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Wrangell, Alaska

Wrangell, Alaska Visitor Guide

Wrangell, Alaska is a charming coastal community located in the southeastern part of the state, situated on Wrangell Island in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. In this guide, you’ll find information on Wrangell’s latitude and longitude, directions from Anchorage, things to do, history, famous people, RV and camping information, and annual festivals and events.

**Latitude and Longitude**: Wrangell is located at approximately 56.4708° N latitude and 132.3767° W longitude.

Getting to Wrangell from Anchorage

Wrangell is not accessible by road, so the most common ways to reach Wrangell from Anchorage are by air or sea.

By Air

Several airlines offer flights from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Wrangell Airport (WRG), often with a layover in Juneau or another city. The total travel time varies depending on the layovers, but it generally takes around 3-5 hours. Flight schedules may vary, so it’s essential to check with the airlines for current availability and prices.

By Ferry

The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) provides ferry service to Wrangell from various Alaskan ports, including Juneau or Ketchikan, which are accessible from Anchorage by air. Ferry schedules and trip durations vary, so it’s recommended to check the AMHS website for more information.

Things to Do

Wrangell offers a variety of attractions and activities, including outdoor adventures, wildlife viewing, and cultural experiences.

Petroglyph Beach State Historic Site

Visit Petroglyph Beach to see ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks by the Tlingit people. This unique site offers a glimpse into the region’s rich indigenous history and culture.

Anan Wildlife Observatory

Take a guided tour to the Anan Wildlife Observatory, where you can observe one of Alaska’s largest pink salmon runs and watch black and brown bears fishing for salmon in their natural habitat.

Stikine River

Explore the Stikine River, a major waterway that cuts through the Coast Mountains, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The Stikine River Delta is a haven for migratory birds and offers stunning scenery.

Chief Shakes Tribal House

Visit the Chief Shakes Tribal House, a traditional Tlingit clan house located on Shakes Island. The tribal house showcases Tlingit art, culture, and history.

Detailed History

Wrangell’s history spans thousands of years, with the region being inhabited by the Tlingit people. The first European contact occurred in the 18th century, with Russian and British explorers mapping the coastline.

Expanded History

In the early 19th century, the Russian-American Company established a fur trading post in Wrangell, known as Redoubt Saint Dionysius. The Hudson’s Bay Company later took over the post, renaming it Fort Stikine. The United States acquired Alaska from Russia in 1867, and Wrangell continued to grow as a trading and mining community.

Wrangell has the unique distinction of having been governed by four nations: Tlingit, Russia, Britain, and the United States. Today, Wrangell is a vibrant community with a strong connection to its Tlingit heritage and an economy primarily based on fishing, tourism, and forest products.

Famous People from Wrangell

One notable person from Wrangell is Ray Troll, a renowned Alaskan artist known for his quirky and humorous depictions of marine creatures and paleontological subjects. Troll’s artwork has been featured in numerous exhibits, books, and publications.

RV and Camping Information

There are a few RV and camping options available in Wrangell:

– **Shoemaker Bay Park & Campground**: Located just south of downtown Wrangell, this campground offers RV and tent camping sites, restrooms, showers, and a boat launch.

– **Nemo Point Recreation Site**: Situated north of Wrangell, Nemo Point features tent camping sites and a picnic area with views of the Zimovia Strait.

Annual Festivals and Events

Wrangell hosts several annual events that celebrate its unique history, culture, and natural surroundings:

– **Bearfest**: Held in late July, this event celebrates the bears of Alaska with educational presentations, wildlife tours, and cultural performances.

– **Wrangell King Salmon Derby**: This annual fishing event takes place in May and June, drawing anglers from around the world to compete for the largest king salmon caught in Wrangell’s waters.

Visitors to Wrangell, Alaska can experience a vibrant coastal community with deep-rooted Tlingit cultural heritage and stunning natural surroundings. From the ancient petroglyphs at Petroglyph Beach to the abundant wildlife of the Stikine River, Wrangell offers a range of attractions and activities for those seeking an authentic Alaskan experience. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning an extended stay, Wrangell provides a captivating and immersive experience for travelers looking to connect with Alaska’s rich heritage and pristine landscapes.

LeConte Glacier

Book a guided boat tour to LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier in the United States. Witness the glacier’s impressive ice calving events and explore the floating icebergs in nearby LeConte Bay.

Hiking and Outdoor Recreation

Wrangell’s beautiful surroundings offer numerous opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor recreation. Some popular hiking trails include the Rainbow Falls Trail, Mount Dewey Trail, and the Nemo Loop Trail. In addition, the nearby Tongass National Forest provides countless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Wrangell Museum

Visit the Wrangell Museum to learn about the town’s rich history, including its Tlingit, Russian, and American influences. The museum features exhibits on local history, art, and artifacts, as well as educational programs and events.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Explore Wrangell’s coastal waters and rivers by kayak or canoe. Paddle along the shoreline of Wrangell Island or venture into the Stikine River for a unique perspective on the region’s landscapes and wildlife.


Play a round of golf at the Muskeg Meadows Golf Course, a 9-hole course set amid stunning Alaskan scenery. The course offers a challenging layout and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Wrangell, Alaska, offers a diverse range of attractions, activities, and events that cater to various interests and age groups. From its rich Tlingit cultural heritage to its stunning natural surroundings, there’s no shortage of experiences to be had in this unique coastal community. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning an extended stay, Wrangell provides a captivating and immersive experience for travelers seeking a taste of the Alaskan way of life.