Recent Searches
Clear

Things to do in  Ketchikan

Welcome to Ketchikan

This frontier outpost on the southern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage panhandle is known as the salmon capital of the world. It’s not a surprise considering fishing was the only game in town for much Ketchikan’s history. Today, it’s the first port of call for excursions into the Tongass National Forest, the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, Misty Fjords National Monument, and Ward Cove. It makes a terrific base to explore the state’s unspoiled wilderness with a jeep or ATV tour of the rainforest or float down its waterways on a fishing boat, Zodiac, kayak, or canoe. For a view from above, take a zipline tour or go flightseeing with the eagles by floatplane or helicopter (an ideal way to see bears). The arrival of commercial fishing led to a boom in Ketchikan’s population in the first half of the 20th century, and the town’s Creek Street red-light district and Dolly’s House—a preserved brothel—offer a unique peek into its history. Going back even further, the native Tlingit people were fishing these waters. Ketchikan has the largest collection of standing Tlingit totem poles in the world, which can be found at Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, the Totem Heritage Center, and Potlatch Park. Learn more about the history and culture of these people at the Tongass Historical Museum, and end your visit with a Bering Sea crab feast.

Learn more

Top 10 attractions in Ketchikan

Misty Fjords National Monument
#1

Misty Fjords National Monument

The Misty Fjords National Monument encompasses 3,594 square miles (5,783 square kilometers) of wilderness and lies between two impressive fjords - Behm Canal (117 mi/188 km long) and Portland Canal (72 mi/115 km long). The two natural canals give the preserve its extraordinarily deep and long fjords with sheer granite walls that rise thousands of feet/meters out of the water. Misty Fjords is well named; annual rainfall is 14 feet (4 meters). Misty Fjords National Monument draws many kayakers, who head for the smaller but equally impressive fjords of Walker Cove and Punchbowl Cove in Rudyerd Bay, off Behm Canal. Dense spruce-hemlock rainforest is the most common vegetation throughout the monument, and sea lions, harbor seals, killer whales, brown and black bears, mountain goats, moose and bald eagles can all be seen there....
Creek Street
#2

Creek Street

In pioneering days every red-blooded gold-rush town had a red-light district, and during Ketchikan’s frontier past it was Creek Street. This historic bordello hub was built over Ketchikan Creek, hence the neighborhood’s name. In Ketchikan’s gold-mining heyday, more than two dozen houses of ill repute lined the boardwalk. Prostitution wasn’t outlawed here until 1954, and was legal as long as business wasn’t transacted on dry land. This explains why Creek Street isn’t a street at all, but an elevated boardwalk built on wooden pilings. Things are a lot more tame these days, and the red-trimmed Dolly’s House museum is Creek Street’s most colorful remnant. The boardwalk stretches over the creek, and gaily painted wooden buildings line the waterfront here....
Tongass National Forest
#6

Tongass National Forest

Encompassing 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the United States. Originally the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve, a project of Theodore Roosevelt started in 1902, the park was developed and renamed in 1908 to pay homage to the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit Indians. Visitors to Tongass National Forest have an enormous array of activities and experiences to choose from: bird-watching, trekking, fishing (there are five species of salmon here, among other fish), camping, visiting glaciers, lake canoeing, off-roading and just relishing pure fresh air and pristine natural beauty. In fact, there are 17,000 miles (27,359 kilometers) of lakes, creeks and rivers to enjoy within the forest. Wildlife is also prevalent, with chances to view otters, brown and black bears, wolves, eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer....
Guard Island Lighthouse
#7

Guard Island Lighthouse

Known as Alaska’s most accessible lighthouse, the historic Guard Island Lighthouse lit up for the first time on Sept. 15, 1924. The original 34-foot wooden structure deteriorated over the years due to severe weather conditions, but the lighthouse was rebuilt in the 1920s using white concrete to stand up to the elements, and the original fog bell was replaced with a diaphone fog signal. Before the U.S. Coast Guard took over the lighthouse in 1969, two families lived on Guard Island and operated the structure. There are also chilling tales of two murdered bodies that may have been found in a vessel drifting nearby during Prohibition. The Guard Island Lighthouse was particularly important during the Klondike Gold Rush, as it aided in shipping along the Southeast Alaska Inside Passage. In 2004, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and it is now known for its historical significance, peaceful beauty and abundance of seals....
Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary
#8

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Welcome to what is most likely heaven on Earth for Nordic fauna fanatics! The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary is a 40-acre rainforest consisting of immense spruce, hemlock and cedar trees with a forest floor covered with several different kinds of moss, wild flowers and berries. A living postcard of the Alaskan wildlife, the sanctuary is located just a few miles outside the picturesque and tranquil fishing community of Herring Cove. The sanctuary is not just about breathtaking sights but also memorable and varied experiences led by naturalists, that truly reflect what life is like in this harsh but fascinating and pristine climate. Here, visitors can interact with a herd of Alaskan Reindeer, marvel at Eagle Creek (Alaska’s richest salmon spawning stream), step back in time while visiting a historic Alaska sawmill, learn more about the local fauna at the Alaska Wildlife Foundation Center and even watch a Native master totem-pole carver at work....

Top activities in Ketchikan

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in Ketchikan?
Q:
What are the top activities in Ketchikan?
Q:
What are the top things to do near Ketchikan?
A:
Check out things to do near Ketchikan:

Things to do near Ketchikan