Whether you’re an amateur or professional, Sitka attracts photographers from around the world. We’ve made a list of some of our favorite scenic spots and hidden gems for the perfect Sitka shot.
1. University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) campus parking lot
The UAS campus parking lot on Japonski Island offers a truly unforgettable view, featuring Sitka’s picturesque waterfront buildings, a fleet of multipurpose boats, and the Three Sister Mountains in the background. Here, you can also snap some great shots of John O’Connell Bridge to your right and, if you time it perfectly, you might even get a bald eagle or a sea lion in the frame.
Castle Hill, or Noow Tlein, is a historic site that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Sitka’s buildings, mountains, and the Sitka Sound. From here, you’ll see the iconic bell tower of St. Michael’s Cathedral, the first Russian Orthodox cathedral built in the New World. Read the plaques to learn more about Sitka’s Tlingit, Russian, and American history.
For a close up view of St. Michael’s Cathedral, walk along Lincoln Street and snap a picture from in front of Russell’s.
3. John O’Connell Bridge
For an elevated view of Sitka’s neighboring islands and a snapshot of daily life in Sitka, we recommend a walk along the John O’Connell Bridge connecting Japonski and Baranof Island. It’s a favorite sunset viewing spot among locals.
4. Eliason Harbor
Found at the end of Katlian Street, Eliason Harbor is a labyrinth of commercial and recreational fishing boats, catamarans, and even yachts. A walk along the boardwalk provides an intimate glimpse into Sitka’s fishing culture and community; Eliason Harbor feels more like a neighborhood than anything else. Local tip: take a picture of the harbor and Mt. Edgecumbe from the McDonald’s parking lot!
5. Sitka Sound Science Center pier
If you stay here long enough, you’ll see bald eagles, sea lions, otters, and maybe even a whale. During the fall, you can watch the salmon spawning and fish processing at the Sitka Sound Science Center hatchery up close.
6. Sea Mart Quality Foods
Sea Mart certainly has one of the most beautiful grocery store parking lots in America. Buy a snack from inside, sit down, relax, and enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Edgecumbe from across the water.
7. Starrigavan Estuary Life
With an ADA-accessible boardwalk and bird-viewing platform, Starrigavan Estuary Life is a rewarding stop on our list. You never know what you’ll see here; depending on the time of year, you might get to watch a bear feeding on the grassy flats.
Bonus: Harbor Mountain Road
If you have access to a car, you won’t want to miss the drive up Harbor Mountain Road. The views of Sitka Sound, Mt. Edgecumbe, and the neighboring mountains on Baranof Island is unparalleled. Locals bring tents or a picnic up for a sunset.
Want to share your photographs with others? Submit your favorites to our annual Photo Contest or post them on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #visitsitka!