I set out to ride all of the major roads in Alaska in 2017. During this project, a good friend suggested that I check out Prince of Wales, an island in Southeast Alaska with an unusually extensive network of roads due to logging and forestry. I'd heard there were somewhere between 500-800 miles of road on Prince of Wales. It is a very hard place to access. First you have to take a flight (with 4 stops) or ferry (that takes several days) to Ketchikan, Alaska and another 3 1/2 hour ferry to Hollis on Prince of Wales. I had travel plans to ride on the island in 2017, but had to cancel them for family reasons. I'm thrilled that I got to ride there this year. We got really lucky. POW is a rainforest and this summer was the rainiest in 50 years. We had four days of sunshine.
We flew to Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island in Southeast Alaska with the intention of taking the ferry to Prince of Wales Island to ride the roads there. The whole area is a rainforest. There are 45 miles of road out of Ketchikan and we rode them both directions.
The South Tongass Highway out of Ketchikan passes through the Native Alaskan village of Saxman. This area is the ancestral home of the Tlingit and Haida Indians, well known for their colorful artwork and totem poles-- super cool to see from the bike!
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We started the second day on Prince of Wales in Klawock. Christina, Linda and Lottie flew over to explore the island with us. For their entire trip we had straight …
From our camp at Memorial Beach, Christina and I rode north to the end of the road at La Bouchere Bay. We turned around and met the rest of the group in Whale Pass and continued together to Sarkar Lake to camp.
I woke up at 6am while everyone was still in their tents sleeping to connect the loop out of Whale Pass. I didn't see a single car and there was incredible mist in the air. Rue surprised me by picking me up in our friends' rental truck, so I didn't have to ride all the way back to camp.
I rode this little Coffman Cove loop connector solo. My aim was to ride all of the roads on Prince of Wales Island from The Milepost guidebook-- sometimes this made me ride funny little stretches with hitches in between to make sure I didn't miss any. We had amazing weather for the duration of our trip, so I was just happy to be out riding.
From the map, we thought we'd be tracing the beach with great views. Prince of Wales Island is a rainforest and the roads are surrounded by trees. Regardless, it was still a fun punchy ride. We camped at a baseball field in Thorne Bay for the night.
The Native Alaskan village of Kasaan was a highlight for the whole trip on Prince of Wales. It's right on the water. On such a hot day, we got in the water to cool off. Theres is a forested park with totem poles and a long house. Really special to see. On our final day in Prince of Wales (before catching the ferry) we were motivated to get all the riding done.
Rue and I expected to hitch a ride from Control Lake to Craig to ride the remainder of the road. Christina surprised us in the truck with burgers and fries and gave us a lift-- this totally made my day. Craig is the biggest city on the island. Rue and I had a blast riding this stretch of road together at speed. I drafted off of her most of the way.
We spent the night at the ferry captain's rental cabin near the ferry terminal at Hollis. A quick half mile ride got us down to the ferry and we took it back to Ketchikan. We flew out the following morning. Super lucky to have such good weather, especially considering this place is a rainforest.