A delightful eight-mile coastal drive takes you to the exclusive Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, a private reserve located in the forested mountains at rustic Herring Cove. This pristine natural environment is home to bald eagles, black bears, seals, a variety of birds, and other species attracted by the major salmon runs in the abundant marine estuary. In addition to wildlife viewing opportunities, this Ketchikan cruise excursion enables you to visit the Alaska Raptor Center and observe a master native totem pole carver at work.
You will be greeted by your naturalist and guided along an improved trail through the heart of the dense forest, amongst tall stands of hemlock, spruce and Alaskan cedar. The forest floor is covered with mosses, wild flowers and a variety of berries. Stops will be made throughout this Ketchikan tour at strategically located viewing areas. Your guide will lead you to a protected open estuary, where you follow Eagle Creek along an elevated wooden boardwalk overlooking grassy wetlands. Major runs of salmon return to spawn here. Watch and listen to the symphony of bird activity in this spectacular setting. The walk lasts for approximately 60 minutes and covers almost one mile with stops.
During the spawning season (usually late July to early September) bears and seals feed on salmon in Eagle Creek and the likelihood of viewing these fascinating animals is good. Bald eagles and other birds wait for scraps in the estuary. Sitka black tail deer, minks, marten and wolves also frequent the area. Seasonal ecosystem changes result in varying levels of wildlife activity.
At the conclusion of the Ketchikan trail hike, you will be guided through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company Sawmill. Here you will also observe a master native totem carver at work. Finally, visit the Alaska Raptor Center's Ketchikan exhibit where a raptor specialist will explain the heritage and habitat of America's national symbol. Explore the interpretive displays and enjoy complimentary refreshments while browsing in the General Store.
This is a good walking tour. It is an easy pace in the forest for the most part. We did emerge into a field to cross a bridge over water. From the bridge we saw three black bear on the other end of the field. Our guide, Riley, was exceptional. Her details on everything we saw were complete and she encouraged questions.
Reviewer: AnnMarie Pursel
Loved this tour. The path through the forest is easy to walk and the guide shares a lot of interesting info on the plants and animals. We saw several wild eagles in the forest. Loved the Raptor Center got to get very close to a rehabilitating eagle. Got lots of great pictures.
Reviewer: Donna Morris
Our guide, Clint, was the best!! He was extremely knowledgeable about the temperate rain forest we were visiting which really helped make the hike interesting. He was entertaining and had a great sense of humor too. It seemed that he was really making every effort to ensure that we had a great time. The forest was spectacular and we even saw bear tracks and a huge slug, as well as spawning salmon. All in all a great excursion!!
Reviewer: Carl Spurgeon
The young lady that eaccompanied us on this excursion was fantastic. She was very knowledgable, had a fantastic sense of humor and answer all questions thoroughly. This excursion introduced us to everything from fauna to black bears eating salmon to bear skat on the trail. Loved the entire experience.
Reviewer: Kathy Ray
No one seemed to know where our tour driver was. All of us were wondering around and waiting in the area the tickets said to be in. Finally, about five minutes before we were supposed to be on the tour, someone showed up. The description of this tour said nothing about a tour of the rainforest and that was the best part of the entire thing. The sanctuary was kind of a bust. The rainforest was incredible though.