Ketchikan, Alaska is named the Salmon Capital of the world, it homes the world’s largest assortment of standing Totem Poles and it dubs itself Alaska’s First Metropolis. Ketchikan received its title as a result of it’s the first port of name for cruise ships within the state of Alaska as you Cruise North alongside the Inside Passage. There are many issues to do in Ketchikan and we’re going to focus on a couple of of its prime points of interest that will help you determine what tour to take if you’re on a cruise, or what to see and do if you’re touring independently.
High Issues to Do in Ketchikan
Now we have visited Ketchikan thrice and through our final journey, it was our final cease on our Alaskan Cruise with Holland America Strains. Our cruise ship, The Nieuw Amsterdam anchored steps away from downtown Ketchikan making for a straightforward tour of the city.
1. Black Bears Feeding on Salmon
Ketchikan is named the “Salmon Capital of the World,” and for a very good cause. Guests can go salmon fishing within the many rivers, streams, and lakes that encompass the city however when you actually wish to see one thing extraordinary, guide a tour to see black bears feeding on spawning salmon.
The most effective time to see bears feeding within the streams is between July and September as they fatten up for his or her winter hibernation. This time of 12 months, the streams are crammed with salmon making their method upstream to spawn and lay their eggs. As soon as their eggs are laid, they keep within the streams to die. This creates a feast for the black bears. You may guide this one among a sort journey prematurely right here.
Once we visited in August, the bears had been consuming a lot that they weren’t even consuming the total fish anymore, they have been merely biting into them for his or her eggs. As our information advised us, the eggs are like their dessert.
Earlier than the tour, we took a guided stroll to study in regards to the bears. We noticed the place the bears sleep between feasts, and what they prefer to eat and we noticed a couple of locations the place they’ve scratched and climbed up timber.
It’s really an interesting tour with the star attraction being the 90 minutes on the hides the place we watched half a dozen bears hunt and work together of their pure habitat. Particulars right here.
2. Scenic Flight to Misty Fjords
Throughout our journey to Neets Bay, we have been handled to a rare scenic flight. However you possibly can guide stand-alone scenic flights in Ketchikan and we extremely suggest it. Ketchikan scenic flights take you over the forest and fjords of the Gulf of Alaska. You’ll get a surprising view of Ketchikan and the encircling islands from the air, together with the Tongass Narrows, Revillagigedo Island, and Gravina Island.
This 1 hour scenic flight takes you over sheer cliffs, waterfalls and the lakes of Misty Fjords. Window seat is assured which is a bonus. One of the breathtaking views is the Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument. This pure surprise has towering cliffs, pristine lakes, and luxurious forests.
Ketchikan is positioned within the Tongass Nationwide Forest which is the biggest nationwide forest in america. It covers a lot of Southeast Alaska and from the air, you possibly can see the huge expanse of this unimaginable wilderness.
We noticed waterfalls and we even noticed a gaggle of sea lions basking on an island throughout our flight. It isn’t unusual to see whales from the seaplane. Extra particulars right here.
3. Self-Drive Zodiac Journey
Top-of-the-line excursions we took in Ketchikan was the zodiac journey. We have been suited up with our rain gear and heat garments earlier than setting out on our personal self-drive journey. After a quick introduction, we adopted our information alongside the coast of Ketchikan via the Tongass Narrows in quest of whales and bald eagles.
And we noticed each! As we made our method out to open water, we noticed a humpback whale breaching within the distance. After watching in awe from our tiny vessels, we then set out nearer to the shore to see the abundance of bald eagles. We even noticed one dive for fish.
It was then extra time zipping via the water using the wake of our chief taking within the websites. We even stopped to let a float aircraft land earlier than persevering with on to dry land to get pleasure from smores by the campfire.
This tour really was a blast. It was pouring rain throughout our journey which made it much more enjoyable as we cruised via the well-known misty fjords of Ketchikan. Guide the journey right here.
4. Bear Watching
Seeing bears within the wild is among the most magical experiences. Alaska has the densest inhabitants of bears on the earth, and locations the the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary and surrounding forests have a excessive focus of Black Bears.
This extremely rated tour gives black bear viewing with no need to get in a aircraft. Go to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary the place you’ll hike to an elevated boardwalk to observe bears from the protection of the raised platforms.
You’ll additionally undergo the wetlands of Eagle Creek in quest of bald eagles and different wildlife within the space. Guide your tour right here.
5. Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument Cruise
Whereas seeing the Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument from above is superb, the most effective methods to discover it’s on a ship tour. Guide this non-public small group tour to cruise previous its glacial fjords, dramatic cliffs, and waterfalls. You’ll even be maintaining a watch out for sea lions, whales, bears, and mountain goats.
Locations that you will notice are Rudyerd Bay, New Eddystone Rock, and Punchbowl Cove, and have a non-public commentary and tour as you cruise at your individual tempo. This 6 passenger bot cruise takes you by non-public constitution to see the cliffs, whales and wildlife of the Misty Fjords to see Rudyerd Bay, New Eddystone Rock, and Punchbowl Cove
6. Go Buying on Creek Avenue
We love historic Creek Avenue. It was pouring rain our first time in Ketchikan so we actually didn’t perceive simply how picturesque this elevated boardwalk operating alongside Ketchikan Creek is. That’s till we lastly explored it on a sunny day.
Creek Avenue is crammed with boutique procuring, museums, and eating places. The boardwalk was as soon as the city’s purple mild district and there are nonetheless indicators from the Gold Rush days of the Nineties.
The historic colourful buildings line the boardwalk alongside the water and look the identical as they did within the nineteenth century. Take your time to benefit from the views from Creek Avenue and maintain a watch out for salmon spawning in Ketchikan Creek. We even noticed a sea lion swimming within the water.
7. Dolly’s Home Museum
One of many buildings that actually stands out on Creek Avenue is Dolly’s Home Museum. This museum is positioned within the former dwelling of Dolly Arthur, a well-known madam who ran a brothel on Creek Avenue in the course of the early twentieth century. The museum gives a glimpse into the historical past of prostitution in Ketchikan and the lifetime of Dolly Arthur.
8. Salmon Ladder
When you see a crowd gathering whereas wanting on the creek, likelihood is you will have come to Salmon Ladder. Creek Avenue is constructed over Ketchikan Creek, and in the course of the summer time months, you possibly can watch salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The creek has a ladder that enables the fish to bypass a waterfall and proceed upstream. So you will notice a whole lot of them congregating proper right here.
9. Chief Johnston Totem Pole
The Chief Johnson totem pole is among the tallest totem poles on the earth, standing at 55 ft tall, and is a outstanding landmark within the metropolis. The totem pole was initially carved within the late nineteenth century by Tlingit artist Charlie Jones and stood in entrance of Chief Johnson’s home in Tongass.
You may’t miss seeing this work of ar, it stands on the entrance to historic Creek Avenue the place it has change into a well-liked vacationer attraction and an emblem of the area’s Native American heritage. The totem pole options plenty of totally different figures, together with an eagle, a bear, and a human determine, every with its personal symbolic which means.
10. Go to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Middle
Ketchikan is crammed with cultural and historic experiences and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Middle isn’t any exception. The museum showcases the historical past and tradition of Alaska’s southeastern area via interactive reveals.
One of many reveals features a simulated rainforest, a duplicate Tlingit longhouse, and shows in regards to the area’s fishing and logging industries.
There’s additionally a media middle the place guests can watch movies to study in regards to the historical past and tradition of Alaska and its Indigenous individuals.
11. Tongass Historic Museum
If you wish to see some extra museums, or if it raining in Ketchikan (because it typically does), The Tongass Historic Museum reveals the city’s historical past and heritage. There’s a free shuttle from the cruise ship port in the summertime making it excellent for a wet day.
12. Go to the Totem Heritage Middle
One factor you’ll discover throughout downtown Ketchikan are the totem poles. To study extra about them, the Totem Heritage Middle is a should. The museum is devoted to preserving and showcasing the artwork and historical past of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Peoples.
However what attracts many individuals to the museum is its spectacular assortment of totem poles, a few of that are greater than 150 years outdated. Additionally, you will see conventional masks, carvings, and artwork in addition to reveals exhibiting the Indigenous tradition of the world that features conventional looking and fishing.
The museum gives a spread of instructional packages, together with workshops on conventional arts and crafts, guided excursions, and cultural performances.
The Indigenous Folks have inhabited the Ketchikan space for hundreds of years and visiting the Totem Heritage Middle is a superb option to acquire a greater understanding of their tradition.
13. Take A Tour of the Salmon Hatchery
We had three excursions in a single whereas watching the bears feed because it happened on the Neets Bay Salmon hatchery (And we had a stunning scenic flight) When you can’t make the journey to Neets Bay, you could wish to take a tour of a salmon hatchery downtown.
The Deer Mountain Hatchery and Eagle Middle is concentrated on breeding salmon and releasing them into the waterways. Guests can take excursions to study in regards to the course of and the significance of sustainable fishing practices. The hatchery additionally has a viewing space the place guests can watch the salmon as they swim upstream to spawn.
10. Eagle Middle
One other in style attraction throughout the middle is the Eagle Middle which is dwelling to a number of rescued eagles which might be unable to outlive within the wild because of damage or different elements. The middle offers a protected and pure surroundings for the eagles and permits guests to watch these majestic birds up shut.
The Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Middle is a vital cultural and academic middle in Ketchikan, offering guests with a novel alternative to find out about conventional indigenous practices and the native wildlife.
11. Tongass Nationwide Forest
The Tongass Nationwide Forest is the biggest nationwide forest in america and covers over 17 million acres. Whenever you go to Ketchikan, you possibly can guide excursions to discover the forest’s huge wilderness and observe a various vary of wildlife, together with black bears, and bald eagles.
There are many climbing trails, tenting websites, and fishing spots throughout the Tongass Nationwide Forest that supply a novel alternative to expertise the pure fantastic thing about Alaska. This electrical bike tour takes you thru the city’s highlights adopted by a trek via the wilderness. Guide your tour right here
12. Wildlife Tour of Ketchikan
Ketchikan is understood for its plentiful wildlife, so taking a wildlife tour is among the finest issues to do in Ketchikan. You received’t be hard-pressed to identify bald eagles, black bears, humpback whales, and sea lions. Guests can take a wildlife tour, the place you possibly can observe these animals of their pure habitat.
This whale and wildlife viewing journey is ideal for these with a short while and who wish to see extra in much less time. The tour contains whale and wildlife viewing boat journey that features snacks and non alcoholic drinks.
14. Saxam Native Village
The Saxman Native Village is a cultural middle is positioned within the Saxman Village, which is a standard Tlingit neighborhood that has been inhabited for hundreds of years. The middle showcases cultural performances and demonstrations. the place guests can watch conventional Tlingit dances, take heed to Tlingit music, and see demonstrations of Tlingit arts and crafts.
The Saxman Native Village is dwelling to the Saxman Totem Park, which options the biggest assortment of totem poles in Alaska. Guests can take a guided tour of the park to study in regards to the historical past and significance of the totem poles, in addition to the tradition and traditions of the Tlingit individuals. The park additionally incorporates a duplicate Tlingit longhouse, the place guests can find out about conventional Tlingit life.
15. Totem Bight State Park
One other vital place to go to in Ketchikan Alaska is Totem Bight State Park. The park is dwelling to over a dozen totem poles that have been both carved within the early 1900s or have been created within the Seventies as a part of a Works Progress Administration undertaking. Every totem pole has a novel story and which means, and there are informational indicators that present extra details about every one.
The park gives guided excursions and also you’ll have the ability to watch cultural performances together with conventional dance and music. This Ketchikan 4 in 1 Tour will meet you at your ship dock to take you on a journey via the highlights of Ketchikan together with Creek Avenue, the Totem Parks, seek for sea creatures in tide swimming pools and a salmon hatchery.
18. Go kayaking
Now we have performed a whole lot of kayaking in Alaska and it is among the finest excursions you possibly can guide. Kayaking is a well-liked exercise in Ketchikan, because the city is surrounded by water. Guests can hire a kayak and discover the numerous coves, bays, and inlets that make up Alaska’s shoreline however we recommend taking an organized tour for security and to actually expertise the great thing about the panorama.
Kayaking is a superb option to rise up near Alaska’s wildlife and to expertise the great thing about the world’s surroundings now we have seen so much from a kayak in Alaska and Ketchikan is a superb place to have some encounters. You’ll have the chance see to a wide range of wildlife, together with bald eagles, seals, sea otters, and even whales. Since you are silently paddling via the water, probabilities of spying on wildlife are tremendously elevated.
This kayaking tour really takes you off the crushed path. Take a excessive pace boat to Orca Cove after which paddle via the islands and coastal coves following an skilled information. You’ll get pleasure from snacks in your boat journey again to city whereas maintaining a watch out for wildlife.
19. Nice Alaskan Lumberjack Present
If you’re searching for some enjoyable leisure in Ketchikan, take a look at the Nice Alaskan Lumberjack Present. This can be a battle between Alaska and British Columbia that takes place at Ketchikan’s Lumberjack Sports activities Area.
The lumberjacks compete in occasions that commemorate their logging heritage. Issues to anticipate to see are lumberjacks operating throughout floating logs, chip and noticed wooden at lightning-fast speeds, an ax-throwing competitors, and extra. You’ll find out about lumberjack historical past and have a rip-roaring good time adopted by a meal that includes Dungeness crab. Guide your tickets prematurely right here.
20. Deadliest Catch Fisherman’s Tour
One of many extra distinctive issues to do in Ketchikan is to go out on the ocean to get a really feel of what life is like for fishermen in Alaska. Hop aboard the Aleutian Ballad fishing boat to cruise the Inside Passage. Seasoned fishermen haul their catch on deck as share their experiences and lore of the ocean.
This tour is 2 journeys in a single as you retain an aye out for wildlife like whales, sea lions, and eagles. If you’re a fan of the present on Discovery, you’ll love this tour. Get extra particulars right here.
21. Trolley Tour
When you merely need an summary of the city of Ketchikan, a trolley tour is a good possibility. The Totems, Metropolis & Wildlife by Cable Automotive Trolley takes you round in a San Francisco type trolley to see the Saxam Native Village and fish ladder. Chances are you’ll even spy bears, seals and a bald eagle ore two with a cease on the Herring Cove viewing space. Guide your trolley tour right here.
22. The Rock
Be sure that to walk alongside the waterfront of Ketchikan and maintain a watch out for The Rock sculpture. The Rock is a wonderful piece of Alaskan artwork depicting the origins of Ketchikan Metropolis. It shows seven figures that characterize the individuals who helped to construct the town. Chief Johnson stands on the prime surrounded by a local drummer, a frontierswoman, a minor, fisherman and a logger. This is among the prime stops for pictures.
We love Ketchikan. From its plentiful wildlife to its wealthy historical past there’s something for everybody. If you’re trying to expertise Alaska or an Alascan cruise, be sure so as to add Ketchikan to your checklist.
This small city within the southeastern a part of Alaska, identified for its excessive focus of wildlife, totem poles, and its wealthy native tradition. With a inhabitants of roughly 8,000, Ketchikan gives guests a novel and unforgettable expertise with loads of thrilling actions and points of interest to discover.
There is no such thing as a denying that Ketchikan is a well-liked port of name for cruise ships, with a number of ships stopping within the metropolis every day. Chances are high you’ll be visiting Ketchikan by cruise ship. For us, every cease we made was by cruise ship, and whereas it took us a couple of journeys to have the ability to expertise a whole lot of Ketchikan Alaska, you possibly can see so much in a short while.
Downtown Ketchikan Map
It’s simple to discover downtown in simply a few hours when you don’t spend too lengthy in museums.
When you select a tour that mixes a scenic flight with wildlife viewing, you’ll have the ability to have two excursions in a single. You’ll then have the remainder of the afternoon to discover downtown Ketchikan and the previous red-light district. You may in all probability even pop into Dolly’s Home Museum for a fast tour.
Cruise Ships in Ketchikan
We took a Holland American Cruise that included a cease in Ketchikan and it was excellent. Our ports of name on our cruise included Anchorage to Whittier, Juneau, Skagway and cruisin via the Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, the Inside Passage and Vancouver. Extra particulars on our Yukon, Denali Land Tour with Holland America right here.
The Cruise ship dock is positioned downtown and is only a quick stroll to the outdated purple mild district of Creek Avenue. Even when you don’t guide a tour of Ketchikan, you’ll have the ability to expertise a whole lot of this cool Alaskan Gold Rush city.
Have you ever been to Ketchikan? What’s your favorite factor to do?
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