Petersburg is a nature lover’s haven, full of activities for everyone from the tranquil nature observer to the thrill-seeking outdoor adventurer. While many of the most popular tourist activities are best in the summer, there are plenty of options for year-round outdoor fun as well.
Lacing up those hiking boots and taking to the trails is one of the best ways to get to know the Petersburg area. The Tongass National Forest offers over 700 miles of trails. You’ll find everything from quick jaunts around a pristine lake to multi-day backpacking trips along alpine trails. It’s a good idea to read up on your adventure before you go to get familiar with the area’s pests and learn what to pack for the time of year you are going and how to stay safe on the trails.
The Frederick Sound passage is known to be one of the best places to see humpback whales in all of North America. In the summer, Petersburg is a major feeding ground for these whales. Booking a charter or cruise is the best way to get a good view of the whales while learning about their behaviors.
Seeing a glacier up close is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Tours in the Petersburg area take viewers through Leconte Bay fjord to see the LeConte Glacier and take in the beauty of deep-blue icebergs. Some trips will even allow you to hike among some of the icebergs near the shore.
When the tide is right, a patient beachcomber will be rewarded with abundant treasures. Along with the usual beach finds like shells and bits of weathered glass, you might also find Tlingit petroglyphs, pieces from old wooden boats, and remnants of ancient fish traps. While you don’t need any special permits to go beachcombing, you will want to pick up a guide to know when the tide is right. Wear waterproof hiking boots or basic rubber boots and bring (or find) a walking stick for your journey. Make sure to pack insect repellent too.
Petersburg offers incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing. Over 240 bird species have been spotted in the area, including frequent eagle sightings. Birding excursions allow visitors to learn about all the many species of birds and how to spot them, or you can simply pick up a guidebook and find a quiet spot to observe on your own.