Ketchikan Travel Guide

  • Anan Creek Black Bears
    Anan Creek Black Bears
    by CruisingGoddess
  • Totem Bight
    Totem Bight
    by cfuentesm
  • Ketchikan Sunset
    Ketchikan Sunset
    by DJStarr

Ketchikan Highlights

  • Pro
    starship profile photo

    starship says…

     Totem poles, Creek Street, Sea Planes, the gorgeous scenery!! 

  • Con
    peach93 profile photo

    peach93 says…

     Rains every day 

  • In a nutshell
    HispanicYob profile photo

    HispanicYob says…

     All in all, a great stop on Alaska's Inside Passage 

Ketchikan Things to Do

  • Eagles, crabs, and whales via Deadliest...

    Absolutely the best expedition I had in Alaska was the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour, which uses the re-fitted Aleutian Ballad (star of the second season of "Deadliest Catch," when it was hit by a rogue wave and nearly destroyed) to give visitors a taste of the longline fishery as well as the variety of crabs, prawns, and other sea life -- like...

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  • "Living History & Cultural Tour

    I would take this tour just because of the beautiful, and well taken care of draft horses and the Alaskan Huskey which are a significant part of this horse-drawn, guided trolly tour! This leasurely, up-close and personal tour takes you to the most historic areas of Ketchikan such as Whale Pakr, Creek Street, the "Klondike Gold Rush" era city park,...

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  • The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

    One of the most popular attractions in downtown Ketchikan is The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. It's really popular with families especially because children seem to love it. Along with goldpanning, mining, and fishing, Alaska has a tradition and history of logging. It took a lot of skill to bring down those enormous trees and ready them for other...

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Ketchikan Hotels

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Ketchikan Restaurants

  • Annabelle's Keg & Chowder House

    Annabelle's is actually two places in one. One side has a unique & massive, carved wooden bar, wood floor and mirrors from the earlier part of the 20th century. The bar is very long with brass rails and flanked by numerous chairs and tables set up for a meal or an order from the bar. The other side is a more refined restaurant setting with...

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  • Ocean View Restaurante

    They have mixed options available for a reasonable price. They focus on Mexican and Italian, you'll find seafood on the menu (Ketchikan is on an island). This restaurant is popular with the locals. There are very friendly, efficient staff working there, and a lot for a long time. It isn't as small town as you'd think, yet the staff seem to get to...

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  • Serving Meals since 1927

    Annabelle's is actually two places in one. One side has a unique & massive, carved wooden bar, wood floor and mirrors from the earlier part of the 20th century. The bar is very long with brass rails and flanked by numerous chairs and tables set up for a meal or an order from the bar. The other side is a more refined restaurant setting with...

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Ketchikan Nightlife

  • Cold Beer, Pool and Smoke

    The Arctic Bar is a true Alaska, local hangout. A bit gritty, a bit smoky, and filled with affable folks with some good stories to tell. Its been around since the '30s and is a great spot to grab a cold beer. We popped in to have a beer while we enjoyed our halibut burgers from the Burger Queen across the street (the Burger Queen is a must). They...

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  • Gearbulk Ship At Anchor

    I took this picture in 1992 when I first lived in Ketchikan. I lived downtown and would go for walks often at night and watch the lights reflecting on the water from boats. During the holidays many boats are decorated.Back in 1992 the Ward Cove Pulp Company was still going strong. Every so often these huge ships would come and fill up with pulp.

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  • Ketchikan Hotels

    16 Hotels in Ketchikan

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Ketchikan Transportation

  • Walking

    The town is very walkable. I took my scooter out and it was fun to scooter around town, but more able people can easily walkOne particularly nice thing was - instead of traffic lights there were traffic wardens to stop trafficUnder construction

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  • Cabs in Ketchikan

    I saw lots of taxi cabs in Ketchikan, although I did not take any. I was particularly fascinated by the outline of Alaska on the roof of some of them - I could see this from the Lido deck while we ate lunch.Taxis meet airport ferry and state ferry arrivals. Rates are $3.70 Drop, $3.50 per mile.And there is a water taxi to and from the airportWhen...

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  • Float Planes

    There is a regular airport on the island across from town - you take a ferry to get there. But there are also float planes.Float planes are a normal kind of transportation in Alaska, and Ketchikan is no exception. From the cruise ships you can take Float Plane tours such as theMisty Fjords Floatplane Tour duration: 2 hours $229.00Approximate...

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Ketchikan Shopping

  • Made in Alaska

    One problem in Ketchikan is that the cruise ships bring in the Diamonds International and Tanzanite stores (photo 5 from above), staffs them with outsiders, and the stores are only open for the tourist season Then when fall comes - the stores close, the people and the money all leave.So it is important to shop at local stores and not the big...

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  • best smoked and canned salmon in...

    This shop is amazing! The proprietor sells her family's own brand of smoked and canned salmon.....way better than the stuff you get closer to the cruise ship docks. Friends of the family make jam, jelly and syrup locally and its also available in the store. Great boutique shop. Best tasting salmon I've ever tasted in my life! Salmon and Jelly and...

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  • All Things Salmon

    This little shop right in the main drag of the tourist area has all things salmon. Salmon jerky, salmon in cans, salmon smoked, whatever you would like.Quick and easy and the employees are very helpful. I'd say salmon. Anywhere from $5 - $35 depending on what you're looking for.

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Ketchikan Local Customs

  • Totem Poles

    The totem poles one sees in Ketchikan are mostly made by people from the Tlingit tribe, but some are also made by Haidas. Experts can tell which tribe made a pole by looking at the way it is carved and the layout of its designs. Poles are also carved for many purposes. Often they tell stories, as the native people in Alaska had no written language....

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  • Understanding Totem Poles - Watchman

    The sign says...Watchman: Standing watch atop a totem pole, the watchman warns the owner of an approaching enemy.- human figure- ears on side of head- hat often has concentric rings signifying the number of potlatches the owner has given.

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  • Understanding Totem Poles - Thunderbird

    The sign says...Mystical Thunderbird: This is the most powerful of all spirits. Only the most prestigious of chiefs have Thunderbird crests.- out-stretched wings- upper beak sharply recurved- curved appendages on top of head

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Ketchikan Warnings and Dangers

  • Rain

    Ketchikan is one of the rainiest places in the United States, with rain or snow falling on most days. Bring your raingear!

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  • Stay On the Beaten Path

    There are plenty of hiking trails for visitors to explore. Here is a view from the trail at Connel Lake. When trees fall in the rainforest they are quickly absorbed in the food chain. These two trees are covered by moss. If they were on the forest floor, in a handful of years sediment would surround the trees, and the wood would continue to rot and...

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  • Heed Your Nautical Charts

    There is a story about a fairly famous American actor who bought this multi-million dollar boat and had it sent ahead of him. He arrived in Ketchikan and got about 50 miles out before running aground on a well-marked rock. The gossip is that he said something to the effect of, “There is a rock around here somewhere.” BUMP.

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Ketchikan Tourist Traps

  • Jewelry Stores

    Ketchikan is the first port in Alaska and a major cruise line destination. As such, the Carribean Jewelry business move to the north when tourists tend not to go to the Carribean. Tanzanite International, Royal Jewelers, Diamonds International and scores of others are crowded into 4-5 blocks of Downtown Ketchikan. Negotiate, negotiate,...

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  • ADVENTURE KART: A totally different...

    I would like to dispute CABear's experience with the Adventure Kart experience in Ketchikan. I think that his awful trip there was based on a VERY different set of expectations than what the tour very clearly advertised. I boarded a jet boat around noon for an hour's cruise through gorgeous scenery out to an extremely remote area, passing whales,...

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  • Jewelry Stores

    With the possible exception of Beverly Hills, Ketchikan has more jewelry stores than any town its size that we have ever seen. Why one needs to buy jewelry in Ketchikan is anyone's guess. We assume that the target market is couples taking cruises for their wedding anniversaries. On our cruise ship, we got more info about the jewelry stores in...

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Ketchikan What to Pack

  • Plan to Get Wet!

    Since Ketchikan is located in a rain forest, meaning that it rains there nearly every day of the year, it's a good idea to come prepared for wet weather. A raincoat and waterproof shoes are a good idea, and if you plan on hiking, bringing an extra pair of shoes in case one gets wet is a good idea, too. Another item that may come in handy if you...

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  • Ketchikan is a RAIN FOREST!

    Water proof Rain gear, extra socks and shoes, waterproof gloves if you have them Film that is good in low light (because it's probably going to be raining) Ketchikan is one of the rainiest places in the United States. It's a rain forest. Be prepared!

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  • Packing List

    Pack light. Don't take anything you won't need. If you travel on the Alaska Marine Highway, you'll see what I mean... you don't want to bring much stuff. On a plane, it applies even more. Well, weather was actually much warmer than in Seattle!! On the Inside Passage, weather was very cool to cold at times, and I was forced to get my fleece jacket...

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Ketchikan Off The Beaten Path

  • Anan Creek Wildlife Observatory

    We booked Anan Creek Bear Viewing with Family Air Tours. They picked us up at the Liquid Sunshine Gauge next to the Ketchikan Visitor’s Center on the pier and drove us to their plane hangar. Dave is the owner and pilot. The plane is a Cessna 185 on floats so it takes off and lands in the water. We were the only ones on the plane for our trip. I sat...

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  • SALMON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

    Almost hidden, is the wonderful salmon run area behind Creek Street. During the season of spawning, July-September, these fish literally jump up the stream to get to the spawning area. Salmon spend their life-cycle in the ocean and return to where they started out as an egg. After the process of laying and fertilizing eggs is completed, salmon die....

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  • Totem Bight

    Saxman native village is the most popular totem park in Ketchikan, but Totem Bight is much more nicer and interesting. Located north of town. Plus it has a nice beach and rain forest where you can walk and admire the flora.

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Ketchikan Sports & Outdoors

  • PADDLE, IF YOU CAN

    Kayaking is very popular in Alaska. Right in town is rental shops for the boats. Most tourists can get a little ride to know how much fun it is to kayak, and the serious kayak sports folks can have a ball. A lot of kayakers enjoy riding below the Creek Street stores. The many wood pilings holding up Creek Street makes for some fancy manuering and...

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  • Fishing for Your Dinner

    As you probably already know, one of Alaska's major industries is fishing. You can certainly do alot of it in almost any coastal, Alaskan town. My husband and son went salmon fishing in Juneau and just had a fabulous time. Most fishing excursions or charters are about 4 to 8 hours and include all your fishing gear, tackle and bait. This DOES NOT...

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  • Fish at Ward Lake

    This picture of Ward Creek is taken from the bridge on the trail around Ward Lake.One of the popular fishing spots on the lake is below this bridge looking back at the lake rather than down the creek. On the banks there the water is just starting to speed up, and well, there is a bank fisherman can easily get to. Much of the lake is hard to get to...

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Ketchikan Favorites

  • LAND SHORTAGE

    On our "Duck" tour, our knowledgeable guide told us about the land shortage in Ketchikan. He told us to have a look at the Town, and to take note of how the roads, etc are built, and pointed one out.To our amazement, it wasn't built on land, but was built out from the hillside on a wooden trestle. Taking more note, we saw shed's were built out over...

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  • Getting across the creek

    Many people stop on these bridges to look in the creek... and if you're lucky you will see salmons swimming upstream the river! It's really cool to witness one of the many marvels of nature.... Hmmm and did I mention that salmon is just DELICIOUS??? I'm sorry for the little fish because I love to see them alive, but it's also true that eating them...

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  • Things are Bigger in Alaska

    They say that all things are bigger in Texas, but I think the Alaskans might have one-upped them, at least when it comes to some types of wildlife and plants. In Ketchikan, because of the vast amount of rainfall and the extended hours of sunlight during the summer months, things tend to grow rather large. This includes trees, which as you would...

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Explore Deeper into Ketchikan
A Little Confusing or Amusing Seafood Restaurant
Restaurants
Creek Street ~ Famous or Infamous
Things to Do
Terrific Japanese cuisine
Restaurants
great food for start of day
Restaurants
O'Briens Pub (previously New York Cafe)
Restaurants
Ziplining in Ketchikan - amazing!
Things to Do
Amphibious Tours
Things to Do
Whale Park
Things to Do
Walking Tour
Things to Do
Recommended for Lunch
Restaurants
Cruise Ship Hordes
Transportation
Local bus
Transportation
Don't Duck the Duck
Things to Do
Try the local "produce."
Things to Do
Spawning Salmon - Bears go nuts for it!
Things to Do
Good old fashioned Kettle Corn!
Things to Do
Ketchikan - Salmon Market
Things to Do
Horse drawn cart tour.
Things to Do
Tongass National Forest - Bears - 3.
Things to Do
Tongass National Forest - Bears - 2.
Things to Do
Tongass National Forest - Bears!
Things to Do
Tongass National Forest - Bald Eagles!
Things to Do
Totem Park.
Things to Do
Visit Creek Street.
Things to Do
Walking Tour.
Things to Do
Ketchikan - Salmon Capital of the world.
Things to Do
Scenic Flight with Taquan Air - 3.
Things to Do
Scenic Flight with Taquan Air - 2.
Things to Do
Scenic Flight with Taquan Air - 1.
Things to Do
Fish Ladder
Things to Do
Downtown
Things to Do
Married Men's Trail
Things to Do
Edmonds Street - Interesting Area & Views
Things to Do
Creek Street
Things to Do
MISTY FJORD'S FLOAT PLANE TRIP
Things to Do
KETCHIKAN DUCK TOUR
Things to Do
CREEK STREET
Things to Do
TOTEM HERITAGE CENTRE
Things to Do
RAIN GAUGE
Things to Do
Great Alaskan Lumberjack show
Things to Do
Map of Ketchikan

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