Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles

State: Alaska
Length: 44 miles / 70.81 km
Time to Allow: Allow a few hours to fully see this byway.

For a shorter byway, visit the Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles with 44 miles close to Juneau on the little strip by the coast connecting to Canada that you can drive in an hour. The highway offers access to the coast and the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. It connects the Inland Passage all the way to the Yukon Territory on Alaska Highway 7. The route parallels with the Chilkat River, which protects the Chilcat Bald Eagles. This route is not glacier-fed like the majority of Alaska, meaning it’s open year-round.

Start at Haines in the East for gorgeous views of lakes and mountains. In town, you can find the Kroshel Films Wildlife Center for viewing animals, including moose and more. Of course, you will want to visit the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve not just for the birds but for the impressive terrain and the river. Visit a few museums, too, including the Hammer Museum and the American Bald Eagle Foundation.

Relax at the Chilkoot Lake State Recreation area and Chilkat State Park. The area offers access for RV’s and campsites along with water, bathrooms, historical features, and a boat launch. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and enjoy views of the mountain with tons of foliage. Mount Riley sits right there with access to trails. You might even see wildlife, including seals, porpoises, and whales. Off the water, you can spot bears and mountain goats close to Battery Point Trail, ready for adventure.

From there, head to Klukwan, a Tlingit Indian village with cultural tours. Nearby you can go gold panning at Porcupine Creek. The area offers day trips, art galleries, shops, and tons of outdoor areas making this a Mecca for explorers. Head over the Chilkat River Bridget toward Mosquito Lake Recreation Site with five campsites and a spruce and hemlock forest next to the lake. With a boat launch and picnic area, it’s a perfect place to spend a day.

Covenant Life is a small town on the Klehini river. Nearby you have access to the Chilkat River and Tsirku River. It’s a great place to drive through but not to spend the night. Instead, continue on to the Mile 33 Roadhouse. The location offers rental cabins year-round and even snow machine rentals. Take your RV or a tent for seasonal camping with breakfast, lunch, and dinner served on site. All this with impressive views of snow-capped mountains.

While a small byway, the route originally was used by the Chilkat Tlingit traders before becoming the Dalton Trail. It was used for the Klondike Gold rush in the late 1800s. From this location, you can drive several hours down to Juneau to visit the state capital and visit all the little inlets along the coast. You are also close to Canada if you wish to visit more wilderness and experience an extended adventure. Otherwise, simply enjoy the local culture around Haines and enjoy the sights of the river, mountains, and eagles.

More Alaska Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Alaska by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Alaska Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.