Alaska Icons: Totem Poles
The checklist is impressive: not many states can list the continent’s tallest mountain, one of the
country’s longest rivers, Santa Claus’ home and America’s national symbol on their "must do
and see" list. They all exist in Alaska, and you can see them all in one trip. From the
Southeast Inside Passage to Fairbanks to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, here are Alaska’s 15
most famous icons.
Beginning in Ketchikan and extending north throughout many of the
Southeast Alaska Inside Passage communities, totemic art can be found in galleries and
ancient totems tower among the trees and rest in museums.
Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park, which boasts a collection of totems near the
visitor center and along the walking trail. The pieces, primarily from Prince of Wales Island,
were on display at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. Ketchikan has the Totem Heritage Center,
which houses 33 totems retrieved from deserted Tlingit and Haida Villages. The Center is a
national landmark and is the largest such collection in the United States. To get to either of
these destinations, drive north to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and catch the Alaska state
ferry, or take a cruise ship shore excursion.
Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park