Sitka National Historical Park

sights / Historic

Sitka National Historical Park information

Sitka , USA
Street Lincoln St
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adult/child $4/free
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Lincoln St ends at this 113-acre park, Alaska’s smallest national park, at the mouth of Indian River. The park preserves the site where the Tlingits were finally defeated by the Russians in 1804 after defending their wooden fort for a week. The Russians had arrived with four ships to revenge a Tlingit raid on a nearby outpost two years earlier. The Russians’ cannons did little damage to the walls of the Tlingit fort and, when the Russian soldiers stormed the structure with the help of Aleuts, they were repulsed in a bloody battle. It was only when the Tlingits ran out of gunpowder and flint, and slipped away at night, that the Russians were able to enter the deserted fort.

Begin at the park’s visitors center , where Russian and indigenous artifacts are displayed and a 12-minute video in the theater will provide an overview of the battle. Outside is Totem Trail, a mile-long path that leads you past 18 totems first displayed at the 1904 Louisiana Exposition in St Louis and then moved to the newly created park. It is these intriguing totems, standing in a beautiful rainforest setting by the sea and often enveloped in mist, that have become synonymous with the national park and even the city itself. Eventually you arrive at the site of the Tlingit fort near Indian River, where its outline can still be seen. You can either explore the trail as a self-guided tour or join a ranger-led ‘Battle Walk.’