Rainforest Sanctuary, Totem Park & Eagles

Take a naturalist-guided walk through a Ketchikan rainforest sanctuary and wildlife preserve.

The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary is a 40-acre private preserve of temperate rainforest bordering the Tongass National Forest. Take a guided nature walk exploring the wildlife and ecology of the preserve. Visit a historic sawmill, explore a totem park, and view a featured raptor at the Alaska Raptor Center Ketchikan exhibit.

Here’s how your rainforest exploration will surprise and delight you. 

You’ll start out with a scenic eight-mile coastal drive to rustic Herring Cove and the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a temperate rainforest, nestled into the Tongass National Forest. When you arrive, a naturalist guide will be on hand to take you on a 0.75 mile guided rainforest exploration along an improved trail amongst stands of hemlock, spruce and cedar trees. The forest floor is covered with mosses, wild flowers and a variety of berries. Your guide will lead you to a protected open estuary where you follow Herring Creek along an elevated wooden boardwalk overlooking grassy wetlands.

During the seasonal spawning season, bears and seals feed on salmon in Herring Creek. Bald eagles and other birds wait for scraps in the estuary. Sitka black tail deer, mink and marten also frequent the area. Weather, tides, and seasonal ecosystem changes result in varying levels and type of wildlife activity.

Everything here is alive with color and cultural history.

After your trail walk your opportunity to learn about the natural history, wildlife and cultural traditions in the region continues. You’ll be guided through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company sawmill, seeing saws and machinery that powered this mill. Keep your camera ready as you see a bald eagle at the Alaska Raptor Center exhibit. Explore the first Tsimshian totem pole park in the country with its impressive 40-foot totem and 13 poles carved by the same artist.  Before your return to town visit the General Store and pick up a souvenir of your uniquely Alaskan experience.

Please Note: This tour operates in all weather conditions.

Need to Know

2.75 hours

Comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing and waterproof jacket are recommended

Shopping opportunities are available at the General Store

Difficulty Level: Easy

This experience includes walking for short distances over relatively level terrain, possibly with a few steps or slight inclines. Participants should be able to move into and out of buses or vans.

Photo Gallery

Guest Reviews

They Went the Extra Mile – Thank You!

My wife, myself plus another couple tried to book a trip to Anan a few months in advance of our trip this past July. Every float plane company we called said that we were too late to book as there are only 60 visitor permits for this park issued for each day. All except one company and one person. A special SHOUT OUT to Danita Scott for convincing me to trust her and her going the extra mile to make this trip happen!! She was the only one to contact me back and inform me that 48 or 72 hours prior to the day we wanted to go 12 more permits are released and she would do all she could to obtain four permits for us. Our group committed money down to hold a float plane that would be refundable if the permits were not obtained. Danita and our tour guide AJ came through for us and got the permits! Now for the rest of the story.

A van picked us outside the cruise ship and took us to the Taquan Air offices. There we met our lovely and talented pilot Amanda (I think my name memory if right) and A.J. our guide. Our pilot could me a model but chose to be a pilot. Our group was glad she was our pilot. She took us and our guide on about a 45 minute float plane ride to Anan to see bears eat salmon from the stream.

Once arriving to the site our guide A.J. took control. A.J. had a pistol on his hip and a shotgun on his side. Our group was guided on about a 3/4 mile hike to an area controlled by the park to observe the bears. There are platforms at this site over the stream and also a blind that observers get 15 minutes at a time to watch the bears up close and personal. While we were there for a couple hours we observed over 20 different black bears coming to the stream to fish. Eagles flying all over too. It was AMAZING! It was like we were in the zoo cage (platform with only rails) and the bears were out in the open. The stream was "black" with so many salmon. A.J. did a great job explaining all the nature in the area and some of his past experiences. Our pilot was waiting for us after we hiked back to the start of the trail.

This tour is not always available since the fish do not always run the stream. Taquan Air Tours offer other options that can be purchased. This was one of the two top tours our group took while in Alaska for twelve days. We are so thankful Danita Scott talked me into trusting her and Taquan Air. You just start to wonder when you are asked to pay half in advance to someone you have never met!

THANK YOU to everyone involved from our Iowa group!

travelbugIowa - Iowa

Rainforest Sanctuary

My husband and I visited this Sanctuary whilst in Ketchikan. Our experiences there were absolutely amazing. Our guides Rylee and Savannah were fantastic. As our group was very quiet whilst walking on the board walks we were privileged to see a bear wander under one of the walkways into the creek and start playing with and catching salmon. She left one at the shoreline and then a mother bear and cub walked underneath and grabbed the left salmon. Being able to watch the bears in their natural environment was truly amazing.

Ann-Marie A

Thoroughly enjoyable – especially seeing a bald eagle and black bears in the wild

This was a real turn up for the books for us! We visited the forest as part of a guided tour from our cruise, and in addition to a very interesting nature walk led by our guide, Megan, when we reached the estuary full of salmon, we were rewarded with a sighting of not one, but two black bears appearing at the banks to feed, plus a scary looking bald eagle looking down from up above. Lots of other birdlife, including ravens and a giant blue heron, as well as the Raptor Centre and totem pole carver.

PVilly - United Kingdom