Surfing in Yakutat, Alaska. Pronounced, YACK-uh-tat. Outside Magazine named Yakutat, as “One of the five best surf towns in America.”
Location / Coordinates: The city of Yakutat, Alaska is in the Yakutat Borough, where the Gulf of Alaska and the Yakutat Bay come together, 225 miles northwest of Juneau, and 220 miles southeast of Cordova, and 700 miles southeast of Anchorage. Yakutat, Alaska is on the northern portion of the Alaskan panhandle.
Coordinates: Latitude N59.55 & Longitude W-139.73
Population / Elevation: Just over 600 people live in Yakutat, Alaska.
Description: Yakutat, Alaska is built at the base of the St. Elias Mountains. Lush vegetation from lots of rainfall blankets the area.
What to do there: Surf Yakutat, Alaska! That’s right, surfing, and good surfing at that. Icy Waves Surf Shop, located in Yakutat, caters to the locals and to surfers from all over the world. Locals like to share the good spots—it gets lonely surfing by yourself. When you’re not surfing, enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches.
Fishing in Yakutat, Alaska is always a pleasant experience. World class Steelhead, Salmon and Halibut are waiting to be hooked. Charter a boat for fishing or for glacier viewing. Disenchantment Bay is home to the largest tidewater glacier in North America, the Hubbard Glacier. You may want to rent a kayak and paddle around Situk Lake.
Wildlife and wildflowers are abundant in and around Yakutat, Alaska. Moose, Brown Bear, Eagles, Fireweed, and Forget-me-nots are all to be found on the hiking trails here in Yakutat. Visit Russell Fjord Wilderness, and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and do a little camping or mountaineering.
History: Yakutat, Alaska has a long culturally rich history. First settled by the Eyak-speaking peoples from the Copper River area. These people were overthrown by the Tlingits. Europeans and Russians explorers arrived looking for furs. In the 1800s the Russian-American Co. built a fort in Yakutat. The Russians denied access to the Tlingits’ traditional fisheries, so the Tlingits destroyed the fort. Later in the 1880s the Alaska Commercial Company opened a store in Yakutat. Soon, the sands of the area were being mined for gold. Schools, a sawmill, a cannery, stores and a railroad were being constructed by the early 1900s. Dduring World War II, a large aviation garrison and paved runway were built. Afte that not much has gone on in Yakutat, Alaska.
How to get there: Use scheduled air service from either Anchorage or Juneau, or you may charter a plane or use an air-taxi. There are float plane services. During the summer season there is a ferry service, and year ‘round barges deliver goods on a monthly basis.
Facilities: There is a lodge in Yakutat, Alaska. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time. There are a couple of Forest Service Cabins at Situk Lake and one near the wilderness boundary at Harlequin Lake. Primative camping is also available.
RV info: There are no RV facilities in Yakutat, Alaska.