Sample Itinerary – Juneau To Ketchikan

Southern Explorer

Following a glacier tour of Tracy or Endicott Arm our cruise meanders through Frederick Sound in search of Humpback Whales before turning south to navigate the “Wrangell Narrows”. An overnight stop in one of Alaska’s frontier towns (Petersburg or Wrangell) often fits into the schedule. Your Captain will choose a route around Wrangell Island to visit Anan Creek Bear Observatory before we make our way down Clarence Strait to Alaska’s gateway city of Ketchikan.


  • Trip begins in Juneau, AK
  • Full day exploring spectacular Fjords & tidewater Glaciers
  • Explore scenic waterways accessible only on a small boat cruise
  • Humpback whales, Orca, Sea Lion rookery, Sea Otter & more
  • Hike in a temperate rain forest
  • Navigate the Wrangell Narrows
  • Anan Creek Bear Observatory
  • Anchor in secluded bays and visit a small Alaskan frontier town (Petersburg or Wrangell)
  • Fish for Salmon & Halibut
  • Trip ends in Ketchikan, AK

Route Map

Watch for marine life!

“Discovery’s cruises are highly opportunistic and can be interrupted at any moment by Humpback Whales, Orca (Killers Whales), Dalls Porpoise and other marine wildlife.

Depending on the encounter and the desires of the group we may stop for twenty minutes, an hour or the whole afternoon!”

Things to do in Ketchikan

  • Visit Totem Bight State Historical Park
  • Creek Street
  • Southeast Alaska Discovery Center
  • Alaskana in the Sourdough Bar
  • Flight-seeing over Misty Fjords National Monument

Day 1 – Into the Wild

A world of natural beauty unfolds as we leave civilization behind and cruise south down Gastineau Channel into Stephens Passage. Distant peaks rise above the massive Juneau ice field as we cruise past the silty confluence of the Taku River watershed. It’s not too early to watch for Humpback and Orca Whales en route to our overnight anchorage in the pristine Alaskan wilderness. Once anchored there is time for guests to kayak and keen fishermen can drop in a line for Halibut.

Day 2 – Tracy Arm Wilderness (Fjords, Glaciers & Icebergs) **

After breakfast this morning its time to get your boots on. We’ll skiff to shore and hike through the rainforest to a crystal clear river that leads to a beautiful waterfall. There’s a chance we may see brown bear feeding on grasses in the meadow (in spring time) or fishing for salmon as summer progresses.

A couple of hours in the crisp air is invigorating and guests can then relax as we cruise the length of one of the most spectacular fjords (Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm) on the planet. Watch for Bear, Mountain Goats, Bald Eagle, Harbor Seals with pups on icebergs and their nemesis the Orca (Killer) whale.

Day 3 – Whale watching in Frederick Sound

We’ll spend most of our time today cruising in Frederick Sound watching Humpback Whales. The protected waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage support almost 400 of these magnificent and graceful creatures during the summer feeding season and it is not uncommon to see more than a hundred individuals on any given day. Keep a look out also for Dalls Porpoise, Orca Whales and Sea Otter.

We’ll visit a Stellar Sea Lion rookery and stop to fish for an hour or so to provide our Chef with fresh seafood to prepare for dinner tonight. There are numerous beautiful inlets on Admiralty Island from which your Captain will select an anchorage for the evening where you can help the crew drop crab pots.

Day 4 – Admiralty Island to Petersburg

With no binding agenda the day begins at a leisurely pace. We can explore the bay by skiff and keen kayakers have time for a paddle before breakfast. Watch for Bald Eagles, curious Harbor Seals and Brown bear walking along the beach. We’ll pull up our crab pots and get underway. Depending how yesterday unfolded (and group desires) we may spend more time with Humpback Whales and if we caught Salmon yesterday we will fish for Halibut today. Thats one of the benefits of small ship cruising in Alaska .

Late afternoon we’ll begin the journey south. The Alaskan fishing community of Petersburg is situated at the northern entrance of the infamous Wrangell Narrows. With a proud Scandinavian heritage, canneries and a commercial fishing fleet it is an interesting and convenient overnight destination. Alternatively, further south lies Wrangell another genuine Alaskan frontier town with a prominent native influence where you can see petroglyphs on the beach at low tide and visit Chief Shakes house and totem park.

Day 5 – Wrangell Narrows to Anan Creek

The bench seat in front of the wheelhouse is a popular vantage point as we cruise through the Wrangell Narrows. A winding, 22 mile long channel between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island this passage has 65 navigational markers and is in places barely wide enough to accommodate the Alaska State Ferry.

Day 6 – Bear viewing at Anan Ceek Bear Observatory

Today we will visit Anan Creek Bear Observatory. A short hike through the rainforest along Anan Lagoon leads to the viewing platform by the falls where predominately Black Bear congregate to feast on spawning salmon. Resident Brown bears, bald eagles, several species of gulls, and harbor seals are also attracted to this seasonal abundance.

Day 7 – Clarence Strait to Behm Canal

We have a scenic days cruise today down Clarence Strait to our final anchorage and one last dinner to celebrate adventures shared and new friends made. There are some good fishing spots along the way and wildlife rich Behm Canal is another place to watch for the tell tale spouts of Humpback and Orca Whales.

Day 8 – Cruise to Ketchikan and disembark

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

** This bay is accessible early and late in the season and only one place we could hike to look for bears.