Nature at its Grandest in Yakutat, AK

Photo by Lhboucault,

52 Getaways 2019: Spring

It’s hard to describe most places in Alaska without relying on superlatives, and Yakutat is certainly no exception. With the largest tidewater glacier on the continent grinding along its ancient path nearby and the second-tallest peak in the U.S. looming large on the horizon, the small fishing village of Yakutat has rightfully earned a reputation as an outdoor adventure paradise with plenty of reasons to visit.

Yakutat sits on the Gulf of Alaska, surrounded by Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and the Tongass National Forest, with close access to sea, rivers, forests and mountains. As a result, hiking, climbing, rafting, sport fishing and even surfing are some of the reasons many travelers visit Yakutat.

Another reason is birding. Every spring, the town plays host to the Yakutat Tern Festival (in 2019, held May 30 to June 2). One of the largest known colonies of Aleutian Terns has chosen Yakutat for its spring breeding grounds. This area is at the forefront of research on this species, about which very little is known. The event hosts many festivities even non-birders enjoy.

Yakutat is accessible on Alaska Airlines and by ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway system. To book a stay at one of Yakutat’s many lodges and to plan your adventures with one of the area’s outfitters and guides, go to