Hiking

Sitka offers superb hiking in the beautiful and tangled forest surrounding the city. A complete hiking guide is available from the USFS Sitka Ranger District office.

Scared of bears, or lacking a walking companion? Sitka Trail Works (www.sitkatrailworks.org), a nonprofit group that raises money for trail improvements, has additional trail information on its website and arranges guided hikes on weekends throughout the summer.

Paddling

The mini-archipelago of tiny islets that crowd Sitka's harbor, coupled with the fact that big ferries and cruise ships dock several miles to the north, make the town's waters ideal for safe kayaking. Just be sure to keep an eye out for motorized fishing and pleasure boats entering and exiting the harbor.

Sitka also serves as the departure point for more adventurous blue-water trips along the protected shorelines of Sitka Sound, Baranof and Chichagof Islands, some of which require water-taxi transfers.

Whale-Watching

Many companies in Sitka offer boat tours to view whales and other marine wildlife, and most of them swing past St Lazaria Island National Wildlife Refuge, home to 1500 pairs of breeding tufted puffins.

You can often spot whales from shore at Whale Park. The town also has a whale festival in November.