See the options underneath:
Sitka shuttle bus service
For the price of $10 per person you can buy a day pass on the local Transit Bus that functions as a visitors shuttle. Use the bus to get around town and to the following attractions: Totem Park, Alaska Raptor Center, Sheldon Jackson Museum, St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, Russian Bishop’s House, Tlingit Clan House, SSSC Aquarium and Hatchery.
Why not rent a bicycle for a day and ride one of the many routes around Sitka. Choose for any kind of easy, smooth or rugged terrain. Find the bicycle rental spot on the map above.
There are lots of hiking trails that start in the heart of town. Two we could suggest to you are: Gavan Hill Trail: 3,5 mile, 2000 ft elevation Indian River Trail. 4,1 mile, 500 ft elevation. Always visit the tourist information before starting the hike. Check if there is any news you need to be aware about and pick up a hiking map.
There are a lot of things that you can do independently while in Sitka. There are also some activities where we could recommend to take an organised shore excursion. There are lots of companies that offer kayak tours, fly fishing experience or ATV tours for example. It all depend on how you would like to spend your day.
Distance from the tender pier
Downtown; less than 0,2 mile from the pier
Sheldon Jackson Museum; 0,6 mile east of the pier
Sitka Sound Science Centre; 0,6 mile east of the pier
Sitka National Historical Park; 1 mile east of the pier
Raptor Centre; 1,5 mile east of the pier
The Fortress of the Bear; 6 miles east of the pier
The following Sitka attractions are wheelchair accessible:
St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Russian Bishops House, Sitka Sounds Scinece Centre, Sitka Fine Arts Campus, Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, Pioneer home ,Castle Hill, Sitka Lutheran Church, Alaska Raptor Centre, New Archangel Dancers, Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Dancers, Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka Historical Society and Museum Sitka National Historical Park, Fortress of the Bear
Free sites to visit:
Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Fine Arts Campus, St. Peter’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, Sitka Lutheran Church, Castle Hill, Pioneer Home, Totem square, Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, Russian Blockhouse, Russian Cemetery.
Also visit our other cruise port guides for:
The fortress is a refuge for orphaned brown bears cubs. Have to opportunity to see the bears from a covered area. The fortress is about 6 miles from downtown. Reach the Fortress of the Bear through shuttle, excursion or taxi.
This building from 1842 has served as the seat of the Russian Orthodoz Dioces. Visit the house and see the Russian furniture in all its glory. Find this building in downtown Sitka.
The eye catcher of downtown Sitka is the Russian Cathedral. Inside you will find furniture, religious object and art that look like has been untouched for centuries.
In town you will find Castle Hill. It was the site of the ceremonial transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States in 1867.
In Alaska you can find all five species of Alaska’s Pacific Salmon. They are King, Sockeye, Coho, Pink and Chum. Every year from August to October you will find the salmon find the very stream they were born to spawn and die. It is a phenomenal event that you cannot miss if your cruise is arriving in August or September.
When shopping in Haines make sure to buy the products with this logo. This indicated the products has actually been made in Alaska.
This centre helps to rehabilitate injured raptors and to release them into the wild. There are all kind of birds here like the great-horned owls, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and of course the bald eagle. Enjoy a presentation on the birds and their work at the centre and stroll the outside gardens and inside cages to get a close encounter with one of the birds.