I was not expecting to love Icy Strait Point as much as I did. In fact, I didn’t know what to expect. Icy strait point is a privately-owned destination but it is Alaska native-owned and operated. Icy Strait Point is one of the best places to experience Alaskan culture. In fact, Icy Strait Point won cruise port of the year in 2020. The port is centered around the restored salmon cannery, which now houses a museum, local arts and crafts shops, restaurants, and a mid-1930s cannery line display. Icy Strait Point has a little bit of everything- you can enjoy humpback whale watching, bear searching, exploring the village of Tlingit and talking to the Tlingit tribe, kayaking, and fishing.
Set west of Juneau in southeastern Alaska on gorgeous Chichagof Island – the fifth-largest island in America – Hoonah. Just a mile and a half from Hoonah, home to many Tlingit, you’ll find Alaska’s only private cruise ship port- Icy Strait Point. It’s owned by the Huna Totem Corporation and many Tlingit Hoonah residents are shareholders. Currently, Icy Strait Point’s primary industry is cruise ship tourism, and 85% of the people who work in the port are Tlingit locals.
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Icy Strait Point Cruise Port
Located on Chichagof Island just outside the village of Hoonah, Alaska, Icy Strait Point is situated at the mouth of Port Frederick, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Juneau. It is open to the public, but only on days when they have cruise ships in port. Cruise ships dock right at Icy Strait Point, and the is a floating pier connected to a long walkway that takes passengers to shore.
Right when you get off the cruise ship, there will be an information center and restaurant. You can take the gondola or walk to the other side. Further along the pier, you’ll find the cannery, museum, shops, and more food!
Things to do in Icy Strait Point Alaska
Explore the salmon cannery and museum
Icy Strait Point was originally built as a Salmon Cannery and has been an important part of the community for many years serving many functions. In 1912, the Hoonah Packing Company, a prosperous salmon canning company, opened for business on Icy Strait Point, providing the locals with factory jobs.
In the middle of the port is the cannery museum, with lots of shops. The shops are all locally owned businesses stocked with tons of Alaskan products. Pick up some local souvenirs from the port, including beautiful locally made arts, herbal remedies, antiques, jewelry, and numerous other tourist items.
Tribal dance show
Immerse yourself in the Native culture. A group of proud Huna Tlingit performers, wearing their colorful and traditional regalia, share their history and culture through song, dance, and storytelling. The tribal dance has two free shows at 3:30pm and 5:30 pm.
The gondolas were added in 2021, making Wilderness Landing a vehicle-free zone. There are 2 gondolas in Icy Strait Point. There is a free gondola – the Transporter – that transits between Wilderness Landing and the Adventure Center. The red gondola – called Sky Glider – goes up the mountain from Wilderness Landing and costs $49.95 for unlimited rides. It is included with the ZipRider because it is the only way to get to the launch point. At the top is the zip rider, the Mountain Top Forest Tram, the Alice Meadow loop, a viewing platform, and a food truck.
There are some easy hiking trails right near the cruise dock, right near the water. You can also hike from from Adventure Landing to Wilderness Landing.
Near the cannery, there is a spot you can rent bikes to explore the town.
Icy strait point excursions
Icy Strait Point is one the best locations for whale watching as the water surrounding Icy Strait Point is home to Alaska’s largest population of humpback whales. The tours have so frequent whale sightings that the whale watching tours guarantee you’ll see a whale or you get your money back. We toured with Icy Strait Whale Adventures and had a wonderful time and saw lots of whales!
You might also like: Swimming with Whales In Moorea
Wildlife and Bear Search
Explore through the rainforest and the Tongass National Forest as you search for bald eagles, Sitka black-tailed deer and the Alaska coastal brown bears. Chichagoff Island is home to more brown bears than humans. Chichagoff Island has the highest concentration of brown bears in the world! There are tours designed specifically to show you the bears! If you’re lucky, you’ll even see them from the water when you’re on a whale watching tour like we did!
Icy strait point zipline is the world’s largest and highest zip line at 5,330 feet long, with a 1,300-foot vertical drop! The zipline offers a thrilling ride with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. This is not for the faint of heart, as the zipline hits speeds of 65 mph!
Icy Strait is home to some of the halibut and fishing around. Go out on the boat with a local who will show you where to find the fish!
Kayak along the waters of Port Frederick and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You’ll probably even see some wildlife such as eagles, whales, seals, and more!
ATV Expedition Tour
Jump on the ATV and follow the adventurous rugged drive through the forest. Along the route, there are numerous stops to enjoy the region’s scenic scenery – valley, mountain, and the ocean.
Where to eat in Icy Strait Point
The Crab House
Stop in for Alaska’s best king, snow and Dungeness crab. They only have seafood options. Located right on the dock, you can enjoy the scenic view.
The Cookhouse Restaurant
Local seafood and non-seafood like burgers, located right on the pier.
Duck Point Smokehouse
Located right near the cruise ship dock, overlooking the beach of Icy Strait Point. Signature cocktails, beers, seafood, burgers, and pizza!
Lil’ Gen’s donuts
A small little donut stand with mini-donuts and coffee.
Cruise lines that visit Icy Strait Point Alaska
Icy Strait Point opened to it’s first cruise ship in 2004, and now it currently can welcome 2 cruise ships at a time. Icy Strait Point has become so popular that they just opened their two high-speed gondola systems in order for easier access around the port.
Cruise lines that currently cruise to Icy Strait Point as of 2022 are:
- Carnival Cruise
- Disney Cruise Line
- Holland America
- Linbald Expeditions
- RSSC- Regent
- Royal Caribbean International
- Seaborn Cruises
- Uncruise Adventures
Icy Strait Point on a Cruise
Icy Strait Point is an awesome cruise port stop. If you’re lucky enough to have this on your cruise itinerary, you are in for a treat! Even though it’s a small town, there is plenty to see and do, and the culture on the island is amazing.
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