Are you going to Alaska? It’s a huge state full of things to see and do. One of the many attractions is Icy Strait Point – a privately owned tourist destination near the village of Hoonah. If you’re planning to explore the state by cruise ship, there’s a good chance you’ll head to Icy Strait Point — about 30 miles west of Juneau.
Icy Strait Point is arguably one of the most important places not to miss when exploring Juneau. Icy Strait Point is owned by the Huna Totem Corporation, which is also owned by approximately 1,350 Alaskan Native peoples of the area (many of whom are Tlingit).
Ice Strait Point – A Native American owned cruise port
Located on Chichagof Island, Icy Strait Point is Alaska’s only private cruise destination. It’s down in the Alaskan Panhandle in the Inside Passage. Located at the base of White Alice Mountain, it is a place to enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery Alaska has to offer.
- Possession: Mostly Alaskan Natives
- Open: 2004
- hoonah: The largest Tlingit village in the state
As early as 1912, the Honnah Packing Co. built a large salmon canning factory north of the city of Hoonah. In the 1950s the facility fell into disrepair and stood idle for decades. Then the local Alaska Native corporation, Huna Totem Corp., bought the facility and converted it into a private cruise port.
The cruise ship port is centered around the restored salmon cannery. Passengers can tour a museum, craft shops, restaurants, a mid-1930s cannery, and various local arts.
There are several restaurants to choose from offering a variety of freshly caught seafood. Enjoy the stunning waterfront views while savoring a great seafood meal.
Activities at Icy Strait Point
One of the most exciting attractions is the largest and highest zip line in the world. The zipline is approximately 5,330 feet long and drops an exciting 1,300 feet. On the hair-raising ride, visitors enjoy views of the Alaskan mountains and sea.
- Zipper lining
- gondola up
- eco tours
Other activities include a gondola ride to the top of the mountain or just leisurely hikes on your own.
- Season for charter fishing: Summer
The Hoonah area is also a great spot for charter fishing in its Icy Strait. Fish abound in the rich waters of Alaska, fish include five species of salmon – chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink.
Surrounding Hoonah is the Tongass National Forest – America’s largest national forest. It’s perfect for hiking, camping, or exploring by seaplane or kayak.
Cruise ship excursions from Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point caters to cruise ships so naturally offers plenty of excursions. These excursions range from bear-watching and whale-watching to Alaskan Native dance performances.
Whale watching from Icy Strait Point
The Whale & Marine Mammals Cruise departs from Icy Strait Point. Here you can see Alaska’s largest summer population of humpback whales. They offer a 100% guarantee of seeing the whales. See how these giants of the ocean are drawn here by the nutrient-rich waters of Alaska.
- Warranty: 100% refund if no whales are sighted
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Biggest: Summer population of humpback whales in Alaska
But it’s more than the whales, there is also a chance to see other marine life such as Orca (killer whales), Steller’s sea lions, seals and porpoises. There are bald eagles in the sky and bears on the beaches.
Combination of whale, wildlife and bear hunt
Why not combine whale watching with a bear hunt? The Whale, Wildlife & Bear Search Combo ventures into the Alaskan wilderness surrounding Chichagof Island and explores the Spasski River Valley in search of native wildlife.
If you want to see brown bears (aka grizzlies), this is the place to be. The Spasski River Valley has one of the highest densities of coastal brown bears anywhere in the world. This portion of the tour takes place on a bus that travels from Hoonah to the Coastal Rainforest. It then has a nature walk and some viewing platforms from which to view the bears in their natural habitat.
- Duration: 5.5 hours
- Age requirements: 8 years old and older
Other wildlife to look out for are Sitka black-tailed deer and bald eagles. Note that unlike whales, bear sightings are not guaranteed. The place with the highest density of brown bears is Admiralty Island.