Alaska's oldest federally designated park was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka. All that remains of this last major conflit between Europeans and Alaska Natives is the site of the Tlingit Fort and battlefield, located within this scenic 107 acre park in a temperate rain forest.
Southeast Alaska totem poles and a temperate rain forest setting combine to provide spectacular scenery along the park's coastal trail. The trail circles back along Indian River to the visitor center. Another loop trail continues across the Indian River footbridge past the Memorial to the Russian Midshipmen who died in the Battle of Sitka.
The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of three surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished Bishop's living quarters and lavish icons in the Chapel of the Annunciation.
*Most people who end up visiting the park do so while in town from the ferry. The ferry makes the stop on the way to and from Bellingham, and stops for about 1-2 hours. There is a shuttle (with a 5 dollar fee) to be taken from the ferry terminal down to downtown. Once down there, everything can be seen in about 1 hour (very hurredly, but it is possible... I did it with my father). I would sugest visiting the Russian Bishop's House, the old Russian Cathedral, and the site of the original barinof's castle. This is definetely a town that I plan on visiting again, and spending some more time in, 2 hours is definetly not enough time.
Basic Information Sitka National Historic
Operating Hours, Seasons
Mid-May through September 30: The visitor center is open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Russian Bishop's House is open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is a $3.00 user fee.
October through Mid-May: The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Russian Bishop's House is open by appointment only. Tours are regularly scheduled on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. and Friday at 2:00 p.m.
PLANE - Small Airlines serve Sitka Airport
CAR - Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry) is the only way to get
your car to Sitka
Weather & Climate
Rain is frequent in Sitka since it is located in a temperate rain forest. Summer temperatures range from high 50's to high 60's F. Winter is rainy and snowy with temperatures from high teens to the 40's F. Rain gear and layered clothing are recommended year-round.
The Visitor Center is accessible to wheelchairs.
Camping at Sitka National Historic Park
There are no camping facilities within the park.
Activities and More Information for Sitka
National Historic Park
Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska's oldest federally designated park, was established as a federal park in 1890. It became a national monument in 1910 to commemorate the Battle of Sitka fought between the Tlingits and the Russians. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and natives of the Northwest Coast is the site of a Kiks.ádi Fort. The surroundings are largely unchanged, and with a little imagination one can conjure up scenes of the battle.
A classic combination of Northwest Coast totem poles and temperate rain forest are combined on the scenic coastal trail within the park. Alaska's District Governor John G. Brady brought a collection of totem poles to Sitka in 1905. These histories carved in cedar were rounded up from villages throughout southeastern Alaska. None of the originals came from Sitka, though this art form is very much a part of Tlingit tradition. Many poles exhibited along the park's two miles of wooded pathways are copies of deteriorating originals now in storage.
The visitor center contains ethnographic exhibits and houses the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, where visitors can watch Native artists at work.
The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of four surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished living quarters and the Chapel of the Annunciation.
Russian Bishops House
The Russian Bishop's House is one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. Imperial Russia was the dominant power in the North Pacific for over 125 years. Sitka (known as New Archangel at the time) was the Russian colonial capital. The Bishop's House was completed in 1842 and was the center of Russian Orthodox church authority in a diocese that stretched from California to Siberian Kamchatka.
The Church closed the Bishop's House in 1969. The spruce walls had rotted, the roof leaked, and the floors and doorways tilted. It was in danger of collapse. In 1973, the National Park Service obtained the property and began a 16 year project to restore the building to its 1853 appearance. The restored Russian Bishop's House offers visitors a chance to step back into history and feel and understand what it was like to live in Sitka during the Russian-American period.
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