Calling kids of all ages - embark on a fun, quiet and informative 4WD journey to a wilderness camp in the rainforest. Roast marshmallows over a campfire, drink hot cocoa and indulge in all-you-can-eat pancake meal as you learn local history. Return with a visit and tour of Saxman Native Village Totem Park.
Imagine making s’mores over an open fire, breathing in the air scented with spruce and cedar, and quietly cruising through the forest aboard an open-air ATV buggy. So if your family are outdoor enthusiasts, or just love the thrill of discovering a new way to see this scenic wonderland, then this three-hour excursion is sure to delight one and all.
The excitement begins as you put on a raincoat, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera and step into the van that will shuttle you to the ATV staging area. After an informative safety lesson in the operation of your fully electric and silent 4WD vehicle (all drivers must be 25 years of age and older with a valid driver's license) you’ll follow your guide to the camp.
Then set off on a scenic 30-minute ride through the lush and unspoiled Alaska rainforest full of centuries-old Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar trees. Follow along pristine Saxman Creek, the natural spawning waters for coho, sockeye, pink and chum salmon, as well as various species of trout.
Each buggy is equipped with an interconnected radio so as you drive along you can hear the naturalist guide point out any particular sights of interest, as well as explain the area’s history and geography. Discover how the island’s indigenous people used the cedar trees for shelter, transportation and totem poles, and how the Sitka spruce, which can grow up to 229 feet high, is the largest of the world’s spruces and Alaska’s official state tree.
Be sure to glance down from time to time to see blueberry, salmonberry and huckleberry bushes that carpet the ground.
While driving under the canopy of these aromatic woods, you’ll come to a clearing in the woods where a warm and welcoming fire awaits you.
After you disembark, you can huddle around the fire and enjoy a hearty helping of blueberry and strawberry pancakes, hot chocolate, coffee and cider while enjoying the beauty that surrounds you. Of course, where there is a campfire there are s’mores, the ultimate sweet snack made with a chocolate bar and toasted marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers.
After about an hour of relaxation you’ll climb back aboard your 4WD and make your way to a beautiful spot overlooking Nichols Passage and Tongass Narrows. You and your family can pose with the Buggies with this incredible view as the back drop. You'll return down the mountain and take a beautiful trail into Saxman Native Village. Your guide will tell you incredible stories of the poles, view the carving shed that houses world famous carvers and you'll even have time in the exclusive Village Store for an opportunity to shop for authentic Native Alaskan made items.
Back at the ATV staging area, you’ll have a restroom opportunity and a chance to warm up before you climb aboard the shuttle and swap stories with your fellow passengers as you make your way back to the ship. This tour is ideal for multi-generational groups as all ages can enjoy this experience together and requires little walking to enjoy the quiet beauty of the southeast Alaska rain forest.