Haines, Alaska

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Haines lies in one of the most scenic areas of Alaska, the Chilkat Valley. The town is located on the shores of Lynn Canal, America’s longest fjord, between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers with the Chilkat Mountains to the west and the Coast Range on the east. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush natural areas and abundant wildlife, this small community is one of our favorites.

The Tlingit Indians, the original inhabitants of the region, developed a trail for trade purposes between the interior and the coast. “Dei Shu,” the Tlingit name for this area meant “end of the trail.” Klukwan, the present day mother village for the Tlingit Nation, is located 22 miles outside the city.

In the late 1870’s, S. Hall Young and famed naturalist John Muir established a Presbyterian mission here. Eventually, the mission and the tiny town surrounding it were named in honor of Francina E. Haines. She was the Secretary of the Presbyterian Women’s Executive Society of Home Missions and had raised funds for the mission.

During the late 1880’s Jack Dalton, a well known historical figure and entrepreneur, improved the Tlingit trade route establishing the “Dalton Trail.” This trail offered an easier route to prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush and the city grew as a mining supply center. Gold was also discovered about 36 miles away in the Porcupine mining district.

In 1898, the United States established a military presence in the area due to the U.S.-Canada boundary dispute during the Klondike Gold Rush. Fort William H. Seward, named for the secretary of state who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, was the first permanent U.S. military installation and the only U.S. Army post in Alaska until World War II. The fort was deactivated in 1946, purchased by a group of veterans and developed into local businesses and arts centers. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark.

Haines is a bald eagle haven. Just northwest of the city is the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Every fall thousands of eagles are drawn here by the late salmon run. Throughout the summer months a large resident population provides plenty of sighting opportunities. Superb fishing, excellent hiking trails right from town and outdoor recreation pursuits for all levels and interests are available.

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This port is not on every Inside Passage cruise itinerary and is not as touristy as others. If your ship doesn’t stop here you can still visit by taking the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry from Skagway. It’s a 45-minute scenic trip and costs $68 round-trip for adults, $34 for children (12 & under).

You can easily stroll around town in an hour or two. A 1.6 mile long self-guided walking tour brochure is available at the visitor center. The town is friendly and charming, full of Tlingit culture and history.


The town enjoys a mild climate and some of the sunniest weather in Southeast Alaska due to the influence of interior weather patterns. Summer temperatures range from 46 to 66. Average annual precipitation is 52".

Getting Ashore

The Port Chilkoot Dock is located directly in front of historical Fort William H. Seward and within walking distance of most of the town's main attractions.

What time is it?

Haines is located in the Alaska Time Zone.

  • Standard Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -9 hours.
  • Daylight Saving Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -8 hours.
  • Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October.


As part of the continental United States, English is universally spoken.

How To Pay

U.S. currency is used and accepted, as are all major credit cards. Local sales tax is 5.5%.

Where's The Money

An ATM is available at the First National Bank located near Main Street and 2nd Avenue.

Staying In Touch

The Post Office is located at 55 Haines Highway.

Internet Access is available through the Haines Borough Library located at 111 3rd Ave. There are eight public computer terminals available.

Just in case

Hospital - Lynn Canal Medical Clinic is located on 1st Avenue near the visitor center. The hospital can be reached at (907) 766-6300.

Police - For nonemergency business, call (907) 766-2121.

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