Rain Walker Expeditions (907/874-2549, www.rainwalkerexpeditions.com) rents bikes, canoes, and kayaks from the Breakaway office across from Stikine Inn. Owner Marie Oboczky leads informative nature hikes and bus tours lasting from two hours to all day. They’re fun and geared to your area of interest, whether it’s petroglyphs or rain forests.
A paved walking and biking path runs from Wrangell for six miles to the trailhead for Rainbow Falls at Shoemaker Bay.
Alaska Vistas (907/874-3006 or 866/874-3006, www.alaskavistas.com) guides sea kayaking day trips and multiday adventures in the Wrangell area. They also rent canoes and kayaks and offer water taxi shuttles for do-it-yourselfers heading to Forest Service cabins or into the wilderness.
Klondike Bike (502 Wrangell Ave., 907/874-2453, www.klondikebike.com) has quality mountain bikes for rent if you want to explore the many miles of old logging roads.
Muskeg Meadows Golf Course (907/874-4653, www.wrangellalaskagolf.com) is an attractive nine-hole course with putting greens, a pro shop, and driving range.
Wrangell’s swimming pool (907/874-2444) is at the high school. Fishing and sightseeing charters are available through a number of local outfits; get brochures from the visitor center near the Wrangell Museum.
Wrangell is the primary starting point for fun and fast jet-boat tours to watch bears at Anan Creek or to motor up the mighty Stikine River. Three companies also offer excellent jet-boat trips to LeConte Glacier and Petersburg: Breakaway Adventures (907/874-3455 or 888/385-2488, www.breakawayadventures.com), Alaska Waters (907/874-2378 or 800/347-4462, www.alaskawaters.com), and Alaska Vistas (907/874-3006 or 866/874-3006, www.alaskavistas.com). Expect to pay $205–240 per person for the all-day tour that includes a two-hour stop in Petersburg.
Hiking, Biking, and Fishing
Scenic Rainbow Falls Trail, a moderately steep 0.75-mile hike (710 stair steps!), begins across the road from Shoemaker Bay Campground, five miles south of town. More ambitious bodies can continue three miles up the trail to Shoemaker Overlook (1,500 feet). The trail accesses large ridgetop muskeg areas and ends at a three-sided Adirondack-style shelter offering a panoramic vista of Zimovia Strait. The trail and shelter provide an excellent opportunity for an overnight camping trip. The trail is steep and often muddy but has a boardwalk in places.
Logging roads crisscross most of Wrangell Island, providing cycling opportunities for mountain bike enthusiasts—if you enjoy seeing cut-over land. Those with wheels may want to visit several areas on the island. Long Lake Trail, 28 miles southeast of Wrangell along Forest Road 6271, is a 0.5-mile boardwalk that ends at an Adirondack shelter complete with a rowboat, a fire grill, and an outhouse. In the same vicinity is a 300-foot path to Highbrush Lake, where you’ll find a small boat in which to practice your rowing skills.
Individuals with disabilities may want to try fishing at Salamander Creek, 23 miles south of town on Forest Road 6265, where ramps lead right up to a pad along the creek. There is good fishing for king salmon here, along with three campsites. For information on cabins and other trails around Wrangell, visit the Forest Service’s Wrangell Ranger District Office (525 Bennett St., 907/874-2323, www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass).
There are 21 different Forest Service cabins (518/885-3639 or 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov, $45) near Wrangell, including several in the Stikine River region. The closest is at Virginia Lake, accessible by floatplane. Another nearby cabin is at Kunk Lake, across Zimovia Strait from the south end of the Wrangell Island road system. Access is by kayak, or skiff if you can get someone to run you across. A 1.5-mile trail climbs to a three-sided shelter at the lake. From here it’s a relatively easy climb into high-elevation muskeg and alpine areas that cross Etolin Island.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition