Best of Haines

Discover the captivating history of the Tlingit People, experience eagles and wildlife while rafting on the Chilkat River, and visit the American Bald Eagle Foundation on this 8.5 hour tour to Haines.

Tour Photos

  • Rafting on the Chilkat River and through the Bald Eagle Preserve Rafting on the Chilkat River and through the Bald Eagle Preserve
  • Drumming and dance at the Tlingit village of Klukwan Drumming and dance at the Tlingit village of Klukwan
  • Bald eagles are often spotted in abundance on the river Bald eagles are often spotted in abundance on the river
  • Knowledgeable guides share their love of the river Knowledgeable guides share their love of the river
     

Tour Notes

Port: Skagway
Duration: 8.5 Hours
Activity Level: Easy.
Modes of Travel: Fast Ferry, bus, raft, light walking.
Min. Age: 7 years
Min. Weight: None Max. Weight: 350 lbs.
Food: Picnic style lunch included
Provided Equipment: Life jackets, rubber boots and ponchos
Recommended clothing: Dress in layers for warmth
Wheelchair access: No
Medical Restrictions: Guests need to be able to get on and off the bus and able to walk over loose gravel and dry river delta to board the rafts
Liability Waiver Required

Tour Description

Experience the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve by raft, the native Tlingit village of Klukwan and its cultural treasures and the Raptor Center of the American Bald Eagle Foundation for a live raptor presentation. This extended tour highlights the wildlife rich Chilkat Valley while celebrating its cultural heritage.

Your tour begins as you board a high-speed catamaran for a scenic 45-minute cruise to Haines down North America’s longest and deepest fjord. Along the way, you’ll witness spectacular views of waterfalls and ice-sculpted peaks as your guide helps you search for marine wildlife. Upon arrival in Haines, you’ll meet your guide and board our bus.

Our first stop is a short drive to the American Bald Eagle Foundation, an interpretive wildlife education center -- to watch a live program with this beautiful bird that is the symbol of America and learn more of the other native wildlife. Following the live raptor presentation and time to view the numerous interpretive displays throughout the facility, we will re-board the motor coach for the native village of Klukwan.

After a 40-minute scenic drive through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and along the banks of the Chilkat River, you will arrive in Klukwan, the only remaining village of the Chilkat Tlingit people. Located at the confluence of three rivers, this ancient village has seen a multitude of generations. For thousands of years, the Tlingits have lived off the bounty of this special place. Their close relationship to the land is further revealed through the exhibits in the Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Heritage & Bald Eagle Preserve Visitor Center. We will enjoy a river-side picnic upon our arrival before our visit to the Heritage Center. This state-of-the-art, museum-quality center is situated in a stunningly beautiful natural landscape on the northern banks of the Chilkat River. The Heritage Center provides access to ancient art treasures that have previously not been available to the public. The Whale House Collection, uniquely displayed in its place of origin, allows entrance to the Chilkat Tlingit people’s distinctive ethnic landscape. As you tour this world class facility, you will learn about the depth and complexity of Tlingit society. There will be many amazing experiences during your visit to Klukwan and one of the best things, visitors say, is the people.

Following the tour of the village, you’ll take a short stroll to the river bank where you will be provided with rubber boots and a life jacket. Your friendly and knowledgeable guide will lead a safety briefing on the proper use of your raft. We will board 18-foot inflatable rafts and enjoy a peaceful float (no whitewater) down this ever-changing river.

(~75 minutes) - Your friendly dock representative will meet you near the Skagway Small Boat harbor sign and restrooms. We will provide answers to any questions that you might have about your upcoming excursion and get you ready to board the ferry to Haines. We’ll help you board the comfortable ferry for the 45-minute narrated, scenic journey to Haines.
(~ 10 minutes) - Upon arrival in Haines, restrooms will be available and you’ll meet your guide and driver to drive to our first stop of the day, American Bold Eagle Foundation.
(~ 45 minutes) - Visit the American Bold Eagle Foundation to watch a live program with this beautiful bird that is the symbol of America and learn more of the other native wildlife.
(~ 45 minutes) - Depart via the Haines Scenic Byway through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to the native village of Klukwan.
(~90 minutes) - Upon arriving at Klukwan you will meet your local guides who will lead you through the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center to view the Whale House Collection and other exhibits. Your guide will educate you about the native Tlingit culture through storytelling and interpretation of the native artifacts.
(~40 minutes) - When our time at the Heritage Center wraps up, your guide will walk you through the Traditional Knowledge Camp. Here you’ll see the traditional adze carving shed, a salmon drying smokehouse. Your visit to the Traditional Knowledge Camp culminates at the hand-crafted plank-style clan house for traditional storytelling and drumming. After your time in the clan house we will head up to hospitality house overlooking the Chilkat River for a picnic style lunch and some free time to use the spotting scopes and visit the native craft gift shop.
(~15 minutes) - When you arrive at the put-in you’ll meet up the remainder of your guide team and swap out your shoes for rubber river boots. Your guides will provide you with a thorough safety briefing and you’ll don a PFD before boarding our stable 18’ rubber rafts for the float down the river.
(~90 minutes) -You’ll spend the next 90 minutes quietly exploring the scenic Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve by raft.
(~30 minutes) - Upon arrival at our river take-out you’ll be treated to a picnic style lunch with lemonade, hot cocoa and tea.
(~110 minutes) - Your excursion comes to an end with a leisurely ride back through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to the small town of Haines and your return trip by ferry to Skagway.
Where will I meet my guide?
Your guide will meet you 15 minutes prior to the tour start time to make sure all necessary paperwork is completed. If you are arriving by cruise ship, your guide will meet you at the end of the pier that your ship docks at. Otherwise the meeting location is the Small Boat Harbor sign. CLICK HERE to see a map detailing these locations in Skagway. Your guide will be holding a sign that says "Skagway and Haines Excursions".
Who are my guides?
One of our professional naturalist guides will host the tour and narrate the drive from the port in Haines to the village of Klukwan. Once in Klukwan, local villagers with expert personal knowledge of their native culture will share their history and traditions with you.
Is there a bathroom?
Yes – restrooms are available on the dock prior to departing for your tour, on the ferry during your travel to Haines and on-site at Klukwan.
Do you cancel due to weather?
Our tours embrace Southeast Alaska’s unpredictable weather. Our tours run rain or shine. If in a rare instance weather does cause us to cancel the tour you will be refunded in full and provided with assistance with finding an alternative activity for the day.
What if I have a food allergy?
Just let us know when you are making your reservation. We have alternative lunch options to accommodate most dietary restrictions with advanced notice at no additional charge

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*Price is per adult in USD, taxes not included.