Yakutat is a city in southeast Alaska that is rich with Native culture, local flavor and lots of fishing opportunities for intrepid anglers. Located at the top of the Alaska Panhandle, Yakutat sits about 375 flight miles to the east from Anchorage and about 200 flight miles to the west from Juneau. It lies in close proximity to the St. Elias Mountain Range, which holds the distinction of being the highest coastal mountains in the world. This amazing geographical feature includes 20 mountains that are 14,000 feet or taller, with the largest being Mount Logan at 19,551 feet tall. On a clear day, the mountain views from Yakutat are nothing short of breathtaking.
Glaciers near Yakutat
Yakutat is also an area rich with glaciers. Malaspina Glacier is the largest piedmont glacier in the world. Covering roughly 1500 square miles, Malaspina is a vast sea of ice that flows across the lowland plains in a fan-shaped formation. Other notable glaciers in the area include Hubbard and Yakutat. Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in North America.
For an interesting day trip in Yakutat, take the Dangerous River Road about 30 miles out to the Dangerous River bridge. Drive across and park. The 3/4-mile trail that leads to Harlequin Lake, the headwaters of the Dangerous, is a walk through a primordial forest. Once you emerge at the lake you will be treated to a sight to behold. Scattered amid the picturesque lake are icebergs, some massive, that have calved from the Yakutat Glacier. Bring your camera as this is truly a spectacular sight.
Another noteworthy stop is Cannon Beach, where artifacts from WWII are found. Among the iconic sights are landing vehicles, bunkers and cannons, all which speak to the military significance of Yakutat. The city owes its airport runway to its WWII history; it was created to allow planes to be transported from the Pacific Northwest to Elmendorf Air Force base (now named JBER) in Anchorage. These days, this long runway allows Alaska Airlines to get jet service into Yakutat and this makes travel to Yakutat a whole lot easier.
Tongass National Forest
Yakutat sits within the Tongass National Forest. It’s the world’s largest coastal temperate rainforest and covers nearly 17,000,000 acres. The forest is populated with Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar, among other tree species. A hike within this old-growth forest transports you into a land before time. Being in the presence of trees that can be hundreds of years old elicits a feeling of awe. In addition to the natural splendor of the Tongass, the area is rich in wildlife. From moose to brown bears, eagles to terns, waterfowl to sea birds, beavers, otters, blacktail deer and whales, Yakutat offers wildlife viewing opportunities in abundance.
When you visit Yakutat bring a rain coat. It is located within a temperature rainforest and experiences in excess of 180 inches of rain per year. High temperatures range from 20℉ in the winter to 60℉ in the summer. So bring some warm layers, even in summer.
Yakutat is an area rich in natural beauty and wildlife diversity. Take some time to explore the region with your camera close at hand. Years down the road you’ll be able to relive the experience through photos of fish-filled adventures you experienced in Yakutat.
Contact us to book lodging and guided fishing in Yakutat during your visit.