The Stikine River

Wrangell is the Gateway to the Stikine River, or Stik-Heen, which means 'Great River' in Tlingit. The Stikine River certainly lives up to its name. Traveling 400 miles from headwaters in British Columbia to its mouth near Wrangell, it continues to carve its channel through glacial valleys and delta flats. The delta flats are 11,000 hectares (27,200 acres), and 16 miles wide, extending from the river mouth, almost to the town itself, five miles away and are visible from the jet when landing at Wrangell airport.

The river is truly a photographer's dream. The delta is a haven for over 120 species of migrating birds in the spring and fall, including tundra (whistling) swans, Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, mergansers, waterfowl and over 150,000 shorebirds. In April, the second largest concentration of eagles in the world occurs when as many as 1,600 arrive to feast on the annual hooligan run. In late April, 8,000 to 10,000 snow geese stop on their migration northward. The Stikine River Birding Festival is a fun time to celebrate the arrival of spring and birds! There are other wildlife such as sealions, otter, bear and moose.

You can explore the river in many different ways. Jet boat charters offer immediate access to glaciers, lakes, and sidewaters of the Stikine River. See the river and its glaciers and valley's by air, flying through the spectacular coastal mountains. For a more leisurely trip, canoes, kayaks, and rafts are available locally.

Wrangell is an excellent staging area for guided or personal float trips from Telegraph Creek in British Columbia. Telegraph Creek is a small historic town 160 miles upriver from Wrangell. Visit the Garnet Ledge, located at the mouth of the Stikine River. It is the site of a historic garnet mine. Wrangell's children dig the semi precious stones to offer as visitor souvenirs.

Local operators can custom design trips or provide a combination of boat and flightseeing opportunities. Go to the Travel Directory for links to operators providing excursions on the Stikine River.

Click any thumbnail image to view a slideshow

Jetboat Visiting Shakes Glacier
Kayaking on the Stikine River
Wrangell Garnets
Garnet Sellers