Posted by Maike Prewett on

Categories: Outdoor Recreation

As the temperature plummets, Sitkans wait in eager anticipation for snow flurries, fresh powder, and thick layer of ice over Swan Lake. Whether you prefer skis, sleds, or skates, there’s something for everyone in Sitka. 

Take a pair of cross-country skis out on Sitka’s scenic Cross Trail for a leisurely back-country route just off the road system. You’ll likely see several other skiers on the trail – in addition to hikers out for a breath of fresh air. For a more rugged trip, bring your skis (or snowboard!) up the trail to nearby Harbor Mountain or Mount Verstovia. For a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, book one of our Water Taxi partners to Mt. Edgecumbe and ski down the rim. Make sure to check local avalanche warnings and prepare a safety plan for these locations. Stop by the Sitka Fire Department to submit your trip plans and borrow a Marine VHF-radio for the extent of your trip.

A hiker pauses in front of the Gavan Hill Trail, over a scenic overlook of Sitka Sound

 A winter hike up the Gavan Hill Trail

With a pair of snowshoes, you can make it just about anywhere in Sitka, from snowy trails like Indian River to snowed-in cabins like Salmon Lake. You can access a map of U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and cabins in the Tongass National Forest through their website. There’s nothing more peaceful than the crunch of crisp snow underfoot as you hike through the old growth forests of the Tongass.  

For an adventure closer to town, buy a sled from AC Lakeside or Sea Mart and bring it to Moller Field and Sea Mountain Golf Course. Tip: You’ll be sure to get a smile if you gift your toboggan to a local who you shared the hills with.

A child plays on frozen Swan Lake

A child plays on frozen Swan Lake

If you’re fortunate to be in town when Swan Lake freezes over, make sure you join the dozens of other Sitkans on the ice. Bring a pair of ice skates, a sled, a hockey stick, or even just your own two shoes!  

Did you enjoy playing in the snow during your visit? Tag your best photos with the hashtag #visitsitka or check out @visitsitka on Instagram for more travel inspiration. 

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About The Author

Maike Prewett

Maike Prewett is the Visitor Services and Community Coordinator at Visit Sitka. She joined the Visit Sitka team while participating in the Alaska Fellows Program, a seven to nine-month residential fellowship program nurturing the next generation of Alaska- based leaders, where she lived in a house with seven other fellows from her cohort.

Although she is originally from Colorado, Maike moved to Alaska after living in China for six years. She was a member of New York University Shanghai’s third graduating class and explored her love of storytelling through the Interactive Media Arts program there.

In Sitka, you’ll find her throwing printmaking parties with her housemates, cooking communal dinners, and competing in the occasional lip-sync competition. Maike is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live and grow in Alaska.

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