Population: 3,200

Petersburg is located on the northern tip of Mitkof Island at the northern end of Wrangell Narrows, midway between Juneau and Ketchikan. It is accessible by air or by Alaska state ferry.

Visitor Information: Petersburg Visitor Information Center, Box 649, Petersburg, AK 99833; phone 907-772-4636.

Petersburg was named for Peter Buschmann, who selected the present townsite for a salmon cannery and sawmill in 1897. He was followed by other Norwegian immigrants who came to fish and work in the cannery and sawmill.

Lodging downtown at 2 hotels/motels and several bed and-breakfasts; visit www.petersburg.org for listings. Dining downtown at Coastal Cold Storage and Deli, The Salty Pantry, Papa Bear’s Pizza, Inga’s Galley, Helse, and El Rincon. The 5-block-long downtown commercial area on Main Street (Nordic Drive) has a grocery store; 2 coffee shops, 2 hardware stores, marine and fishing supply stores; drugstore; bookstore; a travel agency (Viking Travel Inc.); banks (Wells Fargo and First Bank); 2 liquor stores, 2 bars; fresh fish market; gift shops, art gallery; and clothing stores specializing in both Alaska and Norwegian items. Auto repair, towing, gas and diesel at the corner of 2nd and Haugen.

Iconic Sons of Norway Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by David L. Ranta)

Petersburg has a post office and 13 churches. The spacious Hammer and Wikan grocery/deli are located a half-mile from downtown on Haugen Drive.

Ferry and tour reservations for whale watching, sea kayaking and glacier viewing tours at Viking Travel Inc. Towing, gas and diesel available. Private campground on Mitkof Highway at Frogs TV Park at Mile 2.9 and The Trees RV Park and General Store at Mile 10.2 Mitkof Highway. Ohmer Creek USFS Campground is at Mile 21.4 Mitkof Highway. Green’s Camp Campground on Sumner Strait is located at Mile 26.1 Mitkof Highway. Auto repair, towing, gas and diesel at the corner of 2nd and Haugen.


  • Clausen Memorial Museum displays artifacts representing Petersburg history, including cannery and fisheries, a world-record 126.5-lb. king salmon, the Cape Decision light station lens, and a Tlingit canoe.
  • Little Norway Festival, held in May, is an annual event celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day. Pageantry, old-country dress, contests, Vikings & Valkyries, a Viking ship, dancing, Norwegian pastries, a parade and a Norwegian “fish feed” are featured.
  • Sons of Norway Hall, on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1912. Situated on pilings over Hammer Slough, it is a favorite photography subject.
  • Fisherman’s Memorial Park, next to the Sons of Norway Hall, commemorates those townspeople lost at sea. The Viking ship Valhalla is next to the memorial.
  • Take a whale watching cruise tour out of Petersburg. Hundreds of humpbacks congregate in Frederick Sound and lower Stephen’s Passage. Contact Viking Travel, phone (907) 772-3818.
  • LeConte Glacier lies 25 miles east of Petersburg in LeConte Bay. It is the continent’s southernmost active tidewater glacier and the fastest flowing glacier in the world. Accessible via flightseeing trip or charter boat.
  • U.S. Forest Service public-use cabins, canoe/kayaking routes and hiking trails may be accessed from Petersburg.
  • Take a drive on the island’s 2 roads: 34-mile-long Mitkof Highway and 21-mile Three Lakes Loop Road.
  • Fish for salmon, steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden.