Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2009)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
- Length44 miles
This highway connects the Inside Passage community of Haines with Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory. First used by the Chilkat Indians, the highway became a packhorse trail to the Klondike goldfields in the late 1880's. In 1943, the U.S. Army used the highway as a military access road during World War II.
Story of the Byway
Haines is a community in the Inside Passage of Alaska. It has a rich cultural history beginning with the Chilkat Indians and continuing with the Gold Rush in the 1880’s. This byway is encompassed by the lush coastal rainforest as it makes its way up the St. Elias Mountains and into Canada where the forest gives way to alpine tundra and the Haines Highway connects with the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction.
The Haines Highway travels northwesterly from Haines, AK to the Canadian border. Start at the Haines Ferry Terminal turn south on Lutak Road to Front St, then Main St, then Highway 7 to the US/Canadian border.
Points of Interest
Fort William H. Seward
Enjoy a walking tour
Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
Seasonal home to 3,000 bald eagles. Attracted by fall and winter runs of salmon. Hundreds of these birds roost in the cottonwoods between October and January.
Bald Eagle Festival
November in Haines
Watch for fish wheels being used in June (water-wheel-like innovation driven by river current that scoops up migrating salmon and puts them in a bin for processing.
Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center
Houses over 4,000 artifacts including Chilkat Blankets, Eldred Rock lighthouse lens, over 2,000 books about the area and 12,000 catalogued photographs and slides from the 19th century to today. Also houses countless documents including mining company ledgers, pamphlets, ship logs, maps, and research papers.
Alcan 200 International Snowmachine Race
January, longest snowmachine race in North America (Haines, AK)
Haines Ferry Terminal
Where the Byway begins.
Haines and the Chilkat River
Begin at the Haines Ferry Terminal and head south on Lutak Road until you arrive at the city of Haines. Turn onto Front Street still heading south. At the intersection of Front and Main St (Highway 7) you will find the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center where you can learn about Chilkat and mining history. Take a detour down 2nd Ave to Fort William H. Seward and go on a walking tour to learn more about the area’s history. Back on Main St (Highway 7) head out of town and you will soon be at the Chilkat River. Watch for fish wheels in the river used as a way of commercially harvesting fish. At the confluence of the Chilkat and Tsirku Rivers is the largest concentration of bald eagles. Stop in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve from October to June to see nearly 3,000 bald eagles. In November, enjoy the Bald Eagle Festival in Haines. The drive to the Canadian Border offers views of wildlife and the Chilkat River as it winds through the Alaska wilderness. The byway ends at the Canadian border. If you wish, return to Haines and enjoy their restaurants, pubs, hotels, and B & Bs.
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