Myriad Islands

A kayaker's paradise of tiny islands, migrating salmon, and brown bears.

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Myriad Islands

Remote paddling and exploration at its best

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Myriad Islands

Enjoy the feel of open ocean paddling while completely protected by chain of islands we will paddle among

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Location: West Chichagof Island Wilderness. Trip starts and finishes in Gustavus, Alaska

Duration: Expedition length is 6 to 7 days. Custom trips by arrangement

Paddle Distance: 30-50 miles.

Activities: Paddling, fishing, wildlife watching, photography, old-growth rain forest and muskeg hiking, wilderness camping

Highlights: Paddle a rarely visited corner of Alaska’s premier coastal wilderness, threading through hundreds of tiny islands and channels, and venturing out into open ocean swell; view abundant wildlife in a rich variety of ecosystems and magnificent scenery.


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Experienced southeast Alaska paddlers talk fondly of the west coast of Chichagof Island as their favorite kayaking destination. And what’s not to like? Infrequently visited, the West Chichagof-Yakobi Island Wilderness (which was designated after a 13-year effort by local citizens) is a place teeming with wildlife, hundreds of tiny islands, and an intriguing variety of paddling conditions.

After a three-hour boat ride from Gustavus, we’ll set up camp in Goulding Harbor and then get out on the water. Glacier-carved Chichagof Island has over 742 miles of convoluted coastline, and that means it’s perfect kayaking territory, with an array of bays, nooks, and islands to explore. This is rich marine environment where sea otters dine on urchins in the kelp beds, harbor seals and porpoise glide past you, and where you can spot dozens of species of shorebirds.

But it’s at the head of the harbor, at the mouth of the Goulding River, where you’ll observe one of nature’s most incredible spectacles: the return of wild salmon. Thousands upon thousands of these fish, hook-beaked and blazing red, make the instinctual journey to their spawning grounds. As you wade the river, the parade is so thick you’ll have salmon literally swimming between your legs.

And that abundance means something else: predators. Trampling down the shoreline grasses, brown bears are often seen at this spot, picking at carcasses and snatching salmon from the river. More often than not, we’ll be able to observe these magnificent creatures gorging on nature’s feast, while bald eagles, ravens, and gulls pick at the leftovers. And if you’ve got a knack for angling, there are numerous opportunities here to catch something our guides can prepare for dinner.

Continuing south, you’ll enter a kayaker’s dream world of nooks and bays framed by stunning mountain peaks. On shore you’ll find trails through mossy rainforests of towering Sitka spruce. Further on, the ecosystem begins to change. We’ll paddle through narrow passages past rocky islands teeming with cormorants and other birds. The open ocean comes into view, and trees begin to dwindle, the rocky outcrops covered with stunted pines.

On calm days, we’ll venture out into the open ocean, experiencing the thrill of gentle swell and keeping an eye out for migrating gray whales as we paddle toward the barrier islands. From our camp on the outer shore, we’ll have time to explore muskeg territory–a fascinating landscape of windswept, bonsai-sized pines, open grassland, and tea-brown pools.

From a vantage close to camp, we’ll watch for gray and humpback whales, listen to the barking chorus of a sea lion rookery about a mile offshore, and take in the quiet beauty of a lingering sunset over the Pacific.

Though this one of our longer expeditions, it’s available to paddlers of all skill levels.  If you’re looking for a truly remote, unique wilderness kayaking experience, our Myriad Islands trip is one of Spirit Walker’s most rewarding adventures.


Contact Spirit Walker for more information about our Myriad Islands expedition and to arrange a custom trip.

Click here to see our full schedule.


Departure Return Trip Name Trip Length Price Availability
07/22/2024 07/28/2024 Myriad Islands Expedition 7-Days/6-Nights $3359/person Closed
  • experienced and professional guides,
  • all charter boat transportation,
  • high quality 2 person kayaks with paddling and safety accessories; emergency communication, signaling and first aid equipment;
  • all cooking gear, utensils and water bottles;
  • 3 excellent meals for each full day plus snacks;
  • camping equipment – 2 and 3 person tents, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses that convert into chairs;
  • rain gear, rubber boots and dry bags.

My trip with Spirit Walker Expeditions was amazing. My experience kayaking among the whales is something I will never forget! Go! You will love it.

Mandy L, visited Sept, 2015

We had a wonderful experience on a Spirit Walker trip this summer. Six nights, seven days in the Myriad Islands Wilderness. The trip was well organized, the gear was top quality and the guides were great! ... an experience I'll always remember.

Walt G, visited July, 2016

Hearing the whales and having them come up so close to you is a once in a lifetime feeling.

Jill T. August 2012

We booked the Whales tour to Point Adolphus for our family which includes a 6 year old and 9 year old... Great safety orientation for our boys who don't have a lot of experience kayaking. Thanks for an unforgettable experience.

Jonathan R, visited July 2016

It doesn't get any better than this. If you want to experience the real Alaska you must get out on the water... If we return to Alaska, we will make this expedition again.

Ernie B, visited August 2013

"Magic Family Holiday" I can't say enough about the wonderful trips that Spirit Walker puts together. The safety and equipment is great. The guides are great fun and knowledgeable about the areas we went. The food is incredible.

NIcondit, Visited August, 2015

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