Why This Trip?
Ketchikan is closer to the Lower 48 than you might think. There are direct, 2-hour flights here from Seattle throughout the summer, putting a quick trip within reach for a long weekend away.
Why Ketchikan? You’ll find a lot of iconic Alaska activities in this small town: exceptional fishing, whale watching, bear viewing, and flightseeing tours of Misty Fiords National Monument. You can also enjoy kayaking and Zodiac excursions, the world’s largest collection of totem poles, and an extensive network of hiking trails through stunning temperate rainforest.
Fly into Ketchikan
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Catch an early flight from Seattle to maximize your time on the first day. There are a few options to get the lay of the land: See it from above on a flightseeing tour of Misty Fjords or rent a car and explore.
You’ll find several area highlights north of town. Totem Bight State Historical Park is an 11-acre park in a forested area; walk a path to see 14 Tlingit and Haida totem poles, plus a community clan house. Just a few minutes south, on your way back to town, is Refuge Cove State Recreation Site, which has a great sandy beach, picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and fire ring grills. It’s a popular local spot for a picnic and to watch the sunset.
South of town is Saxman Native Village Totem Park, which features the world’s largest collection of standing totems. In addition to seeing the totems, you’ll often be able to watch carvers at work. Then go for a picnic in Rotary Beach Park, where there’s a great family beach with picnic tables, a playground, great tide pooling, and a swimming area that’s ideal for young children.
Day & Overnight in Ketchikan
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It’s time for some outdoor recreation—and you have lots of options! Go for a tour by kayak or Zodiac, where you can hug the coastline while checking out the intertidal zones and looking for wildlife. Tours range from 3 to 5 hours.
If you’d rather stay on land, Ketchikan has an impressive number of trails, which you can explore by guided hike or on your own. Try Ward Lake, a popular scenic hike north of town. For something more moderate, hike the Rainbird or Perseverance Trail. And for seriously strenuous outings, there’s Deer Mountain and Dude Mountain. Safety is important when you’re in the wilderness, of course. That’s why Ketchikan has a free “Borrow a Spot” program, which lets you take a SPOT satellite messenger with you. With these small devices—which fit in your pocket—you can request rescue personnel in an emergency situation. Pick one up at the visitor center to borrow at no cost before you hit the trail!
Day & Overnight in Ketchikan
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Ketchikan is the Salmon Capital of the World, so go fishing! All fishing charters will help you process, freeze, and ship your fish home. And fresh salmon filet that you caught is the ultimate souvenir from Alaska. Charters range from 4 to 8 hours.
If you’re not a fan of fishing, go check out some bears instead. A flight to nearby Neets Bay is an incredible way to see black bears in their natural environment.