The ultimate way to explore the wildlife-rich wilderness of Southeast Alaska is aboard the historic 8-guest Westward, a classic wooden vessel. We offer four different journeys on this unique gem of a ship, bringing you into incredible bays, intertidal zones, and remote villages between Sitka, Petersburg, and Juneau. Depending on the itinerary, you might find yourself navigating through ice floes to a calving saltwater glacier or watching brown bears feast on the returning salmon. After each day's adventure, relax on the shaded back deck with a glass of wine, enjoy a gourmet dinner, and savor the long twilight of the Alaskan summer.
Arrive: Sitka, Juneau, or Peterburg (depending on dates)
Depart: Sitka, Juneau, or Peterburg (depending on dates)
Note: This trip is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as an agent in booking your reservation with the operator. Please download the Rate Sheet in the Dates & Pricing section to see the full pricing details and contact our Cruise Collection Specialists to check availability.
From Sitka, former capital of Russian Alaska, navigate to Krestof Sound, cross Peril Strait between mountainous Baranof and Chichagof islands, and kayak or glide by skiff along serene waterways. Each trip's sailing itinerary varies a bit depending on tides and local weather.
At Chatham Strait, look for humpback whales and possibly see their signature bubble-net feeding. Visit remote Tenakee Springs, a community of homesteaders, and explore brown bear habitat. Back on board, the chef's menus may include sockeye salmon, lamb burgers, or braised chicken enchiladas.
Visit a salmon hatchery, walk to Baranof Hot Springs, with plenty of time to hike to Baranof Lake, and anchor off Admiralty Island to explore by kayak. Encounter Steller sea lions in Frederick Sound, and in Farragut Bay, perhaps meet the farm family who supplies the ship with fresh organic produce. From Scenery Cove, skiff across the Baird Glacier's outflow river to explore a remarkable landscape, at once lunar and lush.
Make your way through sculpted ice floes to view the Le Conte Glacier, the southernmost calving tidewater glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, 21 miles long and a mile wide. Arrive in Petersburg, a quintessential Alaskan fishing town, on Day 8 and depart.
At time of reservation: 20% of trip cost
100 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.
Minimum fee: 50% of deposit
91-150 days prior to departure: 100% of deposit
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost
*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.
Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Days 1-7 (7 nights)
We are delighted to invite you aboard this unique and historic 86-foot wooden vessel. A “gentleman's yacht” designed specifically for exploration, she is ideal for discovering the wonders of Alaska, San Juan Islands, and the Sea of Cortez. You'll find a lovely wood-paneled salon aboard—a great space where you can...
This trip is Level 1+, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system. The expedition vessel serves as a mobile base camp. You'll explore remote coastlines and fjords by day, then enjoy the comfort of the ship in the evening for good food, fine company, and a comfortable bunk. With just a few hours of cruising each day, there is plenty of time for walking, wildlife watching, or sea kayaking all in the company of an on-board naturalist who shares insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture.
The three hikes average 2-5 miles each, round trip. The Thomas Bay hike is in a rainforest with uneven terrain (exposed roots, slate steps, and a good boardwalk). The Baird Glacier hike is over small rocks and stones, spongy lichen beds, and sand. For the Warm Springs hike on Baranof Island, you walk a narrow, muddy trail with exposed roots and some portions covered by planks.
No previous kayaking experience is required. Unlike whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking skills can be learned quickly and easily. The waters of the Inside Passage are protected from the open ocean and are generally calm. It is not the intention to kayak on stormy days or when sea conditions are truly "rough" with high winds and waves (such occasions are infrequent in these waters during the summer). Nevertheless, unpredictability is the rule for the weather in Alaska, and good kayaking weather throughout cannot be guaranteed. And with such a comfortable "mother ship," you can always opt out of any kayaking or hiking to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the great views from on board. Please note: Climbing a ship's ladder to access skiff and kayaks during excursions is required.
Be prepared for temperatures ranging from the low 30sF to a high of 70F. Southern Alaska has a marine climate, which means rain is to be expected at some point on every trip. The rain itself is often a gentle mist, casting an aura of magic and mystery over the land. We hope for sunshine but recommend that you plan for wet, cool weather. You will be comfortable as long as your rain gear is adequate!
Layered clothing works best in the changing weather conditions typical of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Southeast Alaska. Layers are easier to pack and more versatile than a single heavy coat. Don't bring down jackets or ski clothes (they don't dry well in the damp climate). Good rain gear is essential; it will enable you to remain comfortable in the wind or rain. Bring your high rubber boots (or use the ones provided on board) for wading and for use in the kayaks and small boats (you will wear these everywhere you go).
Meals onboard are elegant, locally sourced, and artfully presented. Fresh ingredients come from local providers whenever possible, including organic farmers, and fish is bought directly from local fishers. Complimentary beer and wine is offered on board. You are welcome to bring any special wines, liquors, and mixers you enjoy. Soft drinks, coffee, and tea are always available.
Every trip aboard a small ship can -- and should -- be slightly different. This is our planned itinerary, but if conditions and wildlife, whether on land or sea, present us with special opportunities, we'll alter our course and head that way to experience it. Our itineraries are leisurely, we don't rush past hundreds of miles of beautiful coves and inlets to stay on schedule, and we don't travel at night. A flexible attitude and an openness to the unexpected keep the adventure alive on these voyages.
"We loved the Westward. The ship is very comfortable. The Food was AMAZING—best food I have ever experienced on any trip as to taste, healthfulness, and quantity. Tracie Triolo is a magician in the small onboard kitchen, and grows small herbs and greens on top. My family ate all kinds of things for the first time and loved every bite!"
San Diego, CA
"The trip exceeded our expectations. The knowledge and experience of the entire crew helped to ensure that we got the best wildlife and nature experience possible."
"This is the only way to really experience Alaska and meet its people. The food was incredible, the boat a classic, and our naturalist was wonderfully knowledgeable, whether we were kayaking, hiking, or whale watching! It was a magical and soulful way to see the inside passage just as John Muir saw it."
"The trip exceeded my expectations. The captain and his crew provided a welcoming, meaningful, and pleasurable experience."
"We enjoyed this trip very much. Its intimacy with the landscape and wildlife was everything I had hoped for and more. The crew was incredibly personable and knowledgeable."
"The food by was absolutely outstanding—it was like dining every day in a three star restaurant. Captain Bill is an wonderful guy with great stories. He was able to navigate the many icebergs and got our small vessel right to the head of the Dawson Glacier!"
"The food was amazing, staff's knowledge incredible, and we saw many amazing things! I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone wanting to travel in this area."
"This was by far one of the best vacations I've ever been on. The itinerary took us to beautiful, uncrowded, and awe-inspiring places. Captain Bill, Hannah, our guide and naturalist, and Tristan, our chef, were so friendly, fun, knowledgeable, responsible, and provided a safe and comfortable experience throughout the trip."
"The quality of the food was exceptional—many dishes could have been served at Michelin-starred restaurants."
"I can't praise the captain, cook, and naturalist enough! And, though not a boat person, I fell in love with "Westward." The scenery was breathtaking, and the numerous, extended sightings of whales, porpoises, bears, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and otters was beyond my wildest dreams. It was comfortable, relaxed, exciting, educational, and fun—terrific! I got back rested and excited with my energy restored, my interest in Alaska piqued, and lots and lots of superb photographs. The other people on the trip were a pleasure to be with."
"One of our best trips ever, and the ship's chef is unbelievably skilled! Our Trip Leader was always helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. An absolutely marvelous trip."
"One of the best, most memorable trips ever! The crew of 3 were very compatible, interactive, and efficient, and they encouraged intimacy among all 8 passengers. Gourmet food, so much information, and knowledge about the area! Experience of a lifetime!"
"The trip of a lifetime! We got to experience Alaska in ways that most people never will. The beautifully maintained historical boat provided an experience in itself just to sail on her. She's stable and comfortable. The crew and trip leaders are uniformly excellent in everything they do. Special mention should go to Tracie, the chef, who somehow produced a 5-star meal at every sitting."
Mountain View, CA
Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!
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With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.
Level 1 – Easiest
Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.
Level 3 – Moderate
Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.
Level 5 – Strenuous
Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.