Yakutat, Alaska Visitor Guide
Yakutat, Alaska is a remote coastal community located in the southeastern part of the state, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Gulf of Alaska and the Saint Elias Mountains. In this guide, you’ll find information on Yakutat’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: Yakutat is situated at approximately 59.5461° N latitude and 139.7270° W longitude.
Getting to Yakutat from Anchorage
Yakutat is not accessible by road, so the most common ways to reach Yakutat from Anchorage are by air or sea.
Several airlines offer flights from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Yakutat Airport (YAK). The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Flight schedules may vary, so it’s essential to check with the airlines for current availability and prices.
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) provides ferry service to Yakutat from various Alaskan ports, including Whittier, which is located about 60 miles southeast of Anchorage. Ferry schedules and trip durations vary, so it’s recommended to check the AMHS website for more information.
Things to Do
Yakutat offers a variety of attractions and activities, including outdoor adventures, wildlife viewing, and cultural experiences.
Yakutat is renowned for its world-class fishing opportunities, with abundant salmon and halibut populations. The Situk River is particularly famous for its steelhead and salmon runs, making it a popular destination for anglers.
Take a boat tour to Hubbard Glacier, one of Alaska’s most impressive tidewater glaciers. Hubbard Glacier is known for its frequent and dramatic calving events, where large chunks of ice break off and crash into the ocean.
Hiking and Outdoor Recreation
Yakutat’s pristine wilderness offers numerous opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor recreation. Explore the nearby Tongass National Forest or venture into the remote Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Yakutat Tlingit Cultural Center
Visit the Yakutat Tlingit Cultural Center to learn about the town’s rich indigenous history and culture. The center features exhibits on Tlingit history, art, and traditions, as well as educational programs and workshops.
Yakutat’s history stretches back thousands of years, with the region being inhabited by the Tlingit people. The area was first visited by European explorers in the 18th century, with Russian and British expeditions mapping the coastline.
In the 19th century, the Russian-American Company established a trading post in Yakutat, which later became a key location for fur trading and whaling. The United States acquired Alaska from Russia in 1867, and Yakutat continued to grow as a fishing and hunting community.
During World War II, the U.S. military constructed an airfield in Yakutat, which later became a civilian airport. Today, Yakutat remains a small, remote community with a strong connection to its Tlingit heritage and an economy primarily based on fishing, tourism, and subsistence activities.
Famous People from Yakutat
One notable person from Yakutat is Nathan Jackson, a renowned Tlingit artist known for his wood carving and sculpture work. Jackson, who was born in Haines, Alaska in 1938, has created numerous totem poles, masks, and other traditional Tlingit art pieces displayed throughout the state and beyond.
RV and Camping Information
Yakutat has limited RV and camping facilities, but there are a few options available:
– Tals Campground: Located near the Situk River, Tals Campground offers tent camping sites and basic amenities such as picnic tables and fire pits. It’s a great spot for anglers looking to fish the Situk River.
– City of Yakutat Campground: This campground, operated by the City of Yakutat, offers tent camping sites, picnic tables, and fire pits. It’s located near the airport and within walking distance of the town center.
Annual Festivals and Events
Yakutat hosts several annual events that celebrate its unique history, culture, and natural surroundings:
– Yakutat Tern Festival: Held in early June, this event celebrates the Aleutian tern and other migratory bird species that visit Yakutat during their annual migration. The festival includes birdwatching activities, educational presentations, and cultural performances.
– Yakutat Steelhead Derby: This annual fishing event takes place in April and May, drawing anglers from around the world to compete for the largest steelhead caught in the Situk River.
Visitors to Yakutat, Alaska can experience a remote and pristine coastal community steeped in Tlingit culture and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. From its world-class fishing opportunities to its awe-inspiring glaciers and vast wilderness, Yakutat offers a range of activities and attractions for those seeking a truly Alaskan experience. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning an extended stay, Yakutat provides a captivating and immersive experience for travelers looking to connect with Alaska’s rich heritage and stunning landscapes.
Yakutat is home to some of Alaska’s most unique surfing opportunities. With its remote beaches and consistent swells, Yakutat attracts surfers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. The most popular surfing spots include Cannon Beach and Point Carrew.
Beachcombing and Wildlife Viewing
Take a walk along Yakutat’s pristine beaches, such as the sandy shores of Cannon Beach or the rocky coastline of Khantaak Island. Keep an eye out for marine wildlife, including sea otters, seals, and various bird species. You may even spot some beach treasures like shells, agates, and driftwood.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Explore Yakutat’s coastal waters and rivers by kayak or canoe. Paddle along the Situk River, Monti Bay, or the waters around Khantaak Island for a unique perspective on the region’s landscapes and wildlife.
Cultural Events and Workshops
Throughout the year, Yakutat’s community organizations and the Yakutat Tlingit Cultural Center host various cultural events and workshops. These may include Tlingit dance performances, art exhibits, language classes, and traditional carving and weaving workshops.
Yakutat, 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 remote coastal community. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or planning an extended stay, Yakutat provides a captivating and immersive experience for travelers seeking a taste of the Alaskan way of life.