2009 Inside Passage

I will be doing the SE Alaska Inside passage this summer, starting in Sitka and working north through Glacier bay and then down south. I have received a great deal of tips and advice on this trip, but thought I would post here and see if I could get some more last minute advice or meet others doing all or parts of this route. A great deal of thanks goes out to Joseph R, for his great advice and GPS coordinates.

If anyone else is doing the trip, I will be in a bright orange NDK explorer should we cross paths. I start the beginning of May and will be taking the long path, ending in September. Photos, video, and blogs will be used to document the trip.

Safe travels to all,


Where do you…
…plan to finish your trip?

Get the book
There’s a guide to the Inside Passage that was published within the last few years. I don’t have it in front of me but it’s a pretty thick paperback.

I bought it a couple years after paddling the section from Ketchikan to Skagway. Finding camping spots on that stretch wasn’t much of a problem.

I’ll try to dig up that book and post author’s name here.

Robert Miller’s Book
I am guessing that is what you are referring to? I have talked to Mr. Miller and he is sending me all of the addendum pages that have been written since first publication. It should be very informative.

My current plan is to evaluate conditios, weather and time of year once I get to Ketchikan after doing the Misty Fjords. This will be sometime around September and if time & body permit, I will continue on down to Seattle, otherwise I will stop there. The current route laid out getting to Ketchikan (with all the side trips and nooks and crannies is ~1300 miles)

Late spring
Be sure to consider the amount of snow at sea-level if you are thinking of traveling though Southeast Alaska early this season. There is still 2-3 feet on north and east facing beaches. Last year’s late spring left snow and cold weather through June, it will be as long or longer this season.

Recent Resources…
Read “Homelands” by Byron Ricks to get your mind right.

Consider westcoastpaddler.com. They have a link to campsites for much of your trip. You can find it here: http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/viewforum.php?f=13

Also consider buying John Kimantas’ books “the Wild Coast 2” & the Wild Coast 3". Visit his website at: http://www.thewildcoast.ca/

Post specific questions at:


Send a message to “Salty” requesting specific advice. You can find him on this site.

Unless you are planning on just blowing through the central BC coast consider reading up on Kayak Bill and maybe include his camps in your route. The best article is here:


Consider contacting the author directly if you are serious.

There is a guy at ripplewake.ca/forum who can provide some beta on the area from Burnett Bay to Port Hardy. Pay attenion to the Slingsby Channel stuff. Reference back to Byron Ricks.

Do a search for “lyngo” at this site. She and a friend paddled from Shearwater to Port Hardy a couple of years ago and will be willing to help.

Read “The Golden Spruce”.

If you haven’t already consider reading anything on isostactic rebound following the last ice age on the SE Alaska and BC Coasts. It will change your thought process and maybe your trip plan.

For campsite info between Klemtu and Shearwater read : http://3meterswell.blogspot.com/

Take it or leave it, your call.


Yes, that’s the book

– Last Updated: Mar-29-09 6:26 PM EST –

Also read Tim Lydon's "Passage To Alaska" which is less a route log than a journal about two buddies who kayaked from Port Hardy to Juneau. Lydon worked as a Forest Service kayak ranger, and he includes some excellent sidebars about flora, fauna, and other environmental elements.

Lydon and his friend apparently had some of the same "group dynamics" issues we did. You're smart to be doing it alone. I know some people would vehemently disagree, citing "safety", but if you have the skills and judgment, you will eliminate the problems that inevitably arise from strong-willed people being thrown together day and night with nobody else around.

I wish I had read these books BEFORE my trip, not after. Not that it would have made any difference. I'd have gone anyway and I'm glad I did.

What really surprised me was that we only met TWO other long-distance paddlers on the entire stretch. They were each alone. I had expected that paddling some or all of the IP was like hiking the AT or PCT or CO Trail: lots of takers. That was definitely not the case. Maybe most of them do it in July instead of June, when we did it.

One of the guys had started in Skagway and was going south. He had blithely planned to paddle to Seattle in 6 weeks and clearly would not make that schedule. He was also totally new to kayaking. We don't know if he completed his intended journey.

The other guy had started at the end of March in Seattle and said he might turn around in Skagway and paddle all the way back, too. We ran into him about 10 days into our own trip and then again when we reached Skagway. He had done many long-distance solo trips, both on bike and in a kayak. We shared some cookies and rum to celebrate our arrivals.

September in SE AK is supposed to be very unpredictable with lots of ups and downs in weather. Keep that ferry schedule on hand, just in case.

I'll be looking to your blog. Good luck, and have a great trip!

Thanks for the input
Just wanted to say thanks to all that responded. Jon, I will definitely follow up on those links and contacts.


I’ll be paddling from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy between mid July and mid-August. Maybe we’ll run into each other.