Traveler’s Guide to the Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

The ferry to the Prince of Wales Island only leaves once a day from Ketchikan, Alaska: at 3:30 in the afternoon.  You should have made reservations, because when it is full, you will have to wait until the next day.  It is a small ferry in comparison to the ships of the Alaska State ferries, but privately owned and the only ferry that docks in Ketchikan.  It will be a three-hour ride and you will arrive at the island around 6:30: daylight in the summer, dark October through April.

As you pull off the small inter-island ferry and drive up onto Prince of Wales Island, you will see nothing but salmon berry bushes, bush alder and tall spruce trees.  There wont be any restaurants, although I’ve heard of some cabins for rent near Hollis, called “A Place to Stay,” other than that, it’s just about 33 miles to the nearest gas station.

The road pulls up, over and around rock outcroppings and timbered hillsides.  The pavement breaks will slow you down, as will the dips in the road that will throw everything in the back seat against the ceiling.  Don’t try to go over 45 mph, because the turns aren’t graded and you may slip off the road.  Watch out for deer.  I recently watched a black bear slowly cross the road in front of me, and you wouldn’t want that landing on the hood of your car!

The first “town” you will come to is the second largest on the island.  Klawock appears to be a small half-mile gathering along the highway, but stop at the grocery store.  There is a restroom off the deli, and a small household goods store adjoining the grocery. They have rain gear if you haven’t brought it along. The shopping center also has a post office, the island Chamber of Commerce, and a liquor store.  If you need an Alaskan beer selection, this is the best store on the island for that.

For lodging, if you haven’t done your research, you might head straight on the same road for eight more miles.  This road winds along the island’s edge and is breath-taking in parts: there are several pull outs to watch for whales and other sea creatures.  After a time, you will come to the end of the road in the town of Craig, Alaska.  This bustling town holds everything one needs (maybe not wants, but needs): for instance, several banks, two coffee shops, a clothing store, grocery store and the island’s only hardware store.  This is the business hub of the island.  I recommend any of the accommodations here.

Next: Hydaburg

About neverlost4good

Free-lance writer. I am able to work with chaos and organize it into function.
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