Discover Sitka's fascinating history and natural beauty on foot during this scenic walking tour of the city, and a nature walk at the Sitka National Historical Park.
Depart the pier for the scenic guided walk to Castle Hill, site of the 1867 land-transfer ceremony when Alaska was purchased from Russia. You will then pass through Totem Square, formerly the Russian parade grounds, and the barracks area. You will then see the Prospector statue at the pioneer home grounds and the Russian blockhouse in the Old Russian Cemetery.
Next, you will walk along the harbor's shoreline to visit St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Russian Bishop's House. However, a visit inside the Bishop's House is not included in the walk. Along the way, you will see many Victorian-style homes and ornate churches before passing Sheldon Jackson College, home to James Michener during the writing of his book, Alaska.
Afterward, you will proceed for a visit to Sitka National Historical Park, where walking trails lined with authentic totem poles will guide you through the lush Tongass National Forest. As you cross the bridge at Indian River where salmon spawn in the late-summer, you will learn about the rain forest ecosystem, and local plant and animal life. At the Raptor Center, you will encounter the swamp-like muskeg soil and alpine meadow where most of Alaska's bird, plant and wild berries thrive.
You will then explore and photograph the Raptor Center's open bird habitat and new Eagle Flight Center, home to bald eagles, owls, hawks and other birds of prey. During your visit, the staff will explain the Raptor Center's mission and answer questions.
Your tour will conclude with a transfer back to the pier. If you wish to explore more of Sitka, you will be dropped in the center of the historic downtown area at St. Michael's Cathedral, located just two blocks from the ship.
Please note: The tour involves 3 miles of walking over uneven ground, trails and stairways at a steady pace. Guests are advised to dress warmly in layers, and wear sturdy closed-toe walking shoes. An admission ticket will be provided to visit St. Michael's Cathedral on your own after the tour. The order of sites visited may be reversed.