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Safety and Etiquette for Alaskan Waterfall Trips

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There are numerous incredible natural sights and wonders to take part in when you're in the great state of Alaska, and one of these is the state's vast array of beautiful waterfalls. There are numerous such opportunities around Alaska, including many secluded waterfalls, and this is just one of many themes you might be considering when you visit our great state.

At Pybus Point Lodge, tours to secluded Alaskan waterfalls are part of our Alaska all-inclusive vacation packages, which also include everything from fishing and lodging to wildlife adventures and more. Safety and basic etiquette are important themes during these and other tours we offer, and there are a number of themes your guide will go over with you before any excursion begins. As a way of preparing yourself in advance, here are some of the top areas that will likely be covered, plus general themes to be thinking about with regard to waterfall safety and etiquette.

Trail Research

Ahead of any major waterfall adventure, it's important that you do your research on the specific trail or area you'll be exploring. This is doubly important when visiting an area for the first time, and can help prevent any surprises or potentially dangerous situations. Your guide will likely have already done extensive research on any trails being used during your tour, but it doesn't hurt to do your own as well.

Look for information on the following:

  • Elevation changes and how difficult the trail is to hike
  • Previous reports of any downed trees or other obstacles in the way
  • What kind of wildlife may be present in the area
  • If there are any bodies of water along the trail, are there any areas where crossing may be difficult or dangerous
  • What the weather conditions have been like in recent days or weeks - has there been any rain or snowmelt that could make the trail more slippery than usual?

This is just a brief overview of some of the things to look for, and your guide will go over all relevant information with you before any big trip.

Poles or Other Safety Items

Especially for trails where you know some moisture is likely (this is common for waterfall excursions), it's always a good idea to bring along some sort of safety item. For many people, this takes the form of hiking poles, which can provide extra stability on slippery or uneven surfaces. These aren't required, but can be very helpful - just be sure to use them properly so you don't accidentally hurt yourself or someone else.

In addition to hiking poles, you may also want to bring along a small first-aid kit as well as a whistle. The first-aid kit is always good to have on any major hike, just in case anyone gets injured, and the whistle can be used to signal for help if necessary.

Proper Shoes

Down similar lines, it's also important that you have the proper shoes for any waterfall hike. Again, moisture is often present near waterfalls, which can make surfaces slippery and dangerous. In addition, you may be walking on rocks or other uneven surfaces, so having shoes with good traction is essential.

Your guide will go over any specific footwear requirements before your trip, but in general, you'll want to make sure you have sturdy shoes with good tread. Flip-flops or other sandals are almost never appropriate for this type of terrain, and you should avoid them if at all possible.

Clothing and Other Accessories

In addition to proper shoes, you'll also want to make sure you're appropriately dressed for any waterfall hike. Depending on the time of year and the specific location, this could vary quite a bit - in general, though, you'll want to dress in layers. That way, if it gets too warm or cool at any point, you can simply remove or add a layer as necessary.

Other accessories to consider bringing along include sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Again, the specific items you'll need will depend on the time of year and location, but these are all generally good things to have on any hike.

Water, Water, Water

It's important to know that the water bodies you'll be near during your excursion typically are not safe for drinking, no matter how tempting it may be. The water may look clean, but there could be all sorts of harmful bacteria present that you can't see.

To avoid getting sick, it's essential that you bring along enough water for everyone in your group. A good rule of thumb is to bring at least one gallon per person, per day. If you're hiking in hot weather, you may want to bring even more than that.

Your guide will have water on hand as well, but it's always a good idea to have your own supply as well - that way, you won't have to worry about running out.

Trail and Waterfall Etiquette

A few basic themes on etiquette for any waterfall excursion:

  • Pick up what you put down: This includes things like food wrappers, tissues, and any other trash you may have. It's always best to pack out what you pack in, and this is especially important in delicate ecosystems like those found near waterfalls.
  • Respect the wildlife: Waterfalls are often home to all sorts of different animals, so it's important to be respectful of them. This means not disturbing nests or dens, not chasing animals, and not feeding them. If you do encounter an animal, it's best to just leave it alone.
  • Respect the plants: Waterfalls are also home to many different plant species, some of which are quite delicate. Again, it's important not to disturb these plants, and to be careful not to trample them. If you're unsure whether or not it's safe to walk on a particular plant, it's always best to err on the side of caution and find another route.
  • Be considerate of other hikers: Waterfalls are often popular hiking destinations, so you'll likely encounter other groups on the trail. It's important to be considerate of them, and to yield the right-of-way when necessary. If you're hiking in a larger group, it's best to stick to single file so that other hikers can easily pass.

In general, just use common sense and be respectful of your surroundings, and you should have no trouble on your trip.

For more on both safety and etiquette for any Alaskan waterfall trip, or to learn about our all-inclusive Alaskan fishing trips, wildlife tours and other programs, speak to our team at Pybus Point Lodge today.

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Andrea Tate

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Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

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Sharon Hedding

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We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

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We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

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My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

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This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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