Nestled in a mixed forest of evergreens and deciduous trees at the edge of Chilkat Inlet in Southeast Alaska, Chilkat State Park sits about seven miles south of the town of Haines and stretches across 6,049 acres. This Southeast Alaska state park offers world-class views of Rainbow and Davidson Glaciers, exceptional salmon fishing, and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities—making it an ideal choice for your next RV adventure.
While fishing and glacier views are two of the major draws to Chilkat State Park, the park has plenty of additional features sure to attract visitors of all sorts. The park offers a boat launch that provides access to the inlet and excellent opportunities for sea kayaking, where visitors can hope to spot some of the many species around, ranging from sea lions and whales in the water, to bears and moose on land, to eagles and owls overhead. Visitors who would prefer to explore this 6,000-acre state park by foot can take advantage of the park’s three hiking trails, which take visitors through the woods, along the beach, and up to phenomenal views of the area.
Chilkat State Park offers 35 total campsites with minimal amenities that can be claimed on a first-come, first-serve basis, accessible via a steep access road that requires very cautious driving. Given the harsh cold of Alaskan winters, the campground is open from mid-May to October, so visitors eager to enjoy the stunning vistas from a quiet campsite at Chilkat State Park should make sure to plan their visit accordingly.
Located in Southeast Alaska, Chillkat State Park is fairly remote and requires driving through some difficult conditions to reach, but the stunning landscape, quiet campgrounds, and diverse recreation options make the challenges worthwhile.
This Alaska state park sits seven miles south of the town of Haines on Mud Bay Road, which is a paved road until the last mile, when it becomes a wide gravel road. Visitors should be prepared for the final stretch along the access road: the last quarter mile of the road to reach the campground is a 14% grade gravel road with possible large potholes and washboard conditions. Visitors with large rigs should consider scoping out the road before deciding to attempt it. Once inside the campground, visitors will find gravel sites that can accommodate rigs of up to 35 feet long.
For food, gas, and other supplies, visitors can plan to leave the park and head to the nearby town of Haines a few miles away, which has grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, and other stores.
Chilkat State Park has 35 total campsites, four of which are walk-in sites and 31 of which are drive-in sites. The sites do not have hookups of any kind, but visitors can make use of water pumps and vault toilets. There is no dump station inside the park, so visitors will have to plan accordingly. The sites also feature fire rings and can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. The campground at Chilkat State Park offers a mix of pull-through and back-in sites for visitors to choose from. These campsites are claimed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the camping season runs from mid-May to October, so visitors eager to stay the night at Chilkat State Park should time their trip accordingly. In the summer season, visitors can stop by the log cabin interpretive center to gather information and reference materials from the summer hosts.
One of the major draws of Chilkat State Park is its stellar fishing opportunities. The park is an especially popular spot for anglers hoping to catch salmon, as the park’s boat launch provides access to the inlet and the run of king salmon in early June. Anglers will be happy to hear that the Chilkat River is the most productive coho spawning and rearing area in Southeast Alaska, and also provides great habitat for wild sockeye, Chinook, and chum salmon runs.
Chilkat State Park enjoys a unique location between Chilkat Inlet to its west and Chilkoot Inlet to its east, with Chilkat Islands State Marine Park and Sullivan Island State Marine Park to the south. With so much to explore in the area on the water, Chilkat State Park offers great opportunities for boating in this breathtaking part of Alaska. Visitors can make use of the park’s boat lunch, which gives boaters access to the inlet and the remarkable views of the area from the water.
Another great way to explore this Alaska state park is to enjoy sea kayaking around the inlet by launching from the park. Sea kayakers will get additional stunning views of the surrounding mountains and nearby islands, and may even catch a glimpse of some of the many gorgeous animals both in the water and on land: kayakers should look out for whales, sea lions, and porpoises in the water, and can try to spy on bears and mountain goats across the inlet on land.
Visitors eager to stretch their legs and explore Chilkat State Park on foot will have plenty of hiking trails to keep them busy. The park offers three hiking trails, which range from easy to very challenging. For an easy hike, visitors can hop on Seduction Point Trail from the campground area, which follows the coast and winds between the beach and the woods for seven miles one way. For a more difficult hike, visitors can check out Mount Riley Trail, which has a steep vertical rise, but rewards hikers with an incredible view of the whole area. Bears frequent the park, so hikers should be sure to make noise while hiking to alert bears of their presence.
As a fairly remote park in Southeast Alaska, Chilkat State Park boasts stellar wildlife viewing opportunities for the patient visitor. Visitors can look out for bears, mountain goats, and even moose throughout the park. The information center also has wildlife spotting scopes so visitors can spot the inlet wildlife, which includes animals such as harbor seals, harbor porpoises, humpback and killer whales, and Steller sea lions. Visitors can also look out for birds in the park including bald eagles, common loons, trumpeter swans, boreal owls, and kingfishers.
While Chilkat State Park has plenty to offer in terms of recreation, the park’s incredible scenery and surrounding views are enough to warrant a visit on their own. The park and the Haines area more generally are uniquely situated as an intersection between the interior of North America and the waters of the Inside Passage, encircled by water and mountain ranges. The mountain ranges in the area are the Chilkat Range, Takinsha Mountains, Takshanuk Mountains, and Coast Mountains, and visitors to Chilkat State Park can soak up world-class views of Rainbow and Davidson Glaciers in the Chilkat Range right from the park’s information center.