Just east of Sitka is Admiralty Island, easily accessible by boat or prop plane. Part of the Alexander Archipelago, the island is 90 miles long and just 35 miles wide. Making up 1,646 square miles, it’s the seventh biggest island in the country. Admiralty is one of the ABC islands in Alaska and is nearly halved by the Seymour Canal. Nearby is the Glass Peninsula, a popular attraction for outdoor lovers.

The majority of the island (955,000 acres) is made up of the Admiralty Island National Monument. It’s a protected wildlife area and part of the Tongass National Forest. Here, you’ll find the Kootznoowoo Wilderness, which is an old-growth rainforest. The habitat is prime for brown bears, the famous Sitka black-tailed deer, and bald eagles. George Vancouver named the island after a Royal Navy employee, and it was well explored in 1794 by Joseph Whidbey.

Island Life


The name Kootznoowoo is interpreted as “Fortress of the Bears.” Aptly named, the island has more brown bears in density than any other place in North America. There are about 1,600 brown bears on the island, which outnumbers the human residents three to one. The Angoon, a Tlingit indigenous community, make up most of the human population at around 572. The Angoon are the only settlers on the island.


There’s also the Greens Creek Mine on the island, home to gold, silver and zinc. The mine has been in use since 1989. Outdoor recreation is a popular reason to come to the island, with cabins, the Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area where you can watch bears in their habitat, and salmon fishing.