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 trip 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 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 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.
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.
Reviewer: Bob and Peggy Lang
We had a great time in the Rainforest. Learned a lot about Black and Brown Bears and their differences. Was pouring rain when we were there in August, 2016. Raptor center was a bit disappointing - only an injured bald eagle that could not fly. Totems were interesting.
Reviewer: Rainforest Sanctuary Raptor Center and Totems
Excellent excursion seen Black Bears on trail, Eagles, river otters, salmon, ravens& other wild life. Forest tour was informational The raptor center was equally as good. The birds are big and beautiful.