Reservations 877·97·CRAFT  (877·972·7238)

Wrangell, Alaska, USA

Wrangell nestles near the mouth of the Stikine River on Wrangell Island off the Alaska panhandle, about 150 miles south of Juneau, the state capital. Wrangell has the claim of being governed under four different nations--the Tlingit, Russians, British, and the US. The Tlingit have been in Alaska for thousands of years. In the early 19th century Russian fur traders began working in the area, and they built a fort--Redoubt Saint Dionysius-- at the current site of Wrangell in 1834. The British Hudson Bay Company leased the fort, then called Fort Stikine for the river, from 1839 to 1849 but their needs diminished with the drop off in otters and beavers. The area remained under British control until the US purchased Alaska in 1867. The US Army erected a military post--Fort Wrangell, named for the original governor of Russian territories in Alaska--which was active from 1868 to 1877. The area grew in population in the late 19th century with surges from various gold rushes. A fire in the 1950s destroyed much of the downtown infrastructure and few historic buildings from early centuries remain. Fishing and logging became important economic drivers in the 20th century.


Ship Location

 Cruise ships dock north of town at the city dock.



The best sights in Wrangell involve nature and the outdoors, from fishing to hiking, kayaking, and bird watching. Thousands of migrating birds, including hundreds of bald eagles and snow geese, visit from May to June. Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park features rock carvings dating back thousands of years. Rainbow Falls is a one-and-a-half-mile walk close to town. From June to August the pink salmon run from Anan Bay up Anan Creek about 30 miles southeast of Wrangell. Visit Anan Bear Creek Observatory, considered a world-class viewing area for brown and black bears that feed during the summer salmon season. The Wrangell Museum offers exhibits on Tlingit history and culture, the gold mining era, and the English and Russian presence during the 19th century.