Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) serves Wrangell once daily with a jet flying 28 minutes north from Ketchikan and another 19 minutes south from Petersburg, a flight that skims treetops the entire way.
Wrangell is on the main line of the Alaska Marine Highway System (tel. 800/642-0066; www.ferryalaska.com). The voyage through the narrow, winding Wrangell Narrows north to Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and fascinating in Southeast Alaska. The walk-on fare is $37 from Ketchikan, $33 from Petersburg. The terminal is downtown (tel. 907/874-3711), a block from the Stikine Inn.
The city's Wrangell Visitor Center is in the Nolan Center, along with the Wrangell Museum, on the water in the heart of town at 296 Campbell Dr. (tel. 800/367-9745; www.wrangellalaska.org). Staff from both the Nolan Center and the U.S. Forest Service are on hand to answer questions.
The Forest Service's Wrangell Ranger District Office is at 525 Bennett St. (P.O. Box 51), Wrangell, AK 99929 (tel. 907/874-2323; www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass), located on the hill behind town. Forest Service personnel here and at the visitor center have local knowledge of the logging roads and fishing holes, offer printed information on each Forest Service cabin and path, and, for $10, sell a detailed Wrangell Island Road Guide topographic map, which is printed on waterproof material. The district office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.
The main part of town is laid out north to south along the waterfront on the northern point of Wrangell Island. Front Street is the main business street, leading from the small-boat harbor and Chief Shakes Island at the south to the city dock and the ferry dock at the north. Most of the rest of the town is along Church Street, which runs parallel to Front Street a block higher up the hill. Evergreen Avenue and Bennett Street form a loop to the north that goes to the airport. The only road to the rest of the island, the Zimovia Highway, heads out of town to the south, paved for about 12 miles, then connects to more than 100 miles of gravel logging roads built and maintained by the Forest Service, most of which are usable by two-wheel-drive vehicles in the summer.
The Stikine Birding Festival, held the last week in April, marks the arrival of the sea lions, hooligans (a smelt also known as eulachon), shorebirds, and a great concentration of bald eagles on the Stikine River Delta, a spring tornado of wildlife in the region's largest coastal marshes. Community activities take place in town, while jet boat and birding tours traverse the delta.
The Wrangell King Salmon Derby, the last half of May and first half of June, started in 1953. Contact the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce for details (tel. 907/874-3901; www.wrangellchamber.org). Wrangell also puts on a classic small-town Independence Day celebration on July 4, with 3 days of events, including kids' competitions, a logging show, a parade, a fair, and fireworks.
Wrangell BearFest (tel. 907/874-2998; www.alaskabearfest.org) celebrates the bear viewing that comes with the summer salmon runs. There are films, workshops, a symposium on bears, games, and other activities. July 25 to July 29, 2012.