+26 Float Plane From Ketchikan To Prince Of Wales Island

de Havilland Float Plane Boat Return Ketchikan Alaska July 2007
de Havilland Float Plane Boat Return Ketchikan Alaska July 2007 from swt.org


Welcome to the breathtaking beauty of Southeast Alaska, where adventure awaits at every turn. If you're looking for a unique way to explore the region, consider taking a float plane from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island. This scenic journey will not only provide you with stunning aerial views but also offer you the opportunity to experience the untamed wilderness of this remote island. In this article, we will delve into the details of this unforgettable float plane adventure, highlighting the sights, activities, and logistical aspects of the trip.

The Float Plane Experience

Aerial Views

As your float plane takes off from Ketchikan, be prepared to be amazed by the bird's-eye view of the surrounding landscape. From the window of the aircraft, you'll witness the vast expanse of Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the United States. The lush greenery, snow-capped mountains, and crystal-clear lakes will leave you in awe of nature's grandeur.

Island Hopping

During the flight, you'll have the opportunity to hop between several islands, each with its own unique charm. From the air, you'll see the rugged coastline, dotted with secluded bays and hidden coves. Keep your camera ready, as you might spot marine wildlife such as seals, sea lions, or even whales as they swim in the pristine waters below.

Smooth Landing on Prince of Wales Island

After a scenic journey, your float plane will touch down on Prince of Wales Island, the third-largest island in the United States. The smooth landing on the water will be an experience in itself, as you glide effortlessly onto the calm surface of a secluded bay. From there, your adventure on the island begins.

Exploring Prince of Wales Island

Wilderness and Wildlife

Prince of Wales Island is a nature lover's paradise, with vast wilderness areas and diverse ecosystems. The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles, and numerous bird species. Exploring the island's trails and forests will give you a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and encounter these magnificent creatures in their native habitat.

Fishing Opportunities

If you're an angler, Prince of Wales Island offers some of the best fishing in Alaska. The island's rivers and lakes teem with salmon, trout, and other fish species, providing ample opportunities for a memorable fishing experience. Whether you prefer fly fishing, spin casting, or trolling, you'll find plenty of spots to cast your line and reel in the big catch.

Hiking and Camping

For those seeking an active outdoor adventure, Prince of Wales Island boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. From leisurely strolls through ancient forests to challenging hikes up mountains, there's something for everyone. Camping is also a popular activity on the island, allowing you to immerse yourself in the wilderness and spend nights under the starry Alaskan sky.

Native Culture and History

Prince of Wales Island is rich in native culture and history, with a significant population of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people. Take the opportunity to learn about their traditions, visit cultural centers, and witness traditional ceremonies. You can also explore ancient totem pole sites, which serve as a testament to the island's indigenous heritage.

Planning Your Float Plane Trip

Choosing a Float Plane Operator

Before embarking on your float plane adventure, it's essential to choose a reputable and experienced float plane operator. Look for companies with a strong safety record, knowledgeable pilots, and well-maintained aircraft. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from locals or fellow travelers can help you make an informed decision.

Booking and Cost

Float plane trips from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island can be booked in advance through the respective float plane operators. Prices may vary depending on the duration of the flight, number of stops, and additional services offered. It's advisable to check the operator's website or contact them directly to inquire about availability, schedules, and costs.

What to Pack

When preparing for your float plane trip, be sure to pack essentials such as layered clothing, a waterproof jacket, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery. If you plan on hiking or camping, bring appropriate gear, including a backpack, water bottle, and camping equipment.

Duration of the Trip

The duration of the float plane trip from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island can vary depending on the route and weather conditions. On average, the flight takes around 45 minutes to an hour. However, it's essential to check with your float plane operator for the exact duration and any potential delays.

Accommodation Options

Prince of Wales Island offers a range of accommodation options, including lodges, cabins, and campgrounds. Whether you prefer the comfort of a cozy lodge or the ruggedness of camping, you'll find suitable places to stay on the island. It's advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.


A float plane journey from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island is an adventure like no other. From the aerial views of Southeast Alaska's pristine wilderness to the exploration of the island's rugged landscapes, this experience will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, an avid angler, or a culture seeker, Prince of Wales Island offers something for everyone. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for an unforgettable float plane adventure in the heart of Alaska's untamed beauty.