Region 1 North: Yakutat / Cordova Area
Region 1 (north) consists of the area surrounding Yakutat and Cordova. It's home to moose, brown bear, deer, and some excellent fishing opportunities.
The Road System
Other than a limited road system in the Cordova area, Region 1 (north) is accessed by boat or airplane. In the Cordova area, the road system is 47 miles in length and extends from the town of Cordova north to the "Million Dollar Bridge" over the Copper River. This bridge collaped during the 1964 "Good Friday" earthquake that struck Alaska on March 27, 1964. It has never been rebuilt. The road is mostly gravel and traverses the wetlands of the Copper River Delta. As a result of the bridge collapse, Cordova has no road access to the rest of the state. Still, the existing road system is used by sportsmen to access recreational cabins in the area, along with rivers where fishing and hunting opportunities occur.
Region 1 (north) contains a few cabins that are available for use by the general public. These cabins are controlled by either the state or federal government, and most require advance reservations, with nightly user fees. Amenities are spartan; expect to find an outhouse, bunks with no bedding or mattresses, no food, no dishes or cookstove, and no power or running water. Some have rain barrels for water sources, or in other cases, you can obtain fresh water from a nearby creek or lake (filter it or you could risk a case of giardia). Most have wood-fired or oil-fired stoves for heat. See our Public-Use Cabins page for locations, recommended gear, reservation and contact information.
Several cabins are available in the Cordova area, a few of which are available from the road system.
- McKinley Trail Cabin. 12'X14', sleeps 6, woodstove (bring your own or cut your own wood). Located on the road system on the Copper River Highway, about 20 miles out of Cordova. CLICK HERE for availability, rates, and reservations.
- McKinley Lake Cabin. 16'X20', sleeps 6, woodstove (bring or cut your own firewood), rainwater catchment barrel. Located on McKinley Lake, 2.25 miles from the McKinley trailhead. CLICK HERE for availability, rates, and reservations.
- Power Creek Cabin. 12'X20', sleeps 8, wood stove, rainwater catchment barrel. Bring or cut your own firewood. Accessed via a 4.2 mile hike on Power Creek Trail near Cordova. CLICK HERE for availability, rates, and reservations.
- Tideman Slough Cabin. 12'X14', sleeps 6, oil stove, rainwater catchment barrel. Bring your own heating oil. Located on the east bank of Tideman Slough, and is accessible only by boat from the Alaganik boat ramp. Must be accessed at high tide. CLICK HERE for availability, rates, and reservations.
Check our Public-Use Cabins page for locations, recommended gear, reservations, and contact information. Also take a look at our Gear Pages for recommendations on sleeping bags, pads, cots, and the like.
Cruise ships ply the waters of Southeast during the summer tour season, which begins in May and continues into September. Some cruise ships continue northward to Yakutat, Cordova, Valdez and Whittier or Seward.
Several items are available in our bookstore that can familiarize you with how Alaska cruises operate and what to expect. For many the most important of these resources is The Alaska Cruise Handbook, by Joe Upton. This is truly the bible of cruise guides for southeast Alaska, taking you mile-by-mile along the major cruise routes and through the various ports of call. Includes many details such as local history, native culture, local activities including walks and hikes, and area shopping. Normally available only on the cruise ships themselves, they are available in our bookstore AT THIS LINK.
Other resources about cruises can be found in the list below:
- Alaska the Cruise Lover's Guide, by Paul and Audrey Grescoe
- Alaska's Inside Passage (DVD), by John Hoold
- Alaska's Inside Passage (DVD), by Alaska Video Postcards
- Cruising to Alaska (DVD), by Alaska Video Postcards
- Marine Mammals of Alaska, by Kate Wynne
- The Nature of Alaska, by James Kavanaugh
The Alaska Marine Highway System
The State of Alaska operates a ferry system in Southeast that is second to none. Northbound ships out of Bellingham, Washington may visit Prince Rupert (in British Columbia) before continuing on to Metlakatla, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake, Sitka, Angoon, Juneau, and Hoonah before terminating in Haines or Skagway (for those who which to continue the northward journey by car). The schedule varies somewhat from winter (October through April) and summer (May through September). Amenities include staterooms (must be reserved well in advance), bathrooms with showers, hot and cold meals and drinks for purchase, alcoholic beverages, and much more. For travelers on a budget, sleeper recliners are available, tents can be set up in certain areas aboard ship, or you can simply roll out your sleeping bag for a night under the stars. You can even bring a cooler along with your own food if you prefer. The schedule allows stops at any of several towns along the way, so if you want to take a few days off for shore-based recreation, fishing, or sight-seeing, the opportunities are there for the taking. Visit the Alaska Marine Highway website for schedule and pricing information. Or visit their YouTube site for video snapshots of the ships, the amenities, and to discover this unique transportation system for yourself.
|Route Segment||Running Time||Naut. Miles||Stat. Miles||
The Alaska Marine Highway
|Prince Rupert-Ketchikan||6 hours||91||103|
Most of the cities, towns, and villages in Region 1 provide access for wheeled aircraft and/or seaplane access. Additionally, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, and Yakutat also offer regularly-scheduled jet service in and out of the area from Anchorage and Seattle.
The greatest challenge facing private pilots in this area is the weather. Be sure to check NOAA's Alaska Aviation Weather Unit and other pilot weather services before taking off for Southeast Alaska.
The Yakutat / Cordova area lacks the sheltering barrier islands or the long narrow fjords found in Southeast or in the Prince William Sound area, so boating along the coastline usually consists of dodging the weather and either getting through the area, or holing up in the harbor until it clears off. That said, there are a handful of rivers that are worthy of note.
The rivers in the Yakutat / Cordova area are relatively short and accessed on foot or via boat or airplane in the tidewater area. Check our Master River Page for a listing of over 500 river systems across the state, together with print, map, and DVD resources featuring these rivers, some of which are in Southeast Alaska.
CAUTION: Before embarking on a river trip anywhere in Alaska, do your homework! Double-check your information against details from your air charter, get flow information from the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC), and other floaters. Check our Boating Forums for discussions with people who have been there. If you are not familiar with the characteristics of Alaska's rivers, read our River Information pages for a general orientation, and a list of resources to get you started on the learning process.
The northern panhandle area has some of the best saltwater salmon fishing in the state of Alaska. You can base your trip out of any of dozens of lodges, or fly out to a remote cabin where you can motor along in a rented boat. Halibut, rockfish, and lingcod are found in abundance here, and freshwater anglers can pursue cutthroat, rainbow, and brook trout. Some river systems also offer excellent steelhead fishing. Check the links below for specific details on each area.
Yakutat is a small town with big opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Commercial services exist for both fisheries, but are limited to a handful of operators. Check our Directory for specific listings.
The crown jewel of Yakutat freshwater fishing is the spring steelhead run on the Situk River. Anglers from around the world converge on the Situk in April, in anticipation of the arrival of this pristine run of wild steelhead. The sea-run Dolly and cutthroat trout fishery also draw its own specialists, and there are opportunities for brook trout along with rainbow trout and all five species of pacific salmon which can be caught in local streams.
The offshore fishery is home to king, silver, sockeye, pink and chum salmon, halibut, various kinds of rockfish (including yelloweye) and lingcod, along with sea-run cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden. Yakutat is protected by barrier islands that offer excellent cover for several of these species, so charter boat anglers can be on the fishing grounds just a few minutes out of the harbor. Check out our chart below, to determine the best time of the year for the species you are interested in.
Peak Fishing Times for Yakutat Marine Fisheries
Cordova is best known for its active commercial salmon fishery, however, numerous sport fishing opportunities exist in the area either off the limited road system or out in the salt. Here's an overview.
Cordova has about 50 miles of dirt and gravel road extending north from town to the banks of the Copper River, at the "Million Dollar Bridge" near Miles Lake. The bridge was originally used to support a rail line from the copper mine at Kennicott to the port of Cordova. The mine was eventually depleted and an effort was made to convert the bridge to highway use to link Cordova with the Chitina area and out to Alaska's highway system, but one span of the bridge shifted off it's footing following the 1964 earthquake. The span has since been placed back on its footing, however, the highway project halted and several sections of it, along the Copper River toward Chitina, have eroded away and are no longer usable.
Be that as it may, the highway between Cordova and the bridge provides access to several freshwater streams that allow fishing for both sockeye and silver salmon, along with rainbow and cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden. Of particular interest are Clear Creek, Ibeck Creek, and the Eyak River.
The saltwater fishery out of Cordova provides for a variety of species including king, silver, and sockeye salmon, together with halibut and rockfish. Some clamming is available for razor clams, littlenecks, and butter clams. Crabbing is closed, however, there are shrimping opportunities in the area.
Region 1 Hunting Opportunities
The state of Alaska is divided into 26 Game Management Units (GMU), some of which are divided further into sub-units. Each of these units or sub-units may contain different species, different seasons, and different legal requirements for hunting. GMUs are aggregated into regional groupings, and each of these regions operates under the oversight of a team of ADFG employees, including area biologists who are responsible for game management in their assigned portions of the region. There are five regions in the state of Alaska. Outdoors Directory uses these regions to divide the state into smaller pieces, for the sake of organization. When you plan your Alaska hunt, you need to know both the GMU in which you will be hunting and the region. In this way, you can ensure you are following the correct regulations for the area, and you know which regional biologist to contact for details about that area. CLICK HERE for a map that shows all regions, GMUs and sub-units.
Region 1 (north) contains GMU 5.
The geography and climate of southeast Alaska provide ideal habitat for a variety of big game. Sitka black-tailed deer are found throughout the region, and can be hunted either on the mainland or on any of several islands in the area. Goats are indigenous to the coastal mountains and it is possible to access good goat country either by light aircraft or by boat. Moose are found on the Yakutat Forelands, and in the muskeg swamps and bogs near Cordova. The difficulty in Cordova is access. Many successful moose hunters here use airboats to navigate the boggy areas.
Visit our Southeast Alaska regional hunting information page for detailed information on geography, weather, transportation, species, seasons, & RealAudio (TM) interviews.
Want to learn how to hunt the species that inhabit Region 1? Visit our species pages, which provide information on species biology, distribution, and how to hunt the various species available in this region. A complete resource list on each species is also provided.
ADF&G Region 1 Information
For general Southeast Alaska hunting information and regulations information, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Hunting Information Page, PO Box 240020, Douglas, AK 99824-0020. Tel. (907) 465-4265, FAX: (907) 465-4272.
ADF&G Management and Harvest Reports, a vital hunt-planning tool, can be found AT THIS LINK. Reports are listed in sequential order by species. For detailed research into population trends, review several reports. For more recent data contact the area biologist. Region 1 biologists can be contacted at the ADF&G office in Douglas. The phone number is 1 (907) 465-4265.