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Sitka, Alaska, United States

Russian Memorial Loop Trail, Sitka National Historical Park

A guide to the Russian Memorial Loop Trail in Sitka National Historical Park.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.6 miles / 2.6 km
Duration: 1 hour or less
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: Nice walking trail to the Russian Memorial--a memorial erected in memory of the Russian sailors and Aleuts killed during the 1804 battle. It was once though that they were buried at the site of the memorial, but a careful inspection of the area found no evidence of graves. Still, it's a nice walk and there is a great view from the beach near the memorial.

Tips: Bring a raincoat--it rains a lot in Sitka. If you venture out onto the beach to fish for salmon, make sure you go out on the jetty until you are seaward of the fresh-saltwater markers. It's illegal to keep salmon caught upstream of the markers.

Points of Interest

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Turnoff to the Russian Memorial.

Once the trail has gone over the Indian River bridge, the Russian Memorial Loop branches off to the right.
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Down to the river.

Just to the right there is a great place to access the river.
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Looking back at the bridge.

From here, there is a nice view of the bridge.
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Young alder forest

Relative the hemlock-spruce forest that covers most of the park, this section of the park has a younger red alder-dominated forest.
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Looking out to the river's floodplain.

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Gnarly Coastal Hemlocks

Near the coast, western hemlock trees develop these gnarly, ribbed trunks.
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Windthrow

Blowdowns are common in these coastal forests, creating openings that allow less shade-tolerant plants to persist.
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Russian Memorial

Monument to the Russian Sailors and Aleuts killed in the 1804 battle.
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Looking out over Sitka Sound.

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More trail through alder forest

Here the trail passes through another area of alder forest, as it skirts along the edge of the older, hemlock-spruce forest.
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Trail intersection

Here the Russian Memorial Loop Trail rejoins the main trail that cuts across the park.
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Sawmill Creek Road parking lot.

Parking at the trailhead on Sawmill Creek Road
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Park sign

Entrance sign
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Methuselah

Just across the parking lot from the sign, a few feet into the woods, you can see a giant old Sitka spruce, the largest tree in the park.
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Back across the Indian River

Cross the bridge to get to the start of the Riverview Trail or to continue straight to the parking lot.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Swamp_Doctor

Russian Memorial Loop Trail, Sitka National Historical Park Map


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