things to do in ketchikan

Unveiling the Charms of Ketchikan, Alaska πŸŒ²πŸ¦…

Ketchikan, Alaska offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or family-friendly fun, this ultimate guide will help you discover the top things to do in Ketchikan.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ketchikan, Alaska offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for all interests
  • Outdoor adventurers can enjoy activities such as flightseeing, fishing charters, and sea kayaking tours
  • Cultural enthusiasts can explore attractions like Totem Bight State Park and the Totem Heritage Center
  • Ketchikan is known for its wildlife encounters, with opportunities to see black bears and bald eagles
  • The town’s scenic beauty and unique natural surroundings make it a must-visit destination

Explore Ketchikan’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Immerse yourself in Ketchikan’s rich cultural heritage by visiting attractions such as Totem Bight State Park, Totem Heritage Center, Saxman Totem Park, and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. These sites offer a glimpse into the fascinating history and artistry of the Alaskan Native culture.

Totem Bight State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in totem poles and Alaskan Native artwork. This park features a collection of beautifully carved totem poles set against the scenic backdrop of the ocean. Take a leisurely stroll through the park to admire the intricate details and learn about the stories and traditions behind each totem pole.

The Totem Heritage Center is another important cultural site in Ketchikan. It houses the world’s largest collection of 19th-century totem poles, providing visitors with the opportunity to delve deeper into the history and significance of these iconic carved sculptures. The center also offers educational exhibits and programs that highlight the artistry and cultural heritage of Alaskan Natives.

If you want to see even more totem poles, head to Saxman Totem Park. Located just south of Ketchikan, this park is home to over two dozen totem poles, each with its own unique story to tell. Take a guided tour to learn about the symbolism and craftsmanship behind these magnificent works of art.

The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is a must-visit for those looking to gain insights into the natural and cultural treasures of Ketchikan. This interactive center features exhibits and displays that showcase the region’s diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and indigenous cultures. Watch a movie at the theater or participate in hands-on activities to deepen your understanding of the rich heritage of Southeast Alaska.

Totem Bight State ParkOcean north of townBeautiful collection of totem poles
Totem Heritage CenterKetchikanLargest collection of 19th-century totem poles
Saxman Totem ParkSouth of KetchikanOver two dozen totem poles with unique stories
Southeast Alaska Discovery CenterKetchikanInteractive exhibits on natural and cultural treasures

By exploring these cultural attractions, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the rich traditions and artistry of the Alaskan Native culture and their connection to the natural surroundings of Ketchikan.

Embark on Outdoor Adventures in Ketchikan’s Scenic Wilderness

Immerse yourself in Ketchikan’s scenic wilderness and embark on thrilling outdoor adventures. From exploring the historic Creek Street Boardwalk to taking flightseeing tours, fishing charters, sea kayaking expeditions, Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tours, and even snorkeling, there are endless opportunities to experience the natural beauty and excitement of this Alaskan town.

Begin your outdoor adventure by strolling along the historic Creek Street Boardwalk. This elevated walkway runs along Ketchikan Creek and offers stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Take in the colorful buildings that line the boardwalk, which were once part of the town’s red-light district during the Gold Rush era. Keep an eye out for salmon swimming upstream to spawn, and you may even spot a sea lion in the water.

For a unique perspective of Ketchikan’s wilderness, consider taking a flightseeing tour. Hop aboard a plane or helicopter and soar above the forested mountains, fjords, and lakes of the Gulf of Alaska. Marvel at the towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and the Misty Fjords National Monument, a natural wonder with pristine lakes and lush forests. Keep your camera ready for possible wildlife sightings, including whales, sea lions, and eagles.

Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of fishing charters available in Ketchikan. Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” this town offers excellent opportunities to catch salmon and halibut. Join a guided fishing charter and cast your line into the rich Alaskan waters, surrounded by beautiful scenery and the possibility of reeling in a big catch.

For a more interactive water adventure, consider embarking on a sea kayaking tour. Paddle through the calm waters of Ketchikan’s coastline, exploring hidden coves, rocky shores, and secluded islands. Discover the diverse marine life that inhabits these waters, including seals, sea otters, and perhaps even a passing pod of orca whales.

For a truly unique experience, don a wetsuit, mask, fins, and snorkel and explore the underwater world of Ketchikan. Take a snorkeling tour and get up close with sea creatures such as urchins, sea stars, crabs, and sea cucumbers. It’s an unforgettable way to immerse yourself in the marine ecosystem of the 49th state.

As you venture into Ketchikan’s scenic wilderness, be sure to savor the breathtaking views and serene atmosphere that surrounds you. Whether you’re hiking through old logging roads, exploring the diverse hiking trails, or simply taking in the beauty of the rainforest, the natural wonders of Ketchikan will leave you in awe.

In conclusion, Ketchikan offers a plethora of outdoor adventures to suit every interest and adrenaline level. From exploring the historic Creek Street Boardwalk to taking flightseeing tours, fishing charters, sea kayaking expeditions, Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tours, and snorkeling, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this scenic Alaskan town. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to explore the wilderness of Ketchikan.

Experience Wildlife Encounters in Ketchikan’s Natural Surroundings

Get up close and personal with Ketchikan’s fascinating wildlife by exploring its numerous hiking trails, witnessing black bear sightings during the salmon spawning season, spotting majestic bald eagles, and visiting the Rainforest Sanctuary.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Ketchikan’s natural beauty is by embarking on a hike along its scenic trails. The town is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, offering a plethora of trails that showcase breathtaking views and diverse wildlife. From tranquil lakes to towering cliffs, these trails provide the perfect opportunity to spot birds, mammals, and other animals in their natural habitats.

During the salmon spawning season, Ketchikan becomes a prime location for witnessing black bear sightings. The abundance of salmon in the streams attracts bears as they fatten up for winter hibernation. Guided tours and observation platforms provide a safe and educational experience for visitors to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.

Ketchikan is often referred to as the “eagle capital of America” due to its large population of bald eagles. These majestic birds can be spotted soaring through the sky, perched on tree branches, or diving for fish in the waters surrounding the town. Keep your camera ready to capture these iconic symbols of American wildlife.

For a comprehensive wildlife experience, a visit to the Rainforest Sanctuary is a must. Located in the heart of Ketchikan, this sanctuary offers guided tours that allow visitors to explore the lush rainforest and encounter a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, black bears, and even Sitka deer. Learn about the delicate ecosystem and the importance of preserving these natural habitats during your visit.

Top Wildlife Encounters in Ketchikan:Recommended Tours and Activities:
Hiking trails in KetchikanGuided hiking trips with wildlife spotting
Wildlife viewing in KetchikanTraitors Cove Bear Viewing Tour
Black bear sightings in KetchikanGuided tours during salmon spawning season
Bald eagle sightings in KetchikanScenic flightseeing tours
Rainforest Sanctuary in KetchikanGuided tours of the Rainforest Sanctuary

Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring wildlife encounters that Ketchikan has to offer. Whether you choose to hike through its scenic trails, witness black bear sightings, spot majestic bald eagles, or explore the Rainforest Sanctuary, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories of your time in this Alaskan paradise.


Ketchikan, Alaska offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, culture lovers, and families alike. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning wilderness, and abundant wildlife, Ketchikan is truly a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable Alaskan experience.

For those interested in exploring the town’s cultural scene, attractions like Totem Bight State Park, the Totem Heritage Center, and Saxman Totem Park provide a fascinating insight into Alaskan Native culture and the history of totem poles. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is also a must-visit for those looking to learn more about the natural and cultural treasures of Ketchikan.

Outdoor adventurers will find plenty to do in Ketchikan’s scenic wilderness. From visiting the Guard Island Lighthouse and exploring the Creek Street Boardwalk to embarking on flightseeing tours, fishing charters, sea kayaking excursions, and the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour, there are endless opportunities for adventure and breathtaking views. Snorkeling and hiking along the town’s many trails also offer unique experiences and chances to spot wildlife such as black bears and bald eagles.

In conclusion, Ketchikan, Alaska has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in the town’s rich cultural heritage, exploring its scenic wilderness, or seeking out wildlife encounters, Ketchikan is sure to leave a lasting impression and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Q: What are the top things to do in Ketchikan, Alaska?

A: Some of the top things to do in Ketchikan include visiting Totem Bight State Park, exploring the Totem Heritage Center, taking a walk along the Creek Street Boardwalk, going on a flightseeing tour, going fishing on a charter boat, kayaking in the scenic waters, taking the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour, snorkeling in the sea, hiking the various trails in the area, and experiencing wildlife encounters in the Rainforest Sanctuary.

Q: What cultural attractions can I visit in Ketchikan?

A: Ketchikan offers several cultural attractions, including Totem Bight State Park, where you can admire beautiful works of art and Alaskan Native culture. The Totem Heritage Center is another must-visit destination, where you can learn about the rich history and meaning behind totem poles. Saxman Totem Park is also worth exploring for its unique carvings. For insights into the town’s natural and cultural treasures, visit the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center.

Q: What outdoor activities can I do in Ketchikan?

A: Ketchikan offers a range of outdoor activities, including visiting the Guard Island Lighthouse for stunning views, strolling along the Creek Street Boardwalk to learn about the town’s history, going on a flightseeing tour to see the fjords, forests, and waterfalls, going fishing on one of the many charters to catch famous Alaskan fish, kayaking in the scenic waters on a guided tour, taking the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour to experience life on a king crab boat, snorkeling to get an up-close look at sea creatures, and exploring the area’s hiking trails for scenic views and wildlife encounters.

Q: Where can I see wildlife in Ketchikan?

A: Ketchikan offers opportunities to see wildlife in its natural surroundings. The area is known for its black bear sightings, particularly during the salmon spawning season. You can also spot bald eagles, as Ketchikan is often referred to as the “eagle capital of America.” The Rainforest Sanctuary is a great place to see a variety of wildlife, including other creatures that inhabit the cool rainforest. Keep an eye out for black bears fishing for salmon and bald eagles diving for fish.

Q: What is the best time to visit Ketchikan?

A: The best time to visit Ketchikan is during the summer months, from July to September, when the weather is mild and the days are longer. This is also the time when you can witness black bears feeding on spawning salmon and see bald eagles in abundance. However, Ketchikan is a year-round destination, and each season offers its own unique charm and activities.

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