WELCOME TO ANGOON
“Fortress of Brown Bears“
Angoon is located on the western side of Admiralty Island, a place known as “kootznoowoo,” or the “Fortress of Brown Bears”. The island is home to the highest density of brown bears in North America and the highest density of bald eagles in the world.
Angoon is located on the southwest coast at Kootznoowoo Inlet. It is 55 miles southwest of Juneau and 41 miles northeast of Sitka. It is the only permanent settlement on Admiralty Island, with less than 600 full-time residents who continue to maintain strong ties of the community’s rich Native Tlingit tribe heritage.
Angoon is in the heart of the Tongass National Forest and is part of the protected Kootznoowoo Wilderness; a status that ensures the region will continue to remain an undeveloped wildlife sanctuary of spruce and hemlock tress.
The word Kootsnoowoo translates to Xootsnoowú in the native language of the Tlingit tribe and means “fortress of brown bears”; a name that still befits a region inhabited by an estimated 1,600 brown bears. In addition to the bear population, the area is also home to a dense population of Sitka black-tailed deer and the world’s highest density of bald eagles.
The village’s indigenous history dates back over 1,000 years and ties to traditional culture are easily seen in the painted fronts of the 16 tribal community houses.
Many visitors are day-trippers who arrive and depart on floatplanes with guides from nearby Juneau. However, there are two lodges that offer packages with all-inclusive food and charter services. There are also several U.S. Forest Service cabins that can be rented and reserved in advance for lodging.
The village has a small, local general store but no other public shops or restaurants. Travelers are advised to stock up in Juneau before arrival.
A lack of eateries and shopping does little to keep visitors at bay. Especially, since it is the unadulterated natural beauty of the area that draws so many to Angoon each year.
The village itself offers a rich history to explore. The traditional Clan houses and their totems serve as the backdrop for a culture that continues to thrive through day-to-day subsistence activities, special potlatches and community celebrations.
For those who enjoy kayaking, a 32-mile trail system begins in Angoon and links to eight major lakes and seven portages; allowing paddlers to travel from the east end of Mitchell Bay to Mole Harbor in Seymour Canal. For those who prefer to hike, a sand spit and an observation tower along the creek are accessible via a one-mile trail.
The real highlight, however, is the Bear-Viewing at Pack Creek. As part of the Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary, Pack Creek gives brown bears a protected habitat while also providing a place where visitors can watch the bears up close.
In addition to brown bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, river otter, mink, marten and other small mammals inhabit Pack Creek.
For those who are avid bird watchers, Pack Creek is also home to a wide range of bird life including eagles, seagulls, ravens, and crows, a great population of kingfishers, a wonderful array of different hummingbirds, sparrows, swans, and migrating geese.
This rich assortment of wildlife along with the sea lions, orcas, porpoise, sea otters, and the Humpback whales that can be seen offshore make this corner of Admiralty Island the perfect place to spend the day.
A NOTE BEFORE YOU VISIT PACK CREEK: An advance permit is required to access the sanctuary between June 1 and September 10. During the peak viewing season (July 5 – August 25) permits are limited and require advance reservation. Camping near the sanctuary on Admiralty Island is not permitted, however, it is allowed on nearby Windfall Island which can be accessed by boat. Contact the Special Area Permit office For more information on allowed activities and required permits.
Fully-guided tours of Pack Creek are available for groups of up to five people.
PACK CREEK TOURS – Operated by Fortress of the Bears LLC, Pack Creek Tours are a partnership between Kootzoowoo Inc., the Alaska Native Village Corporation for the town of Angoon and Alaska Seaplanes.
A DAY on the WATER – Spending the day fishing or or just float along watching for marine life. Whale-watching makes for particularly unforgettable experience as orca can be seen swimming about and humpback whales performing exhilarating acrobatic displays as they feed.
A STROLL on the BEACH – Explore the shores of Angoon’s beaches and uncover the natural treasures brought in from the sea, including the coveted Japanese glass buoys). Angoon boasts a variety of beach types from sandy to shale to pebble and clay.
KAYAKING/CANOEING – Angoon offers 32-miles of water trail to explore by kayak or canoe for those who prefer to take in the scenery from the water.
BIRD WATCHING – Countless breeds of birds can be observed from many choice locations across the island including eagles, kingfishers, hummingbirds, sparrows, swans, and migrating geese.
SHOPPING & DINING
Angoon is served by a single general store, Angoon Trading Company. The store offers a variety of items, albeit in limited supply. Items you may find in the store include groceries and clothing, lumber and hardware; and gifts and sundries.
With no other public shops or restaurants on the island, travelers are advised to stock up in Juneau before arrival.
Alaska Seaplanes offers daily floatplane service to Angoon. The village is also accessible by ferry twice a week. The ferry is a five-hour trip from Juneau, followed by a 3-mile trek into town. By seaplane, it’s a 30-minute trip. You’ll land on the water and taxi to the floatplane dock, which is about ¼ of a mile from town.
WHERE TO STAY
Angoon has two lodges and a bed and breakfast available for overnight stays. All have them have stunning views of Kootznahoo Inlet and Mitchell Bay, gateway to the Tongass National Forest. Condos are also available as an affordable option for more independent living and lengthier visits.
For those visiting with a focus on fishing, a lodge stay and guided fishing charter are the best of all worlds. Guides familiar with the area will help you get to the best locations for catching and landing salmon, halibut or freshwater trout. Back at the lodge, they’ll then help clean, fillet and vacuum-pack your fish for easy transport back home.
Favorite Bay Lodge
• Our cozy loft offers a small library of books, a guest workstation if you need to check your emails and treetop views to watch the eagles fly by.
• Our twelve individually designed and creatively appointed guest rooms feature native cedar walls, lodge pole furnishings, elegant baths with soaking tubs and showers, handcrafted rugs, and simply the most comfortable bedding you have ever slept on.
• Our spacious rooms are individually decorated and named for our native Southeastern wildlife.
• Wake up and enjoy views of the serene inland waters or watch the amazing sunsets as you drift off to sleep
Us Forest Service Cabins
• Cabins are rustic—as in, no running water, usually no mattresses, and an outhouse rather than a toilet.
• Offer solid basics: bunks or sleeping platforms (some even sleeping up to 10), a heating stove, table and chairs, and sometimes a cooking stove.
• You bring anything else you’ll need to sleep and eat: food, water, bedding and cook stove or utensils.
• Nightly fee ranges between $25-40
• Familiarity with bear safety is recommended
• An Item to Note: A permit system regulates the number of daily visitors. Information about permits, guides and nearby public-use cabins is available through the Tongass National Forest.
Whaler’s Cove Lodge
• Offers a wide range of cabins and suites to accommodate different groups, from single occupancy suites with private bathrooms to beach cabins accommodating two to eight people, all rooms capture a view of our harbor looking east over Admiralty Island National Monument.
• Each room is appointed with custom reclaimed burnt juniper log and cedar furniture. All rooms and cabins have electric heat and hot water, 24 hours a day.
• ADA accessible rooms and bathrooms are available!