Ketchikan, Alaska is called 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 bought its identify 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 just a few of its prime sights 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.
Prime Issues to Do in Ketchikan
We now 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 called the “Salmon Capital of the World,” and for a great cause. Guests can go salmon fishing within the many rivers, streams, and lakes that encompass the city however when you actually need to see one thing extraordinary, e-book a tour to see black bears feeding on spawning salmon.
The perfect 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 full of salmon making their manner 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 possibly can e-book this considered one of a form 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 had been merely biting into them for his or her eggs. As our information instructed us, the eggs are like their dessert.
Earlier than the tour, we took a guided stroll to study concerning the bears. We noticed the place the bears sleep between feasts, and what they wish to eat and we noticed just a few 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 had been handled to a rare scenic flight. However you may e-book stand-alone scenic flights in Ketchikan and we extremely advocate it. Ketchikan scenic flights take you over the forest and fjords of the Gulf of Alaska. You’ll get a shocking 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 crucial 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 most important nationwide forest in the USA. It covers a lot of Southeast Alaska and from the air, you may see the huge expanse of this unbelievable wilderness.
We noticed waterfalls and we even noticed a gaggle of sea lions basking on an island throughout our flight. It’s not unusual to see whales from the seaplane. Extra particulars right here.
3. Self-Drive Zodiac Journey
Among the best excursions we took in Ketchikan was the zodiac journey. We had been suited up with our rain gear and heat garments earlier than setting out on our personal self-drive journey. After a short introduction, we adopted our information alongside the coast of Ketchikan by way of the Tongass Narrows searching for whales and bald eagles.
And we noticed each! As we made our manner 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 by way of the water using the wake of our chief taking within the websites. We even stopped to let a float airplane 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 by way of the well-known misty fjords of Ketchikan. E book 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 planet, 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 without having to get in a airplane. 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 searching for bald eagles and different wildlife within the space. E book your tour right here.
5. Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument Cruise
Whereas seeing the Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument from above is superb, top-of-the-line methods to discover it’s on a ship tour. E book this non-public small group tour to cruise previous its glacial fjords, dramatic cliffs, and waterfalls. You’ll even be maintaining an eye fixed 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 Purchasing 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 working alongside Ketchikan Creek is. That’s till we lastly explored it on a sunny day.
Creek Avenue is full of boutique buying, museums, and eating places. The boardwalk was as soon as the city’s pink gentle 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 hold an eye fixed 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 through 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
Should you see a crowd gathering whereas trying on the creek, likelihood is you might have come to Salmon Ladder. Creek Avenue is constructed over Ketchikan Creek, and through the summer season months, you may watch salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The creek has a ladder that permits the fish to bypass a waterfall and proceed upstream. So you will notice lots of them congregating proper right here.
9. Chief Johnston Totem Pole
The Chief Johnson totem pole is among the tallest totem poles on the planet, 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 possibly can’t miss seeing this work of ar, it stands on the entrance to historic Creek Avenue the place it has turn into a well-liked vacationer attraction and an emblem of the area’s Native American heritage. The totem pole options various totally different figures, together with an eagle, a bear, and a human determine, every with its personal symbolic that means.
10. Go to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Heart
Ketchikan is full of cultural and historic experiences and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Heart is not any exception. The museum showcases the historical past and tradition of Alaska’s southeastern area by way of interactive reveals.
One of many reveals features a simulated rainforest, a reproduction Tlingit longhouse, and shows concerning the area’s fishing and logging industries.
There may be additionally a media middle the place guests can watch movies to study concerning the historical past and tradition of Alaska and its Indigenous folks.
11. Tongass Historic Museum
If you wish to see some extra museums, or if it raining in Ketchikan (because it usually 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 good for a wet day.
12. Go to the Totem Heritage Heart
One factor you’ll discover throughout downtown Ketchikan are the totem poles. To study extra about them, the Totem Heritage Heart 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 previous. Additionally, you will see conventional masks, carvings, and artwork in addition to reveals displaying the Indigenous tradition of the world that features conventional searching and fishing.
The museum gives a spread of instructional applications, together with workshops on conventional arts and crafts, guided excursions, and cultural performances.
The Indigenous Individuals have inhabited the Ketchikan space for 1000’s of years and visiting the Totem Heritage Heart is a wonderful technique 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 beautiful scenic flight) Should you can’t make the journey to Neets Bay, it’s possible you’ll need to take a tour of a salmon hatchery downtown.
The Deer Mountain Hatchery and Eagle Heart is targeted on breeding salmon and releasing them into the waterways. Guests can take excursions to study concerning 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 Heart
One other fashionable attraction throughout the middle is the Eagle Heart which is dwelling to a number of rescued eagles which can be unable to outlive within the wild resulting from damage or different components. The middle supplies a secure and pure atmosphere for the eagles and permits guests to look at these majestic birds up shut.
The Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Heart 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 most important nationwide forest in the USA and covers over 17 million acres. Whenever you go to Ketchikan, you may e-book 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 mountaineering 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 by way of the wilderness. E book your tour right here
12. Wildlife Tour of Ketchikan
Ketchikan is thought for its ample wildlife, so taking a wildlife tour is among the greatest issues to do in Ketchikan. You gained’t be hard-pressed to identify bald eagles, black bears, humpback whales, and sea lions. Guests can take a wildlife tour, the place you may observe these animals of their pure habitat.
This whale and wildlife viewing journey is ideal for these with a short while and who need to see extra in much less time. The tour consists of 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 group that has been inhabited for 1000’s of years. The middle showcases cultural performances and demonstrations. the place guests can watch conventional Tlingit dances, hearken 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 most important assortment of totem poles in Alaska. Guests can take a guided tour of the park to study concerning the historical past and significance of the totem poles, in addition to the tradition and traditions of the Tlingit folks. The park additionally contains 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 had been both carved within the early 1900s or had been created within the Seventies as a part of a Works Progress Administration challenge. Every totem pole has a novel story and that means, and there are informational indicators that present extra details about every one.
The park gives guided excursions and also you’ll be capable 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 by way of 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
We now have carried out lots of kayaking in Alaska and it is among the greatest excursions you may e-book. 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 propose taking an organized tour for security and to actually expertise the great thing about the panorama.
Kayaking is a wonderful technique to stand up near Alaska’s wildlife and to expertise the great thing about the world’s surroundings we’ve seen rather a lot from a kayak in Alaska and Ketchikan is a wonderful 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 by way of the water, possibilities of spying on wildlife are vastly elevated.
This kayaking tour really takes you off the overwhelmed path. Take a excessive velocity boat to Orca Cove after which paddle by way of the islands and coastal coves following an skilled information. You’ll get pleasure from snacks in your boat journey again to city whereas maintaining an eye fixed out for wildlife.
19. Nice Alaskan Lumberjack Present
If you’re on the lookout for some enjoyable leisure in Ketchikan, take a look at the Nice Alaskan Lumberjack Present. It is 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 working 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. E book 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
Should you merely need an outline 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 model trolley to see the Saxam Native Village and fish ladder. You could even spy bears, seals and a bald eagle ore two with a cease on the Herring Cove viewing space. E book your trolley tour right here.
22. The Rock
Be sure to walk alongside the waterfront of Ketchikan and hold an eye fixed out for The Rock sculpture. The Rock is a gorgeous piece of Alaskan artwork depicting the origins of Ketchikan Metropolis. It shows seven figures that characterize the individuals who helped to construct 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 ample wildlife to its wealthy historical past there’s something for everybody. If you’re seeking to expertise Alaska or an Alascan cruise, ensure that so as to add Ketchikan to your checklist.
This small city within the southeastern a part of Alaska, recognized 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 sights 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. Likelihood is you’ll be visiting Ketchikan by cruise ship. For us, every cease we made was by cruise ship, and whereas it took us just a few journeys to have the ability to expertise lots of Ketchikan Alaska, you may see rather a lot 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.
Should you select a tour that mixes a scenic flight with wildlife viewing, you’ll be capable 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 possibly can 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 by way of 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 brief stroll to the previous pink gentle district of Creek Avenue. Even when you don’t e-book a tour of Ketchikan, you’ll be capable to expertise lots of this cool Alaskan Gold Rush city.
Have you ever been to Ketchikan? What’s your favorite factor to do?
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