Prince of Wales Island
Area: 2,600 square miles with 990 miles of coastline
Population: 6,146 (2000 census)
Prince of Wales Island is the third largest island in the US, following Hawaii and Kodiak. It is 135 miles long, 45 miles wide. It is a 45-minute ride to Ketchikan by air or a three-hour ferry ride on the M/V Prince of Wales. There's more than 2,600 square miles with about 990 miles of coastline. This is about the size of the state of Delaware. There are countless bays, coves and inlets to be explored.
You can hike on the many trails found on the Island or check out several caves in the area. There are many charter fishing or hunting guides and you can even go flight seeing, rent a boating, kayak or diving equipment.
This is home to a wide variety of wildlife and waterfowl that make their homes here such as whales, seals, porpoises, bear, deer, wolves, minks and sea otter.
Prince of Wales Island offers some of the best sport fishing in Alaska where quiet bays and rivers filled with trout and salmon await you.
The streams feature fly-fishing at its best. A variety of Trout, Steelhead, and five species of Salmon give fisherman the fight of their life.
Most of the roads on the island were initially built to haul the logs to ports for commercial sale, then on to Japan. Thus the timber industry became an integral connection to many smaller island communities. Presently there are about 1500 miles of roads, half of which are maintained. The most traveled roadway is between Craig and Hollis. Roads lead to Hollis, Hydaburg, Thorne Bay, and Naukati.
In 1775, the first of the European explorers, Don Juan Francisco Bodega y Quadra, from Spain arrived in the area and in 1778 The British explorer, Captain James Cook stopped in on his quest to find the fabled Northwest Passage. In 1790 Captain George Vancouver began documenting the area with journals and detailed charts of the coastline but it wasn't until the early 1900's that commercial development of the island began. One of the very first canneries was built in Klawock in 1878.
Prince of Wales Island is the third largest island in the United States, with Kodiak Island being the largest and the big island of Hawaii the second. Prince of Wales Island includes the main island and hundreds of adjacent islands - a total of more than 2,600 square miles with 990 miles of coastline and countless bays waiting to be explored. Its 990 mile coastline has numerous bays, coves, inlets and points.