You’ve booked your trip to Sitka, but how do you get around town once you arrive? Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about transportation in Sitka. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, getting around town is part of the adventure. Here’s your comprehensive guide to navigating Sitka with ease.

Exploring Sitka by Foot

One of the best ways to experience Sitka’s charm is on foot. Our downtown is compact and pedestrian-friendly, with many attractions, shops, and restaurants within walking distance of each other. As you stroll through downtown Sitka, you’ll encounter historical landmarks, locally-owned shops, flavorful local treats, and stunning coastal views.

Photo: Visitors walking around downtown Sitka on a Lincoln Street closure day

Biking Around Town

Biking is a fantastic option for getting around the island. Sitka’s relatively flat terrain and bike-friendly streets make getting around easy and accessible. Sitka has continually been named a silver-level bike-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists, making us the first community in Alaska to receive recognition!

Several bike rental companies offer rentals for e-bikes or standard bikes. Bikes are an ever-popular option for getting around, so book your rental in advance.

Coming soon! Keep an eye out for Visit Sitka’s new incoming map: the Sitka Biking Guide. This map will highlight the best (and safest!) routes for biking and the rules of the road.

Public Transportation

Sitka’s public transportation system, known as The Ride, provides a convenient and affordable way to travel around town. The Ride is primarily used by Sitka locals, getting around to essential spots like neighborhoods and grocery stores. However, certain bus stops are near visitor hot spots and can be accessed by a short walk from the stop. The Ride only accepts U.S. cash in exact change, so make sure to prepare for that when planning your trip.

  • Red Route; The Red Route runs out Halibut Point Road, the north end of town. Popular visitor spots out Halibut Point Rd. are the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal, large grocery stores, the Starrigavan campground, the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal, and some hiking trailheads.
  • Blue Route; The Blue Route runs out Sawmill Creek Road, the South end of town. Popular visitor spots out Sawmill Creek Rd. include the Alaska Raptor Center, Whale Park, the Fortress of the Bear, cannabis dispensaries, Harbor Mountain Brewing Co., the back entrance to Sitka National Historical Park, and some hiking trailheads.
  • Green Route; The Green Route runs through certain parts of central Sitka and over the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island. Popular spots on Japonski Island are the University of Alaska Southeast and SEARHC Regional Hospital.
    Note: The airport is also located on Japonski Island, however The Ride does not stop there at this time.

Check out this helpful interactive map for stop locations and times.

Photo: Map of The Ride’s drop-off points throughout Sitka

Taxis and Ridesharing

Limited taxi services are available in Sitka (and can be tough to reach on high-volume visitor days). Pre-arranging your transportation through shuttles, private tour drivers, or renting a car/bike is highly recommended. Rideshare services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) do not operate in Sitka at this time.

Most visitor attractions are within walking distance, so plan your itinerary in advance and utilize our maps or Google Maps to see if vehicular transportation is necessary.

Renting a Car

If you want the freedom to explore Sitka at your own pace, consider renting a car. This is particularly useful if you plan to visit sites outside the town center, such as remote hiking trails, fishing spots, or the Fortress of the Bear.

Remember to book your rental in advance, especially in the summer during peak visitor season.

Photo: Renting a car at Avis Car Rental at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport

Tips for Getting Around

  • Book in Advance: Check schedules and transportation options ahead of time. Since Sitka is a small town, available transportation options can book up quickly!
  • Consider Booking a Tour: If you have a tight timeframe and have lots of must-sees on your list, consider booking a private or group driving tour. If you’re visiting on a cruise ship, take a look at shore excursions options to see if any of them cover what you want to see.
  • Ask Locals: Sitkans are known for their friendliness and are often happy to provide directions or recommendations. Just ask!

Transportation FAQs

How do I get downtown from the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal?
A free shuttle bus departs from the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal to downtown Sitka every 10-15 minutes. The bus ride is approximately twelve minutes long and arrives at Harrigan Centennial Hall, Sitka’s convention center. The last shuttle back to the cruise terminal departs thirty minutes prior to all aboard. Some ships water tender from anchorages in Sitka Sound near Crescent Harbor.

Not all cruise ships dock at the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal. Some ships will dock at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park, which also requires a shuttle. Other ships may water tender from anchorages in Sitka Sound near Crescent Harbor in downtown Sitka. Check out our helpful live cruise ship calendar to figure out where your ship docks.

Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal

Photo: Visitors at the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal heading to the shuttle pick-up point

How do I get a ride to and from the airport?
While the airport is technically within walking distance (a 20-30 minute walk to the city center), most visitors book a shuttle or rent a car. Taxis in Sitka are available but limited, so call in advance and make sure you book the night before if you’re on an early morning flight. Check out your hotel website to see if they offer a shuttle.

How do I get to Fortress of the Bear?
The easiest way to get to the Fortress of the Bear is by a shuttle or or a driving tour, which typically includes a stop at the Fortress in the tour package. Purchase a tour or shuttle from an operator ahead of time or visit the Sitka Sound Cruise Terminal or Harrigan Centennial Hall to buy a same day tour.

Currently, the public bus system stops before reaching the Fortress of the Bear at Gary Paxton Industrial Park, a 5-10 minute walk from the Fortress.

Photo: Sitka Tours bus dropping off tour passengers at the Fortress of the Bear