Juneau To Juneau

8 Days

7 Nights

Admiralty Island (Fortress of the Bears)

You could easily spend a week or more exploring the fjords, inlets, islands and waterways of Frederick Sound, Stephens Passage and southern Chatham Strait. Scenic and pristine, with abundant wildlife both in the water and on land, we try to maximize our time here on all Alaska inside passage cruises.  Of all the routes this one offers the greatest flexibility. Halfway through the trip, near the southern tip of Admiralty Island, we will decide whether to continue north and circumnavigate Admiralty (more cruising hours) or to spend the extra time with wildlife in Frederick Sound and explore other inlets and islands there.

Tour Map

Sample Itinerary

A world of natural beauty unfolds as we leave civilization behind and cruise south in Stephens Passage. The atmosphere onboard is one of excitement and anticipation. Our destination for the evening is a small cove nestled beneath a hanging glacier at the edge of the Tracy Arm Fords Terror Wilderness. Icebergs often float into this bay and there is time to kayak or beachcomb before guests join the Captain in Discovery’s dining salon for a delicious 3 course evening meal.

Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and take a stroll on deck before breakfast. Today we will cruise the length of spectacular Tracy Arm Fjord. Nature is still raw here and you will be awed by the scale and grandeur of Alaska’s rugged beauty as we cruise beneath sheer granite walls with cascading waterfalls. We’ll navigate our way between glittering blue icebergs in the hope of reaching South Sawyer Glacier, a massive tidewater glacier that calves regularly into the sea.

Watch for Bear, Mountain Goats, Bald Eagle, Harbor Seals with pups on icebergs and their nemesis the Orca (Killer) whale.

The journey continues south towards Admiralty Island. A National Monument and pristine wilderness area this island has the densest population of Brown Bear in the world and is a popular nesting site for Bald Eagle. We’ll visit a Sea Lion haulout along the way and fish for Halibut ……….. unless we are distracted by Humpback Whales enroute.

Admiralty Island has a number of beautiful inlets and secluded bays from which your Captain will select an anchorage for the evening. There is time to kayak (watch for Brown Bear foraging on shore), drop a fishing line over the side, help the crew set Crab pots or just relax and soak in the scenery.

** Trips that include Bear viewing at Pack Creek Bear Observatory will deviate from this itinerary up Seymour Canal and may not circumnavigate Admiralty Island.

After breakfast this morning we’ll don rubber boots and skiff to shore. This particular bay has a pretty hike through temperate rainforest to a salmon stream where we often see Brown Bear. The surrounding mountains provide a spectacular backdrop and you will not run out of photo opportunities as the trail winds through a grassy meadow and tidal flats on the way back to our skiff.

We’ll pull our crab pots, hopefully providing enough Dungeness Crab for a feast tonight, then cruise into Frederick Sound to search for Humpback Whales, Orca and other marine life.

The snow-capped mountains of distant Baranof Island draw ever closer as we cruise toward Point Gardener on Admiralty Island’s southern tip. If time permits we’ll fish for Salmon before crossing Chatham Strait to one of the Captains favorite bays. This inlet is serene and beautiful with many turns and guests usually gather on the bow to fully absorb the mystical waterfalls and tall mountains reflected in the calm waters below.

Keen kayakers have time for a paddle before breakfast then we’ll pull anchor and pick up the shrimp pot we set last night. Look out for whales and watch the scenery glide by as we cruise 2 hours north to the natural hot springs at Warm Springs Bay. After lunch guests can opt to soak in a private tub or follow a short trail through lush rainforest to a natural hot spring beside a roaring waterfall. For the energetic the trail continues on to a clear mountain lake and/or a small bluff overlooking the bay. In mid-summer you can collect wild blueberries and salmon berries as you make your way back to the boat.

We can stay here overnight, build a campfire and cook out or continue on for an hour to another pretty inlet tucked beneath towering mountains.

We need to make tracks today and will spend most of the day cruising north in Chatham Strait with the possibility of fishing and an optional stop at a salmon hatchery. Look out for co-operative feeding Humpback Whales, also called bubble-net feeding, that frequent this passage. We plan to overnight at Tenekee Springs, one of Alaska’s true frontier towns, where you’ll have the chance to explore the local community and beachcomb or hike the trail to Russian River to look for Brown Bear.

We have a scenic days cruise today around the northern tip of Admiralty Island. We’ll again look out for co-operative feeding Humpback Whales. There is often time to fish, kayak or hike the beach at our final anchorage before one last dinner to celebrate adventures shared and new friends made.

Its the final morning and a short 2 hour cruise into Juneau where we aim to be docked (after breakfast) by approximately 10am.

Please keep in mind: While cruises follow the general route described no two trips are ever the same …….. wildlife encounters, weather and tides often determine how our time is spent on any given day. This spontaneity is one of the joys of small ship cruising and offers a wonderful variety for our return guests.

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Photo by Ron Niebrugge

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