The best Attractions & Things to Do in Haines, Alaska

The best Attractions & Things to Do in Haines, Alaska

The best Attractions & Things to Do in Haines, Alaska

If one thing distinguishes Haines (pop. 2,500) from other Southeast Alaska ports, it’s the huge number almost 4,000 of bald eagles that descend (literally) in the late fall and early winter.  (The town postmark reads “Valley of the Eagles.”) Even in spring and summer, more than 250 eagles nest in the area. Look for them along beaches and streams where they patrol for their daily ration of seafood, and at the tops of the tallest trees It's easy to pick their distinctive white heads against the deep green foliage of fir and sukran trees.  A good place to spot eagles in town is the tree next to the Sheldon Museum

Sheldon Museum in Haines, Alaska

Haines also has a lot to offer the history buff. It was one of the gold- rush gateways in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The trail the miners took north is now one of the main roads from Southeast Alaska to the Alaska Highway and the interior of the state. And long before the miners passed through, the area was home to the Chilkoot and Chilkat tribes.

Fort William H. Seward

Across from the dock is Fort William H. Seward, which was built 1903-1906 to keep order during the gold rush. It’s now the heart of the town’s historical district. The Chilkat Indian Dancers present traditional dances at a replica of a tribal house on the fort’s parade grounds. (The dancers also perform in the Chilkat Center for the Arts, a cannery building that was moved to the fort in 1919 and converted to a community theater.) At the Alaska Indian Arts Building (formerly the fort hospital), you can watch Native artisans carve totem poles and create silver and bead jewelry.

Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center on Main Street in Haines, Alaska

In town, the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center on Main Street has an extensive collection of Alaskana exhibits of Native artwork, as well as artifacts from gold-rush days. 

Chilkat Bald Eagle in Haines, Alaska

Summer visitors won’t see the throngs of eagles that are present during the fall, but many eagles nest in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve you stand a good chance of seeing a few there.  The reserve is located along a 5-mile/8 km stretch of the Chilcat River about 18 miles /29 km northwest of Heinz. Visitors may view the birds only from paved walkways and boardwalks along Haines Highway.