Your tour begins as you board a high-speed catamaran for a scenic 45-minute cruise to Haines down North America’s longest and deepest fjord. Along the way, you’ll witness spectacular views of waterfalls and ice-sculpted peaks as your guide helps you search for marine wildlife. Upon arrival in Haines, you’ll meet your guide and board our bus. Prior to heading up the scenic Haines byway on our 22 mile drive up the Chilkat Valley to the native village of Klukwan, we’ll explore historic Fort Seward by bus. Fort Seward is one of the first US military bases in Alaska and its picturesque parade grounds and historic buildings offer a unique insight to life in Haines during the early 1900’s.
After a 40-minute scenic drive through the Chilkat Valley and Bald Eagle Preserve, you’ll come to Klukwan, “Eternal Village” of the Chilkat people. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve hosts some of the largest concentrations of bald eagles in the world.
You will gain intimate, in depth, exposure to the traditional lifestyle of the Chilkat people as their friendly and knowledgeable hosts walk you through the Traditional Knowledge Camp. This guided walk includes a visit to the traditional Adze Shed where their 37-foot dug-out “Heen Yakgaheiyagoo Yaakw” (Water Spirit Canoe) is stored and a short visit to the traditional smokehouse. Our visit to the Camp culminates in the Tlingit plank style, clan house, “Kaaya Haayi Hit,” with storytelling and interpretation of its totemic artworks. Presenters will share traditional songs and drumming that highlight their cultural heritage.
Our next stop is the, newly opened, state of the art, museum-quality center. The Heritage Center provides entrance to the Chilkat’s distinctive ethnic landscape with exhibits on their subsistence way of living, the Brown Bear Clan House, their legacy of Chilkat weaving, and more. Your native host will guide you through the educational exhibits and will share their personal experiences and insights along the way. Your visit to the Heritage Center culminates at the Whale Clan House of the Gaanaxteidi where the world-famous collection of four totems and the Rain wall screen are displayed.
Next, is a short stop at the gift shop, where you can shop for local arts and native crafts.
Before departing Klukwan for our return journey back towards Haines, we will enjoy a picnic lunch while overlooking the glacially fed waters of the Chilkat River.
Once your visit to Klukwan is wrapped up we’ll board our bus for the drive back to Haines. Upon our arrival in Haines, we will board the ferry for our return trip to Skagway.