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While in Kake experience Big John Bay Trail, Goose Lake Trail, Cathedral Falls Trail, Hamilton Creek and Portage Bay SEAtrails; While visiting Kake, see the world’s largest totem pole (132.5′) and bike, hike or drive the logging roads in the area to access old growth trees, including one that is 16′ diameter and 254′ tall. Kake also features incredible wildlife including the largest congregation of Humpback Whales in the World (May to October, offshore), bear viewing on Silver Spike Road Bridge and at the Hatchery on Bear Crossing Road Access, and large chum salmon returns in the summer at the Gunnuck Creek Hatchery and at the Kake Cannery (Historic landmark). Dinosaur fossils can be found on one of the Keku Islands. Local events include Kake Day; Kake’s Dog Salmon Festival (late July); and Challenge of the Chums (Tlingit canoe race).


Kake is a Tlingit village with a fishing, logging and subsistence lifestyle that about 682 residents call home. It is located on the northwest coast of Kupreanof Island along Keku Strait, the historical home for the Kake tribe of Tlingits who controlled the trade routes around Kuiu and Kupreonof islands, defending their territory against other tribal groups in the region. Ventures into the region by early European explorers and traders resulted in occasional skirmishes between Native Tlingits and the foreigners. Tensions between locals and outsiders had been escalating when, in 1869, a non-Native sentry at the settlement in Sitka shot and killed a Kake Native. In accordance with their traditional custom, the Kakes then killed two prospectors in retribution. In reprisal, the U.S. Navy sent the USS Saginaw to punish the Kakes by shelling their villages and destroying their homes, boats and stored foods.

The Kake people survived this onslaught, but were forced to disperse and live with other tribes to survive. Over the following 20 years, the Kakes regrouped at the current village site. In 1891, a government school and store were built. A Society of Friends mission also was established. A post office was built in 1904. In the early part of this century, Kake became the first Alaska Native village to organize under federal law, resulting in U.S. citizenship for community residents. In 1912 the first cannery was built near Kake. After the Second World War, timber harvesting and processing became a major local industry. The City was incorporated in 1952.

A federally recognized tribe is located in the community- the Organized Village of Kake; Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. 74.6% of the population are Alaska Native or part Native. It is a Tlingit village with a fishing, logging and subsistence lifestyle. Traditional customs are important to the Kakes. The world’s largest totem pole was commissioned by Kake and carved by Chilkats in 1967 for Alaska’s centennial celebration. The 132-foot totem pole now stands on a bluff overlooking town.


Alaska’s Marine Highway System departs Kake two times per week; one Southbound and one Northbound. There is no ferry terminal building, only a covered shed at the terminal location.

Scheduled float plane and air taxi flights are available from Juneau. Charter planes out of Sitka (Sitka Harris Air), Petersburg (Kupreanof Air and Pacific Wing), and Ketchikan (Misty Fjords Air) are also available. Kake has a State-owned lighted paved runway west of town, and a seaplane base at the City dock.

Charter Boats are run by local individuals who claim to run anytime during the year, “anywhere in Southeast Alaska’s waterways”. There are 120 miles of logging roads in the Kake area, but no connections to other communities on Kupreanof Island.


Accommodations are available at several lodges and inns in Kake which also serve food. Kayak rentals are available through a local guiding service. Fishing and hunting licenses and car rentals are available from a local lodge and bed and breakfast. Sale of alcohol is restricted to the City-owned package store. Other services such as banking are non-existent.


Kake has a maritime climate characterized by cool summers and mild winters. They receive much less precipitation than is typical of Southeast Alaska, averaging 54 inches a year, with 44 inches of snow. Average summer temperatures range from 44 to 62; winter temperatures average 26 to 43. Temperature extremes have been recorded from -14 to 88.

Local Contacts

For more information on Kake, contact the City of Kake, P.O. Box 500, Kake, AK 99830, Phone 907-785-3804, Fax 907-785-4815; The Federally Recognized Tribe for the Kake Area, PO Box 316, Kake, Alaska, 99830, and phone (907)785-6471; or The Kake Tribal Corporation, P.O. Box 263, Kake, AK 99830, Phone (907-785-3221).


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