Alaska's Misty Fiords National Monument, 675 mi/1,087 km southeast of Anchorage, encompasses more than 2 million acres/810,000 hectares of old-growth forest, granite mountains, waterfalls, islands, lakes, rivers and coastal habitat. Boats and cruise ships thread their way through extremely narrow channels to provide access to these remote areas, which begin about 20 mi/32 km southeast of Ketchikan.
The fjords provide habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals. The cliffs are home to mountain goats, and the forests protect Sitka blacktail deer and bears. The channels are full of salmon and shellfish that nourish orcas, seals and sea otters. Salmon and steelhead trout migrate along mountain streams flowing into the sea.
The fjords also contain impressive granite formations. Minerals present in the rock include gold, silver, copper, zinc and one of the largest deposits of molybdenum (a metallic element used to strengthen steel) in the world. In Behm Canal, New Eddystone Rock, a remnant of an ancient volcanic plug, rises from the depths.
As you sail through this rich and productive habitat, be sure to scan the waters for whales and seals, and watch for the telltale white heads of bald eagles perched in treetops along the shore.
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