General Festival Information
Access & Transportation
Traveling to Haines for the November festival offers visitors three distinct options:
By Air: You can reach Haines by flying in on a small plane. Daily scheduled air service connects Juneau, Skagway, and Haines. However, it's essential to note that flights in November are often subject to cancellations due to inclement weather conditions. For up-to-date flight information, please reach out to Seaplanes of Alaska. The flight duration between Haines and Juneau typically takes around 35 minutes, and these small planes can accommodate 4-9 passengers.
By Ferry: Embarking on a journey via the Alaska State Ferry is an unforgettable Alaskan adventure, well worth the extra time it may take. During the winter months, ferries generally operate 2-3 times per week between Haines, Skagway, and Juneau. The fall/winter schedule is usually released in late summer. The travel time between Haines and Juneau on the ferry is approximately 4-1/2 hours. To secure your ferry reservations, please contact the Alaska Marine Highway System at 1-800-642-0066.
By Road: For those who prefer the scenic route, you can drive to Haines from Haines Junction, located 150 miles north of Haines in the Yukon, Canada. The journey takes you along a well-maintained paved highway and offers a picturesque drive through stunning landscapes.
Additionally, if you choose to rent a car in Haines, it's readily available. If your accommodations are situated in town, you'll have the convenience of walking to our Visitor Center and accessing the shuttle service to the Preserve from there.
The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, established in 1982, safeguards one of the world's largest Bald Eagle populations and their vital habitat across 48,000 acres along the Chilkat, Kleheni, and Tsirku Rivers. It also protects salmon runs and allows for traditional uses, provided they don't harm the preserve. Eagles utilize nearly every part of the preserve throughout the year. You can observe eagles, along with other wildlife like mountain goats, moose, swans, and occasional bears, from designated parking areas near the Haines Highway or by walking the 2-mile riverside trail.
To avoid disturbing the eagles, please stick to designated areas and use highway pullouts to view them and other wildlife, especially during late fall and early winter when the eagle congregation is at its peak.
Weather & Dress
While we hope for sunny and dry weather during the festival, it's prudent to be ready for cold, wet, and potentially snowy conditions. Here are some essential tips for dressing appropriately:
Layer Up: Dressing in layers is key. Start with thermals or heat regulating base layers to keep you warm. Over that, add a wool or fleece middle layer for insulation.
Outer Protection: A waterproof and windproof outer layer is crucial to shield yourself from the elements. This layer will keep you dry in case of rain or snow and protect you from biting winds.
Accessories: Don't forget the essentials - warm gloves, hats, and waterproof boots. These items will help you stay comfortable and warm throughout the festival.
For indoor events, casual clothing is perfectly acceptable, ensuring you can relax and enjoy the festivities in comfort.
In November, you can expect the sun to rise around 9:30 a.m. and set at approximately 3:00 p.m. The most favorable hours for optimal lighting in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve during November typically fall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
These hours are ideal for eagle watching, capturing the preserve's magic through photography, and fully immersing yourself in its serene ambiance.
We've established these essential guidelines to ensure the preservation of the eagles and the critical aspects of the preserve. Your cooperation is invaluable in safeguarding this area for both the eagles and future visitors.
Respect the Feeding Grounds: Please refrain from venturing onto the flats. These areas are where the eagles find their sustenance. By staying clear, you allow them to focus their energy on feeding instead of taking flight to avoid human presence.
Observe from Designated Zones: Enjoy eagle-watching from the designated area between the Haines Highway and the river. This boundary ensures a stress-free environment for the eagles, providing them with the necessary space for roosting and feeding.
Protect the Fish: Fish are the eagles' primary food source. We kindly ask that you do not disturb the fish in any way. Leave all fish and fish carcasses where nature has placed them, respecting the natural order.
Maintain a Respectful Distance: When observing the birds, use binoculars to get closer views. If the eagles become disturbed and take flight, give them space by backing off. For close-up photographs, consider utilizing long-range telephoto lenses.
Utilize Provided Transportation: To minimize our impact on the eagles' habitat, please consider using the provided bus or van transportation. If you must drive, park only in designated turnouts, and never stop on the roadway. Avoid setting up tripods on the road to ensure safety for all.
Your cooperation in adhering to these guidelines is crucial for the well-being of the eagles and the continued enjoyment of this preserve by future visitors. Thank you for your commitment to preserving this remarkable natural habitat.