Things To Do In Ketchikan

A totem pole at Totem Bight State Park

Admire beautiful works of art and Alaskan Native culture like this at Totem Bight State Park

1. Learn All About Totems

Check out the world’s largest collection of 19th-century totem poles—and learn their rich history and meaning—at the Totem Heritage Center. Want to see more of these unique carvings? Head to Totem Bight State Park, located on the ocean north of town, or go just south of town to Saxman Totem Park.

2. Explore Town

Get insights into the town’s natural and cultural treasures at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, full of interactive exhibits and displays, along with a movie theater. Lighthouse lovers will want to check out the 100-year-old Guard Island Lighthouse, which you can see from the North Tongass Highway or a charter boat. Then duck into fun shops as you stroll Creek Street Boardwalk, home to the town’s red-light district until the 1950s.

Creek Street boardwalk in Ketchikan

Stroll down the picturesque Creek Street

See Ketchikan from above on a flightseeing tour

See Ketchikan from above on a flightseeing tour

3. See Ketchikan From Above

With fjords, forests, waterfalls, lakes, and much more, flightseeing in Ketchikan makes for an unforgettable outing, whether you choose to do it in an airplane or helicopter.

Another option is to fly high above the temperate rainforest on a zipline tour; choose from eight different courses!

Ketchikan things to do take to the water Baranof Fishing Excursions 2018 DJI 00492019

Angle for your own salmon on a fishing charter

4. Take to the Water

Anglers will love Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Go out on one of the many fishing charters to cast for these famous Alaskan fish. Or just wander down to Ketchikan’s waterfront to check out the world’s 12th-busiest fishing port.

If you’re more interested in paddling, take a sea kayaking tour, where you can explore the famous Inside Passage on a 3- or 5-hour excursion.

5. Traverse the Backcountry

Ketchikan sits on the fabled Inside Passage and is surrounded by old-growth forest; in other words, it’s the perfect place to find scenic views and lush woods. See it all on a Jeep or ATV tour, where you’ll be driving around old logging roads. Another option: a guided hiking trip, which you can combine with biking or kayaking, making for the ultimate Ketchikan adventure. If you’re more of a DIY traveler, pick a hiking trail and set off! You’ll find a wealth of views and wildlife around the area.

Guests splash through the mud on ATVs with Alaska Kart Expedition

Guests splash through the mud with Alaska Kart Expedition

See black bears fishing for salmon

See black bears fishing for salmon

6. Spot Wildlife

One of the best places in Southeast Alaska to see black bears fishing for salmon is right here in Ketchikan. Take a floatplane or a van to experience this iconic natural sighting and come away with Instagram gold.

Those delicious salmon also attract a large, year-round population of bald eagles (the area is sometimes called the “eagle capital of America”); here’s where to see them. You’ll find other wildlife as well—some of those creatures live in Ketchikan’s cool Rainforest Sanctuary.

Ketchikan Day Tours & Attractions View All

$164 per person 4 hrs

Dri­ve your own jeep along pri­vate log­ging roads that wind up into the moun­tains, on your way to an alpine lake. Pad­dle across the shim­mer­ing lake to a shore­line camp for a deli­cious snack over an open fire. Enjoy some sto­ry­telling, then go on a short nature walk through a beau­ti­ful old-growth forest.

Season: Apr 25 to Oct 10 $92 2.75 hours

Just out­side Ketchikan, the Alas­ka Rain­for­est Sanc­tu­ary promis­es a close-up view of old-growth for­est, salmon habi­tat, an his­toric lum­ber mill, totem carv­ing, rap­tor exhibits, and chances to see black bear and oth­er wildlife – all in under 3 hours! There’s no bet­ter intro­duc­tion to Alaska’s South­east than this show­case of ecol­o­gy, wildlife, his­to­ry and Native culture.

Season: Apr 25 to Oct 10 $249 2.25 hours

Fly through dra­mat­i­cal­ly beau­ti­ful land­scapes in a DeHav­il­land float­plane for an icon­ic Alaskan expe­ri­ence. In this 2‑hour adven­ture, you’ll vis­it Misty Fjords Nation­al Mon­u­ment, where glac­i­ers carved out the land 17,000 years ago. See an untouched world of deep fjords, lush green for­est and sparkling lakes. Expe­ri­ence a water land­ing and ven­ture out onto the floats to take in the beau­ty – and peace­ful­ness – of remote Alaska.

Season: Apr 25 to Oct 10 $174+ 3.5 hours

Fly through the upper sto­ries of a tem­per­ate rain­for­est in this thrilling zipline adven­ture. Two excit­ing cours­es, each with 8 zips, are locat­ed with­in the Alas­ka Rain­for­est Sanc­tu­ary – home to spawn­ing salmon, bald eagles, and black bear! Whether you’re a new­bie or an old hand, this is the ulti­mate loca­tion for a zip­ping good time.

$99 2.5 hrs

Alas­ka invites con­tem­pla­tion and reflec­tion. Expe­ri­ence the qui­et side of Ketchikan on a guid­ed walk through dense stands of cedar and spruce to a rur­al ocean beach. Here you can con­nect with the land and sea through activ­i­ties such as cre­ative writ­ing, med­i­ta­tion or tai chi.

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $115+ 10 - 45 mins

Get a thrilling, bird’s‑eye view of Alaska’s snow-capped peaks, moun­tain lakes, water­falls, and more on an unfor­get­table heli­copter flight­see­ing tour from Ketchikan.

Season: Year Round $195+ 4 hrs - Full Day

Spend a few hours or a whole day of unfor­get­table angling on a scenic tour with this fam­i­ly-run char­ter fish­ing com­pa­ny in Ketchikan, a town world-famous for its fish­ing. Ide­al for cruise ship pas­sen­gers or any vis­i­tor to town look­ing for an amaz­ing fish­ing experience.

$389 3 hours

The lush green Ton­gass Nation­al For­est stretch­es out below as you take a clas­sic Alaskan float­plane ride to Neets Bay, one of the best places in South­east Alas­ka to see black bears fish­ing for salmon. This 3‑hour trip packs in spec­tac­u­lar flight­see­ing, a nature walk, and the chance to watch bears in their nat­ur­al habitat.

$147 per person 4 hrs

Board a rigid-hull inflat­able boat for a 20-minute ride out to a seclud­ed island. Weave through a series of small islands with mas­sive cliffs that rise hun­dreds of feet out of the ocean, check out active bald eagle nests and look for sea lions and seabird rook­eries along the way. Once at the island, you’ll climb out on the beach, break out into small­er groups, and set off on a stun­ning hike on a board­walk that snakes through the rainforest.  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $200+ per person 4-8 hrs

Ketchikan is known as the salmon cap­i­tal of the world,” and this unique­ly per­son­al tour is your chance to angle for these icon­ic Alaskan fish — as well as huge hal­ibut. You’ll board an inti­mate fish­ing boat — com­plete with top-qual­i­ty fish­ing and rain gear, as well as heaters, snacks, and bev­er­ages — close to the Ketchikan cruise ter­mi­nal. And, since this is a pri­vate char­ter, it will be only your group on board!

$249+ Day Trips 6+ hrs

Bara­nof Fish­ing Excur­sions offers clas­sic Alas­ka fish­ing expe­ri­ences from their pri­vate mari­na in down­town Ketchikan. They pro­vide every­thing you need from rub­ber boots to expert guides, for an extra­or­di­nary fish­ing adventure!

$129 per person 3 hrs

Bike 5 miles along­side a 100-year-old water flume, sur­round­ed by the gor­geous Ton­gass Nation­al For­est, to a salmon-spawn­ing stream at Ward Creek. After a deli­cious snack, hike about ¾‑mile, fol­low­ing a board­walk up into the for­est. You’ll learn all about the plants that thrive in this unique environment.

Season: May 05 to Oct 10 $220 3.25 hours

This exhil­a­rat­ing tour puts you in a rugged Tom­car for a back coun­try ATV adven­ture over 10 miles of old log­ging roads through the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est. The off-road excite­ment is matched by amaz­ing views as you nav­i­gate twist and turns, motor eas­i­ly up hills, and splash through epic pot­holes. It’s sheer fun for the whole fam­i­ly. Get Dirty!

Season: Apr 01 to Sep 30 $159+ per person 3+ hrs

Expe­ri­ence kayak­ing in Alas­ka the way it should be — away from the crowds — with these unique Ketchikan pad­dling tours that make you feel like a true explor­er. Your small group (usu­al­ly just 4 peo­ple) will board the company’s com­fort­able boat and set off from the Ketchikan cruise-ship dock, leav­ing the big ships and the crowds behind. Choose from a 3‑hour tour, or 5‑hour kayak and hike tour.

$102 per person 3.5 hrs

Pad­dle all around a shim­mer­ing lake, look­ing for wildlife on the shore and rev­el­ing in the spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain views that sur­round you. Then stop off at a shore­line camp to enjoy a snack over an open fire. When you’re fin­ished, you’ll go on a short walk through a dra­mat­ic old-growth forest.

$200+ Fishing, $100 Wildlife Viewing 2 hours - Full Day

You’ll find out why Ketchikan is famous for salmon with Cap­tain Jared of Rainy Day Char­ters. Leave the cruise ship crowds behind for an authen­tic Alaskan expe­ri­ence, sur­round­ed by water, wilder­ness and wildlife. It’s a per­fect excur­sion for a half-day in port, even bet­ter if you have more time to fill your entire box with fish.

Season: Jul 07 to Sep 30 $215 3.25 hours

Ketchikan is black bear coun­try, and just out­side town you can see them in their favorite sum­mer­time activ­i­ty – fish­ing for pro­tein-rich Alas­ka salmon. A walk­ing tour through the lush foliage of the Alas­ka Rain­for­est Sanc­tu­ary reveals prime salmon habi­tat, a cer­tain attrac­tion for hun­gry bears. Wait and watch for this apex species in action – pounc­ing on fish, teach­ing cubs, and chas­ing each oth­er to the feast­ing grounds.

[{"slug":"ketchikan","title":"Ketchikan"}]

Ketchikan Parks & Trails View All

Leav­ing from the end of Ton­gass High­way, enter the Lunch Creek Trail and very soon take the trail to the left as this steps you quick­ly down to a water­fall view­ing plat­form and then the rest of the way down to where, to the right, you can also cross the Lunch Creek bridge, which pro­vides water­fall views as well as the ocean where the creek flows into.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

If you want to get away and don’t have a boat or a plane, this is as far away north one can eas­i­ly get from Ketchikan. The trail ends at the head­wa­ters of Lunch Creek — the shores of Lake Emery Tobin, which is sur­round­ed by a rim of steep moun­tain­sides often capped with snow ridges and peaks. 

Elevation Gain: 2600 feet

If you are a lover of alpine, stun­ning views, and longer, more chal­leng­ing hikes, then this all-day, one-way moun­tain tra­verse between Car­lan­na Lake and Per­se­ver­ance Lake is the per­fect choice.

Set­tlers Cove State Recre­ation Site offers two of the best sandy beach­es to be found in the Ketchikan area and pro­vides pit toi­lets and shel­tered and unshel­tered pic­nic tables with fire grates. A camp­ground with eight camp­sites is avail­able as well and one pub­lic-use cab­in on the water that can be rented.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles Elevation Gain: 150 feet

If you are look­ing for a short­ish in-town” trail, this trail begins at the back of a neigh­bor­hood and walks up a ser­vice road to a dam that over­looks a moun­tain-lake scene. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

The most­ly-flat Ward Lake trail fol­lows the cir­cum­fer­ence of the lake’s shore in a swath of grav­el that is wide enough for two peo­ple to walk abreast. Ward Lake is tucked into the edge of the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est bound­ary. Its prox­im­i­ty to town makes the recre­ation area pop­u­lar with the locals. 

Refuge Cove State Recre­ation Site is a sliv­er of land lin­ing part of an edge of a neigh­bor­hood and is a pop­u­lar beach pic­nick­ing des­ti­na­tion with the locals. The site comes com­plete with pit toi­lets, shel­tered and unshel­tered pic­nic tables with fire grates, and a quar­ter-mile trail accom­pa­nied by inter­pre­tive signs that address the local nat­ur­al history.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Locat­ed in the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est, Ward Creek is wide enough to dri­ve a truck down, though no vehi­cles are per­mit­ted, and is pop­u­lar with the locals for walk­ing dogs. Across the road from the Ward Lake Recre­ation Area park­ing lot, trail­head 1 takes you north and fol­lows Ward Creek, which flows out of Con­nell Lake, by the Last Chance camp­ground, and through Ward Lake to even­tu­al­ly meet the ocean in Ward Cove. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 2600 feet

Deer Moun­tain is Ketchikan’s icon­ic back­drop. The path briefly threads between res­i­den­tial lots, then turns to a rocky trail that quick­ly ascends. On the way up there are mul­ti­ple scenic overlooks. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 200 feet

This hike offers a nice wide-open space expe­ri­ence and is not very long. Much like hik­ing the access road to Low­er Sil­vis Lake, the Whit­man Trail is anoth­er ser­vice road to two dams that gen­er­ate elec­tric­i­ty for Ketchikan res­i­dents and was recent­ly made avail­able for hik­ing and recre­ation; how­ev­er, no motor­ized vehi­cles are per­mit­ted. Infor­ma­tive signs are post­ed on a fence gate up the road and on both dams.

Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 450 feet

This is a pop­u­lar week­end hike if you want to spend two-to-four hours in the Ton­gass Nation­al For­est and is only about 15 – 20 min­utes north of town. Though you gain ele­va­tion on the hike up to the lake, it is not unfor­giv­ing­ly steep. Per­se­ver­ance Lake is one of Ketchikan’s pic­turesque moun­tain-lake scenes. 

Difficulty: Easy Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Con­nell Lake is a good choice if you want a trail that is less pop­u­lar but just as close to town as the Per­se­ver­ance trail. The rocky, dirt path gen­tly climbs through the rain­for­est canopy and hugs the shore­line of the lake. On the oth­er side is a nice flat area that the creek bows around, cre­at­ing a small penin­su­la. A fire-pit indi­cates that this is a pre­ferred spot to spend some time or camp. 

On one of the run-off creeks from Achilles Moun­tain or Twin Peaks Moun­tain above pours a 100-foot or more water­fall right beside Ton­gass High­way towards the end of the road

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 170 feet

The one-mile grav­el trail to Coast Guard Beach winds through Ketchikan Gate­way Bor­ough land and then cross­es into Alas­ka Men­tal Health Trust Land. Most­ly the trail descends to the beach; how­ev­er, a few hills do rise along the way. This beach is a good place for walk­ing, sun­bathing, beach­comb­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, writ­ing, read­ing, med­i­ta­tion, tai-chi, just sit­ting, marine-life view­ing, and dog swimming. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

The dri­ve out to the Dude Moun­tain trail­head is one of the most scenic dri­ves that Ketchikan has to offer. The trail begins wind­ing through lush rain­for­est. The last part is steep and can be mud­dy in wet weath­er or cov­ered in snow in spring and fall. 

Difficulty: Moderate

Run­ning just above and par­al­lel to Ketchikan’s Third Avenue Bypass, Rain­bird Trail is per­fect if you only have a cou­ple hours but still want to expe­ri­ence a small piece of South­east Alaska’s rain­for­est. The trail­head is only 20 min­utes from down­town (a short dri­ve rel­a­tive to most oth­er trails), and the trail’s south­ern end — just beyond the top of the met­al stairs — offers great views of down­town Ketchikan, the Ton­gass Nar­rows, and the neighboring  ...more

The Sal­vage Trail is an out-and-back trail that rolls up and down through the woods, par­al­lel­ing Revil­la Road. The trail is a wide grav­el path where two-to-three peo­ple can walk beside each other.

[{"slug":"ketchikan","title":"Ketchikan"}]