Cross Admiralty Canoe Trail

This a great packrafting trip with easy portages, mostly calm water and beautiful wildlife and scenery. The portages don’t require deflating, the longest is three miles. It can also be done with traditional canoes and kayaks. We did it in five days so there was time to do a side trip to lake McKinney. Next time we will do six or seven days to allow more fishing and exploring. Beautiful country, they were working on the trail (2014’) so it’s pretty easy walking. Forest service cabins are in great shape with oil or wood stoves. We stayed at Lake Alexander cabin, Little Shaheen and Sportsman’s cabin on Distin Lake. We were picked up at the head of Mitchell Bay saving one day of rafting. The Mitchell Bay portion has the most potential for rough water. Tidal currents and waves can be bad(or fun depending). Lots of deer and loons seen daily.

The trail is accessed by taking a ferry or float plane to Angoon then arranging boat or plane pickup in Mole harbor or the reverse.

Link to cabin rentals

Lake Alexander cabin

Yes in rains in AK!!

Sportsmen cabin

Portaging without deflating. Extra tie downs help secure the raft.

Random pictures:

View out of Little Shaheen cabin

Not all Packrafts are created equal.

McKinney Lake. Side trip off of Hasselborg lake.

Loons were everywhere

Three sided shelters provide a nice place for a lunch break or serve as emergency shelters if you can’t reach a cabin.

More wildlife.

Here is a great write up about the trail using sea kayaks and an inflatable skiff and an outboard.

Thanks for your trip report. We’ve kayaked around Admiralty for several years, but the thought of carrying the kayak across the island has discouraged us from that adventure. Sounds like you guys found it all doable.

A few questions:

We’ve never “packrafted.” Did you elect not to carry a tent due to the availability of cabins?

Re not-deflating the rafts, were you able to carry the inflated rafts and your gear in the same “carry?”

Did a friend motor you to the takeout on Mitchell Bay or did you hire someone there to do it? (Or did you go the other way, getting picked up at Mitchell Bay take out)? If the latter, how did you make those arrangements?


It is totally doable with Packrafts and one of the best choices if you are just doing the trail. If you can hike two miles with 30-40lb you can do it. The folks before us paddled from Olivers Inlet to Angoon across the trail in plastic sea kayaks. I think they dragged their boats most the time, lots of evidence(plastic) on the trail. Talked to someone who did it in an aluminum canoe, they said the portages were brutal. People who tote larger craft end up doing two trips, one for the boat and one for their gear, not so with the Packrafts.

No tent but we did take a tarp in case we didn’t make it to a cabin. We could use it to enclose a three sided shelter or bivouac.

The yellow Packraft on my back is strapped to my backpack with all my gear. There were a few low branches here and there, it was very nice not to have to deflate for the portages.

I had a friend from Angoon pick us up. I think the paddle to Angoon would have been nice in itself but we didn’t have time. I’d like to do it in reverse and paddle up the bay next time (hopefully with the tide).

I highly recommend doing it and taking an extra day or two to enjoy the trip and not marching from cabin to cabin every day.

I can provide point to point pickup and drop off.