Welcome to Alaska's Inside Passage. This Air SeaTac Virtual Charter flight will take you from Ketchikan, Alaska, northerly to Skagway, stopping at some very popular cities along the way. You don't know Alaska until you've been there. Nothing… not the pictures you've seen or the text you're now reading, can possibly prepare you for the impressions you'll have the first day your eyes open on Alaska.
Ketchikan PAKT - Lloyd R. Roundtree Seaplane Facility Airport 63A - Juneau International PAJN - Skagway PAGY. Total flight distance should be close to 330nm with flight time around 2 hours and 45 minutes including stops.
Before departing Ketchikan International, make sure you spend a little time visiting the town. You will need to take a short ferry ride from the airport to get to the town. Ketchikan is 235 miles south of Juneau in "the land of the totem pole". The city is situated on Revillagigelo Island and experiences a moderate, moist climate, expecting about 13 feet of rain annually. Make sure the hanger has adjusted your wipers as you will for sure need them here. The city's name is said to be a Tlingit phrase, thundering wings of an eagle.
While in the city, take some time to shop along CREEK STREET, the city's famed Red Light District that once stretched along this waterfront boardwalk or ride the scenic tram to the Westmark Cape Fox Lodge (a Native American-style hotel) for spectacular views and lunch. The tram takes visitors 130 feet above Creek Street and provides a spectacular view of Ketchikan and the Tongass National Forest.
We will depart Ketchikan International using runway 29, weather permitting, and head northwesterly to the Level Island VOR flying the 119 radial inbound. LVD VOR frequency is 116.50 MHz with a range of 195nm. Upon passing LVD, fly direct to TURKS intersection where you should be able to make a right turn, cut down through a small valley and land on the narrow strip of water to the left of Johnson Petersburg Airport. This is the Lloyd R. Roundtree Seaplane Facility, airport 63A.
Norwegian pioneer Peter Bushmann arrived in 1890 and reasoned that the pristine ice from nearby LeConte glacier could be used to pack fish. He built a cannery; Norwegian fishermen followed and their families followed them. They fished for halibut, salmon, herring and crab, as their descendants and others do today. Today Petersburg, population 3,224, continues to depend on commercial fishing as its economic base. Tourism also is important. Attractions include calving tidewater glaciers, sports fishing and the largest concentration of humpback whales in Alaska.
Recommended for visitors: Take a trip to Le Conte Glacier. Just 18 miles east from town is LeConte Bay, the most southerly glacier that reaches the saltwater in Alaska. Sometimes substantial bits of ice are carried by the tide into Wrangell Narrows, the channel in front of town. Both air tours and boat tours are available in Petersburg. There's also an Information Center, located at the harbormasters office at the town dock. Sons of Norway Hall has a good crafts store, and historic Sing Yee Alley is nearby.
Out of the Lloyd R. Roundtree Seaplane Facility we will continue to our tour of the Inside Passage to Juneau. We will need to fly the 107 radial inbound to the Sister Island (SSR) VOR, frequency 114.00 MHz. Upon reaching Sister Island VOR turn right to follow the 360 radial outbound direct to LYNNS intersection where we will intercept the offset ILS IJDL, 109.90 MHz, course heading 062 degrees. Weather permitting, water landing will be on 8W just to the right of Juneau International.
Juneau is the State Capital of Alaska, located on the Gastineau Channel in Alaska's Panhandle. Juneau experiences a mild, wet climate. Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts overlook the city and the terminus of Mendenhall Glacier is nearby. The community of Douglas is connected by a bridge.
In 1880, Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold here, which spurred development of a gold-mining town. Juneau was designated the capital of the Alaska Territory in 1900, but it was not moved here from Sitka until 1906. Most gold mining ended in the 1940s. When Alaska entered the Union in 1959, Juneau continued as the state capital. Today Juneau, population 30,711, relies on state government, commercial fishing and tourism as its economic base.
While in Juneau, I suggest you take some time to grab a bite to eat at The Hanger on the Wharf. Experience Juneau's only waterfront restaurant, featuring S.E. Alaska's largest selection of micro-brews and great food all in a wonderful atmosphere. Of course, if you don't want to go the Hanger for lunch, you might take a ride on the Mt. Roberts Tramway and eat at the Timberline Bar and Grill. This is a wonderful place to visit. Along with great food, there are hiking trails, gift shops, a theater and more. If you go this route, I would definitely suggest making the day of it.
As with all great trips, they have to come to an end as some point. Our final destination is to Skagway. We will be departing runway 8W and track to the HNS NDB, frequency 245.0. Your approximate course heading will be 301 degrees. Once past HNS, make a right on a course heading 337 to line yourself up with runway 2 at Skagway.
Skagway is located in the northern terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway, Inside Passage. Located on the north end of the Lynn Canal, Skagway is 90 miles northwest of the capital Juneau , and is the northern terminus of the Alaska Marine Highway southwest ferry system and the southern terminus of Klondike Highway. It is the oldest incorporated city in Alaska and grew during the Klondike Gold Rush.
Majestic mountains rise abruptly on either side of Skagway, a town situated in a narrow glaciated valley at the head of the Taiya Inlet in Alaska. Positioned along one of the main transportation corridors leading to Canada's interior, Skagway was established as a result of a gold strike in the Klondike region of Canada's Yukon Territory.
Beginning in the summer of 1897, thousands of hopeful stampeders poured in to the new town and prepared for the arduous 500-mile journey to the gold fields. Realizing the grueling challenges that lay ahead on the route and the economic potential of supplying goods and services to other stampeders, some chose to remain in Skagway and establish a permanent community. Although it lasted but a brief period, and few obtained the wealth they dreamed of, the Klondike Gold Rush left a lasting mark on the Alaskan and Canadian landscapes. Today, Skagway's "boomtown" era remains alive in the many turn-of-the-century buildings that survive. The city now hosts half a million tourists annually and has a year-round population of approximately 800.
While concluding your tour of the inside passage, I would highly recommend a visit to the Tour Outlet sponsored by Frontier Excursions. Frontier Excursions, Inc., is Skagway's oldest and only locally owned and operated independent tour company. You can take a summit tour overlooking the city with a visit to the Gold Rush Cemetery where the legendary Soapy Smith was laid to rest, plus a stop at the breathtaking Skagway Overlook. There is a Yukon Excursion and even a 4 x 4 Adventure.
Air SeaTac Virtual hopes you have enjoyed your tour of the Inside Passage. With many more stops available in this beautiful area, there will surely be more flights like this to come. Save your money as some of these tour packages can surely put a drain on your pocketbook.