How to Get to Prince of Wales Island
Getting to Prince of Wales Island isn't the easiest task, but it is well worth the effort! The lack of a major airport and no cruise ship port means that the towns are still small and quaint, and only the most adventurous people are the ones who come to visit!
The most common way to get to Prince of Wales Island is via Ketchikan. In the summer months, air service is on Alaska Airlines or Delta. (Only Alaska Air serves the area in winter.) Both flights originate in Seattle. If you've never been to Ketchikan, the airport is a little...different. The runway lies between a mountain and Tongass Narrows-the waterway directly to the east. If you plan on leaving the Ketchikan airport without immediately catching another flight, you'll have to take the airport ferry over to the town side ($6 ferry fare).
To fly on a commercial airline to Ketchikan, use either:
Taquan Air float plane landing in Craig
Once you are in Ketchikan, you again have several options. You can get to POW (as it is called locally) by a small plane or a ferry.
Island Air www.islandairx.com This POW air service is based in Klawock and flies IFR which means they can fly in the clouds even when the float planes are grounded. This is an excellent and reliable service. They pick you up from the Ketchikan airport and you'll be on POW in half an hour! They also provide service from Juneau as of 2018.
Pacific Airways www.flypacificairways.com Pacific Air flies float planes from Ketchikan to several locations on POW. They will pick you up at the airport or the "town side".
Taquan Air www.taquanair.com Taquan also flies float planes to POW.
Both float plane services may be grounded at any given time due to weather but they are a fun option-especially if you've never flown in one and you're not in a hurry! It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to get to most towns on POW from Ketchikan.
One other option is to fly on Alaska Seaplanes out of Juneau. This carrier is providing services to Prince of Wales from
Pacific Air float plane landing in Craig
Getting to Prince of Wales via waterways is a slower, less costly, and very scenic way to arrive. The Alaska Marine Highway runs an extensive ferry system all along the coast of Alaska. The routes begin in Bellingham, WA, just north of Seattle. The trip takes about 36 hours and you can get a stateroom on the ferry or just sleep in the lounge or in a tent on the stern. A road trip through Canada would put you at the ferry terminal in Prince Rupert, which is just a short 6 hour ferry ride to Ketchikan. From the north, the ferries arrive in Ketchikan usually from Wrangell (and from further up the line-Haines, Skagway, Juneau, and Petersburg.) However, the Alaska Marine Highway does not serve Prince of Wales. At the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Ketchikan, there is also the Inter-Island Ferry Authority terminal, which serves Prince of Wales Island.
Alaska Marine Highway System http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/
Inter-Island Ferry Authority www.interislandferry.com
Whether you arrive on a commercial jet or the Alaska Marine Highway, you can catch the Inter-Island Ferry to POW. It is a very reliable and safe mode of transportation to POW and there is one run each day. The ferry departs Ketchikan at 3:30 pm every afternoon and arrives in Hollis at 6:30 pm. The ferry departs Hollis at 8:00 am each day and arrives in Ketchikan around 11:00am. If you are traveling to POW without a vehicle you can have a rental staged for you in Hollis by several local car rental companies.
- Rainforest Auto Rentals www.craigakcarrentals.com/
- Hollis Adventure Rentals www.harentals.com
- Wesley Rentals www.wesleyrentals.com/
The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry M/V Columbia often runs the long route between Bellingham WA and Ketchikan (and other destinations.)
Float plane flying into Craig on a sunny afternoon.
The Inter-Island Ferry Authority M/V Stikine runs daily between Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island.
Here are links and more information to make your trip to Prince of Wales a trip of a lifetime! There are many great lodging options available; the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Guide are great resources to find lodging throughout the island.
Prince of Wales Excursion Outfitters: skiff rental, 4-wheeler rentals, kayak & canoe rentals, and camping equipment rentals.
USFS Cabin Rentals:This is the official site to reserve the various cabins found on the island. The Craig Ranger District and Thorne Bay Ranger District are excellent resources for more information about cabins and other Forest Service facilities.
Alaska Island Life Cultural and adventure tours from a knowledgable local source with deep cultural and historical ties to the region. Hiking, kayaking, and more.
Go Explore Alaska An independent source for information about visiting Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.
Water Street Apartments Located near shopping, dining, and the harbors, these apartments with kitchenettes are perfect for comfortable and convenient lodging in the heart of Craig.