Tongass National Forest

Quick Facts

Tongass National Forest

Alaska

(907) 228-6202

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

You can camp in a campground - or in a cabin. You can hike through dense forest, alpine meadow, or on a wooden trail through marshland called muskeg. You can explore world-class caves. You can enjoy salt water fjords and unending waterways by canoe or kayak, your own motor or sail boat, charter boat, ferry, or cruise ship. You can watch bears, eagles, whales, and countless other critters in their natural settings. You can visit glaciers by land or sea. And of course, you can fish - fresh or salt water, everything from herring to trout to salmon to halibut. In other words, there is much to offer at the Tongass National Forest. Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and creeds will find something interesting to do here in this forest islands and trees and rain. The Tongass also abounds in animals and birds and fish, with unsurpassed scenery and hardy people. It's a place where eagles are commonplace, most roads are deer crossings, and bears use the trails, too. The Tongass is a wild place, where the natural world is a strong presence that nurtures spiritually and materially and demands respect.

Map of Tongass Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 58.378241, -134.732125

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Activities

  • Boating

    Weather can change rapidly. Tides fluctuate widely. Bears abound. You can be far from supplies or help. All these make boating rewarding and potentially dangerous.

    Boating "Rules of the Road" are important anywhere. Conditions in some high-traffic areas, such as the Stikine and Situk Rivers, have prompted frequent users to develop etiquette guidelines for the safety and boating pleasure of all.

    The inland waterways offer protection from the sea swell and unsurpassed beauty of the surrounding land forms. Tides, currents, and weather can offer challenges to meet anyone's desire and skill level. A number of opportunities have been mapped for those who want to see the Tongass from sea level.

  • Camping

    Some of the most popular recreation facilities are the public recreation cabins. Reservations are required.

    Whether you prefer camping with your car, backcountry trekking, or driving a recreational vehicle (RV), you can use and enjoy campgrounds in the Tongass National Forest.

  • Caving

    One of the most fascinating aspects of Prince of Wales Island is its vast underground world of caves. Over thousands of years, they form in as a part of delicately balanced karst ecosystem. Karst geomorphology, areas of soluble carbonate bedrock such as limestone, can be found in many places on Prince of Wales Island and elsewhere on the Tongass. Karst landscapes are often riddled with hidden sinkholes and deep, wet pits and caves.

  • Fishing

    The Tongass National Forest provides some the the best cold water fishing in the world. Most of the forest is part of the Alexander Island Archipeligo, a collection of thousands of islands, from house size, to almost 2 million acres. They have great fishing for salmon and trout in freshwater and in salt. They also have outstanding ocean fishing for halibut and rockfish. Come see "Southeast" and give these waters a try. Fishing the lakes and streams of the Tongass National Forest is popular. Cutthroat trout grow to trophy size in some of the larger lakes. Salmon and steelhead trout, returning to the rivers, attract both humans and bears eager to face the challenge of catching a fresh meal. Some of these fisheries are catch-and-release - at least for the human participants. Know before you go. Even more popular - to residents and visitors alike - is fishing in salt water for halibut, shrimp, crab, and coho, king, and pink salmon (not to mention the ever-popular bullhead). All depend on a healthy habitat for their continued health and abundance. The salmon are born, spend their early lives, and return to spawn in the rivers, streams, and lakes of the Tongass. The Forest Service manages these waterways and the land around them to assure their continuing health. Sport fishing is regulated by the State of Alaska. Be sure to check the regulations before you head out to try your hand at landing any of the water's bounty. Once you're out there, you'll also want to know what that is you just brought up.

  • Hiking

    Hiking trails throughout the Tongass provide access to special places. Many of these are not your average trail. Muskegs are a fragile - and wet - environment, calling for special trail-building techniques. Many trails are planks raised over the wet ground to protect both the environment and hikers' feet. However, the raised planks may not be enough to keep your feet dry, so check with district offices for the appropriate foot gear before you go.

    For current trail conditions, check with the local Forest Service office.

  • Hunting

    Follow Alaska hunting guidelines.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is available throughout the park.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter recreation in the Tongass includes ice skating on lakes, ponds, and sloughs. The ice surfaces are not groomed by the Forest Service, so skating is best and most popular during periods of cold, clear weather - usually in January. Snow sports are influenced by nearby topography. Cross-country skiing is popular in areas of flat or gently-rolling ground. Snowmobiles are also popular, and in many places agreements have been reached between skiers and snowmobilers giving each separate areas to enjoy their pastimes without hampering the other. In steeper country, downhill skiing is popular. There are no commercial ski areas within the Tongass; Eagle Crest, Southeast Alaska's lone ski "resort" is on private land near Juneau. The lack of facilities and lifts doesn't stop skiers from getting to the top of likely slopes and enjoying the trip back down. Snowboarding is another sport that's finding a place for itself on the slopes of the Tongass.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round.

Directions

Driving

Located in southeast Alaska.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(907) 228-6202

Links