Haines, Alaska, and its surrounding mountains, rivers, and ocean is perhaps the prettiest towns I have traveled to. The panorama video above is an attempt to show the scope of what that beauty entails.
The picturesque coastal fishing community in southeast Alaska is located on the Lynn Canal between the towns of Skagway and Juneau. Haines is one of the few towns in southeast Alaska that is connected with the North American highway system. The Haines Highway (Alaska Route 7 or AK-7) travels through British Columbia and the Yukon (Yukon Highway 3) to connect with the Alaska Highway in Haines Junction, Yukon.
Haines is also an Alaska Marine Highway System stop, with ferries arriving from Skagway and Juneau. The ferry travels on the Lynn Canal, North America’s longest and deepest fjord.
Wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant. The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve on the Chilkat River, near the confluence with the Tsirku River near Klukwan, is famous for the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles. At its peak in November, the American Bald Eagle Foundation sponsors the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.
Moose and both black and grizzly bears are inhabitants. Grizzly bears, in particular, are seen on the Chilkoot River banks at the Chilkoot Lake State Recreational Site.
Additional outdoor activities include fishing (Chilkoot Lake, Chilkoot River, Chilkoot Inlet, Lutak Inlet and Mosquito Lake), hiking (Mt. Ripinski, Mt. Riley, and in the Takshanuk and Takhinsha Mountains), camping at Chilkat State Park and Chilkoot Lake State Recreational Site, kiteboarding in Chilkat Inlet, and in the winter, heli-skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snow-machining.
One of the prominent features of Haines is Fort William H. Seward. Built in 1904, Ft. Seward was the first permanent United States Army post in Alaska. Today the fort is no longer owned by the military.
The fort is located near the cruise ship dock. Cruise ships travel the Lynn Canal, a part of the Inside Passage, for its beauty — magnificent mountains and glaciers and marine wildlife such as whales, sea lions, and seals. From Juneau to Haines, cruise ships and ferries pass lighthouses at Eldred Rock and Sentinel Island and stunning views of Davidson Glacier and Rainbow Glacier.
Tourism, fishing, and mining are the main economic contributors to the local economy.
The area is rich in Tlingit culture. A great place to learn about the Tlingit Culture is at the Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage Center in the Tlingit village of Klukwan, located on the Chilkat River 22 miles northwest of Haines.