Destination :: Caines Head State Recreation Area

  • Caines Head: The remains of Fort McGilvray's gun turret. The windows are propped open and it is surrounded by trees and brush.

    Ruins of the Gun Turret at Fort McGilvray. July 2013. Image 1/5

  • Caines Head: Fort McGilvray's empty gun mount is in the foreground; two men stand on the edge, looking over Resurrection Bay.

    Ruins of a WWII Gun Mount. July 2013. Image 2/5

  • Caines Head: A view of Resurrection Bay from the top of Caines Head. Brush is visible in the foreground, a calm bay in the center, and mountains with some snow cover in the background.

    Resurrection Bay from Caines Head. July 2013. Image 3/5

  • Caines Head: A view of Resurrection Bay from the beach. The beach and some driftwood is visible in the foreground, a calm bay in most of the picture, and the edges of the mountains in the background.

    Caines Head and Resurrection Bay. July 2013. Image 4/5

  • Caines Head: The ruins of the WWII dock sit just off the beach, which is visible in the foreground. Mountains are visible in the background.

    Ruins of an Industrial Dock. July 2013. Image 5/5

Caines Head State Recreation Area preserves Fort McGilvray, an artillery fort that helped protect Resurrection Bay during WWII. The fort is accessible by trail from Seward (trips must be timed with the tides) or boat.

Brief History

August 28, 1903
The first colonial settlers arrive in Seward.1
July 1941
The U.S. Army occupies Seward, a critical wartime asset; Caines Head is identified as a strategic defense point in Resurrection Bay.
July 1942
After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands, the U.S. Army increases fortifications on Caines Head.
March 25, 1943
The fortifications are named Fort McGilvray.
April 7, 1944
The fort is abandoned as advances in the war effort make it obsolete.
March 4, 1947
The battery is dismantled.
May 1971
The area is designated Caines Head Recreation Area to protect the remains of the fort.


Seward, Alaska, 99664
United States



Let’s Do It Again Real Soon

We kayaked to North Beach and hiked up to the fort. Great half-day trip with fantastic views. Well worth a visit, but the trip (whether on foot or by boat) requires some planning and preparation.

Visits: 1 Visited: July 2013

Quick Statistics

7.4 miles (Lowell Point to Fort McGilvray)3


  1. Unless otherwise noted, information about the park and park history is from "Caines Head State Recreation Area," Wikipedia.
  2. "Caines Head State Recreation Area," Alaska DNR.
  3. Guide to Caines Head Trail, Alaska DNR.


  • "Caines Head State Recreation Area." Alaska State Park Units. Alaska Division of Natural Resources. Accessed November 23, 2017. Link.
  • "Caines Head State Recreation Area." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. December 31, 2016. Accessed October 11, 2017. Link.
  • Guide to Caines Head Trail. Alaska Division of Natural Resources. Accessed October 11, 2017. Link.