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Cruising Article –03/07/2011

Hike the Tongass Rainforest in Sitka, Alaska

Alaskan Cruise Destinations

If you've booked an Alaskan cruise, you're most likely expecting a chance to see some glaciers and other icy locales. While this will certainly be part of the trip, those who book shore excursions in Sitka will have a chance to explore a slightly warmer environment: a rainforest.

The Tongass Rainforest, located just outside Sitka, is the world's largest temperate rainforest. You'll get a chance to explore a good portion of it when you set out on the Starrigavan Muskeg trail with your friendly guide, who will help identify the various flora and fauna that can be glimpsed along the way.

After a short walk, you'll eventually switch to the Mosquito Loop Trail, which slowly ascends higher and higher. You'll be able to see some beautiful mountain vistas as well as the wide variety of birds that call this area home.

Finally, you'll descend down to the ocean, where the group will take a break and refreshments will be provided. From there, it's off to "Old Sitka," which is where the Russians first made contact with Alaska is 1799.

This is one of the more active excursions offered on the trip, and travelers should be prepared to walk nearly four miles while dealing with changes in elevation.