Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park

History of Sitka

A Rich Natural & Cultural History

Southeast Alaska totem poles and a temperate rain forest setting combine to provide spectacular scenery along Sitka National Historical Park's coastal trail. The trail circles back along Indian River to the visitor center. This coastal trail at Sitka offers a classic collection of Northwest Coast totem poles—brought to the park by Alaska's District Governor John G. Brady in 1905. These histories carved in cedar were rounded up from villages throughout southeastern Alaska. Though none of the originals came from Sitka, this art form is very much a part of Tlingit tradition. Many poles exhibited along the park's two miles of wooded pathways are copies of deteriorating originals now in storage. Another loop trail continues across the Indian River footbridge past the Memorial to the Russian Midshipmen who died in the Battle of Sitka.

The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of three surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished Bishop's living quarters and lavish icons in the Chapel of the Annunciation.