Hike and Pack Raft into the "Fortress of the Bears"

Across Admiralty Island

Dates (6 days)

2024 Dates June 14-19


Juneau / Admiralty Island / Angoon


Pricing for 2025 coming soon

Across Admiralty Island

Our adventure will start in the the village of Angoon, the home of the Kootznoowoo Tlingit, in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, and takes us into the “Fortress of the Bears.”


The move from the capital city of Juneau to the village of Angoon, located on the west side of Admiralty Island is a dramatic one. The hustle and bustle you experienced in Juneau fades away as you arrive in this village of 450 residents in the middle of old-growth temperate rain forest on the shores of Chatham Straight. This village is deep in the Tongass National Forest, home to generations of Tlingit people who have named this area Kootznoowoo or “Fortress of the Bears” for the dense population of brown bears on the island. There are many more bears on Admiralty Island than there are people but, not to worry, your guide lives and works in this temperate rain forest, and has traveled through it safely and respectfully for years.

We will get our gear sorted, inflate our packrafts and have a safety talk. Shoving off, we explore our first lake while paddling its shores and floating into camp for a dinner, a campfire and maybe a little fishing.

Our trip will have us hiking over portages between inland lakes as we move across Admiralty Island. We are living and traveling in one of the largest expanses of wilderness in the world, an intact ecosystem containing a wide and diverse number of species including brown bears, black bears, wolves, Sitka blacktail deer and moose. As we hike and paddle from one lake to another, we are constantly on the lookout, hoping to catch a glimpse of these wild creatures.

As our week comes to an end, we will emerge from the forest onto the tidal flats of Mole Harbor, a bay on Seymour Canal. If we are on schedule, we can set up camp and explore the shores of this salt water bay on foot or by packraft, maybe glimpsing humpback whales or seal ions from our stealth craft. Waking on our final morning as we wait for our float plane to take us back to civilization, we can take the morning to explore Mole Harbor further or just hang around camp relaxing as we wait for our ride and the showers that await us back in Juneau.

Day 0

Meet your guide in Angoon for pre-trip meeting.

Day 1

After breakfast we will meet to get our gear situated and then depart Angoon via water taxi or aboard our pack rafts

Day 2-5

After arriving at the beginning of our first portage, near the back of Mitchell Bay, we will spend the next  3-5 days crossing the fortress of the bears.  We will traverse the first portage, the longest of the trail sections, to the south end of Davisdson lake, getting the toughest part of the trip out of the way early.  The rest of our trip sees us linking the many lakes that are spread across Admiralty Island, with portages, eventually leading to our destination on the east side of the island at Mole Harbor.  We will paddle lakes with names like Lake Distin, Guerin and Hasselborg and experience the diverse natural and cultural history that is present in this land.  Depending on our trip length we have the options to explore other lakes in this incredible chain of fresh water, along with the portages that connect them.  Along with the great opportunities to explore the trails that weave there way across the island and the shores of the lakes that dot the landscape, we will have ample time to take in the stunning temperate rainforest and do some fishing in what some consider an anglers paradise.

Day 7

Having arrived in Mole Harbor the afternoon or evening before we can rise slowly if we like and have one last breakfast in camp. If the weather cooperates today, we will catch our ride back to Juneau via our float plane, by late afternoon, giving us a good portion of the day to explore, or just hang around camp if we so choose.


Food while in the field

Group camping gear

Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads

Pack Raft , paddle, PFD, safety gear

Professional guide service

Not Included

Travel to Angoon

Lodging while not in the field

Food while not in the field

Personal equipment

Gratuity for guide(s)

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