Cape St. Elias Lighthouse is on uninhabited Kayak Island, 62 miles southeast of the nearest town, Cordova, Alaska. The island is 20 miles long and generally only 2 miles wide, but rainforest vegetation is so dense that hikers cannot cross it. The solitary island extends into the Gulf of Alaska, separated from the mainland by a channel 4 miles wide. At its southernmost seaward side is situated the lighthouse, automated since 1974.
It is now a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1916, it sits on a steep slope adjacent to a two-story lightkeepers’ residence. Below it is a helicopter pad, boathouse, and research center. Today only the boathouse is habitable, with wood stove, water tank, propane oven, blankets, and bunks for as many as 10 paying visitors. It is maintained by the Cape St. Elias Lightkeepers Association
Organized in 1997, the Association is dedicated to restoring and preserving the complex of buildings at Cape Elias. It has a 30-year lease with the U.S. Coast Guard. An individual membership in the Association is $35 the first year and $10 annually thereafter. Membership Form