Seward and its surroundings comprise a land of memorable beauty--saltwater bays, blue glaciers, majestic mountains and alpine valleys. Located on the Kenai Peninsula at the head of Resurrection Bay, the city is one of Alaska's oldest communities, and also one of the most scenic.
Seventy-five miles long and covering over 1,350 square miles in area, the Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It is also one of the most impressive, a 300-foot wall of ice rising sheer and jagged from the ocean. You may hear the rumble and see the monumental splash as the glacier breaks off in great ice chunks, known as "calves."
Juneau is one of America's most beautiful state capitals, with the looming summits of Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts providing a gorgeous backdrop. Once part of Alaska's Gold Rush, the city boasts natural and manmade attractions. Downtown is filled with many vibrant buildings, including must-see St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, which houses artwork and artifacts dating back to the 18th century. From the bright mural in Marine Park to the carvings in House of Wickersham, downtown is filled with Alaska's own unique brand of culture and architecture. Often hailed as Juneau's most impressive sight, nearby Mendenhall Glacier is approximately 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. See the glacier on a float trip or a "flightseeing" adventure, or hike up one of its trails for a closer inspection. For a bird's-eye view, the Mt. Roberts Tramway offers a short, six-minute trek to the top of Mt. Roberts, 1800 feet above the city. If wildlife is your passion, scenic Admiralty Island has the world's highest concentration of brown bears.
This "Gateway to the Klondike" watched as fortune-seekers headed to Chilkoot and White Pass Trails during Alaska's Gold Rush. Today, feel like a prospector in Skagway, as you walk along its rustic boardwalks and frontier-style storefronts. This cozy town offers a pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle of most cities. With classic cars and one of the oldest narrow-gauge railroads in the world, the city retains the flavor of days gone by and remains an important link to Alaska's history. A stroll down Broadway is a must. Highlights include Arctic Brotherhood Hall. Other buildings like the Trail of '98 Museum, Corrington's Museum of Alaskan History and the Alaskan Wildlife Adventure and Museum present different facets of prospecting times. Before hitting famous Chilkoot Trail, there are other well-marked trails to try. Hiking to Lower Dewey Lake is an easy, 20-minutes, and there are more adventurous trails to remote Sturgill's Landing, Upper Dewey Lake and Devil's Punchbowl. The White Pass Scenic Railway and Eagle Preserve Wildlife Quest provide additional options.
Resting between snowcapped mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Sitka is one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Alaska and the biggest city in America - encircling 4,710 square miles on Baranof Island. No symbol shows Russian influence more than the landmark St. Michael's Cathedral. Original artifacts and icons, including the Sitka Madonna, were saved from fire and are on display. Visit Castle Hill, once site of a two-story log mansion known as Baranof's Castle, which overlooked Sitka Sound during the town's fur trading days. Only stone walls and mounted cannons remain from Russia's bloody battles against native Tlingit. Sitka National Historical Park offers information and artifacts relating to the Tlingits, including totem poles as a chronicle of early life on this fertile ground. Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center cares for as many as a dozen bald eagles and other birds at a time. The facility caters to rare wildlife recovering from injuries incurred in the wild. Among the more popular trails is Indian River Trail, which parallels a salmon stream, and the three-mile-long Gaven Hill Trail.
Ketchikan is known as "Alaska's First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they travel north. The city is built on steep hillsides and is billed as salmon capital of the world. A quaint village, the town is three miles long and three blocks wide. With fishing boats sailing in and float planes ascending from the water, this seaside town is bustling with activity. With the world's largest collection of totem poles, Totem Bight State Historical Park offers insight into various native cultures of the Pacific Northwest. These wood-carved creations tell colorful, intricate tales – often showing a family history or depicting a local legend. Ketchikan has many options for adventure of relaxation, including mountain bike tours, sea kayaking, seaplane riding, or strolling down the boardwalk of Creek Street, Ketchikan's most famous section with a historic cable car and quaint boutiques. Blessed with an abundance of hiking trails, Ketchikan offers many breathtaking vistas, including the panoramic, 360-degree view from the top of Deer Mountain.
Imagine being confronted with a myriad of mysterious channels. Following each fjord to the interior, encounter massive mountain ranges, towering cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, virginal forests of two-hundred foot tall spruce, while whales, bears, seals, salmon, eagles and other wildlife. Always they were stopped by an inevitable face of ice - glaciers pushing inexorably downward to meet the sea. What must have been a mapmaker's nightmare is today cherished as the continent's last great untouched wilderness, harbouring the world's largest temperate rain forest. An Eden of the North to captivate the every modern-day explorer. The string of islands of the Inside Passage create a protective barrier to the open sea running from the Washington State/Canadian border and the bottom of Vancouver Island all the way up to the top of Chichagof Island, where the Gulf of Alaska begins its curve westward, offering a supremely serene cruising environment in some of the most dramatic surroundings on earth.
Vancouver is a thriving metropolis surrounded by natural beauty. With parks, beaches, gardens, museums, art galleries and the second-largest Chinatown in North America, Vancouver lives up to its promise of offering something for everyone. With modern buildings set against green, rolling hillsides, this city is breathtaking; no location offers a more spectacular view than Stanley Park - with a zoo, aquarium, totem poles and honking geese. A short walk from the park leads to Robson Street, which offers the town's best window-shopping. Stores with European flavor share the avenue with delicatessens and tea rooms ready to serve. As architectural heart of the city, Robson Square features a central plaza with a food fair and an old provincial courthouse, which now houses Vancouver Art Gallery. Be sure to stop at 8 Pender St. - "the narrowest building in the world." Other points of interest include the Museum of Anthropology; Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden; and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Capilano Canyon is site of the world's longest and highest suspension footbridge.
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