10 Things to Do in Ketchikan That You Shouldn't Miss

October 25, 2017 Elouise Mccaul

Ketchikan, one of Alaska's most Southeastern cities, is the first stop for many cruises on their way to more Northern climes. A stay in Ketchikan itself can be rewarding, however, as the city is the gateway to Misty Fjords National Monument, an area so beautiful, it is known as "The Yosemite of the North." With steep valleys formed by glaciers and lava flows left by volcanic activity, Misty Fjords offers gorgeous views of natural formations, all reflected in the calm waters of Pacific inlets.
Restaurants in Ketchikan

1. Misty Fjords National Monument

Ketchikan, AK +1 907-747-8100
Excellent
82%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 690 reviews

Misty Fjords National Monument

This huge wilderness area includes hundreds of rivers and streams fed by melting glaciers each spring.

Reviewed By stokie_gem - England

We did the national park by float plane which was a great way to view it and experience the amazing views it has to offer. The region has some stunning views but these are some of the best. The park is huge and when your flying through it you get a real sense for how big it actually is. I would highly recommend you don't pass by this place without visiting these fjords!

2. Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

50 Main St, Ketchikan, AK 99901-6559 +1 907-228-6220
Excellent
59%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 199 reviews

Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is the gateway to the Tongass National Forest. Located just one block from the cruise ship docks in downtown Ketchikan, you can explore the amazing ecology of the coastal rainforest, connect with the rich cultures of the region's native peoples, enjoy Junior Ranger activities with your kids and experience Alaska's rainforest from the comfort of our theatre through an 18-minute, high-definition film.

Reviewed By Craig Z

We didn't realize the hours it was open and just missed it. However a ranger coming out was super cool with our 5 year old son and ran back in for the Junior Ranger activity book and said we could mail it in for the badge.

3. Totem Bight State Historical Park

9883 N Tongass Hwy, Ketchikan, AK 99901-9246 +1 907-247-8574
Excellent
57%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 787 reviews

Totem Bight State Historical Park

Reviewed By 2TravelersMn - MN

We took a cab to Totem Bight State Historical Park and were not disappointed by what we discovered. Alaskan architect, Linn Forrest, supervised the construction of this model Native village. Fragments of old totem poles were laid beside freshly-cut cedar logs and every attempt was made to copy them in the traditional way. There is a Clan House and 14 Totem Poles displayed along a peaceful trail.

4. Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

116 Wood Rd, South Tongass Highway, Ketchikan, AK 99901-9765 +1 907-225-5503
Excellent
60%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 454 reviews

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Reviewed By Aprilp2412 - Oceanside, California

I wanted to see bears and lucky for me the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary provided me with the opportunity to see plenty! Walking up and down the elevated wooden platforms was fun. Trying to be quiet and spot bears while trying to be fast enough to get to their locations was a fun game. Some of the bears would pop up and then quickly disappear but others would stick around for a long time, providing us opportunity to watch, observe, and follow them as they tried to catch fish. The river was full of fish but somehow the bears still had trouble catching them. On the far side of the walkway we also spotted eagles and seals. We then went to check out the amazing totem poles, a bunch already completed and standing and one in the process of being carved. There were also a few birds of prey on site as well as a gift shop with some souvenirs and snacks.

5. Totem Heritage Center

601 Deermount St, Ketchikan, AK 99901-6611 +1 907-225-5900
Excellent
43%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 419 reviews

Totem Heritage Center

The Totem Heritage Center was established in 1976 to house and preserve endangered 19th century totem poles retrieved from uninhabited Tlingit and Haida village sites near Ketchikan and to preserve and promote Native artistic and cultural traditions through traditional classes. The Center is home to 33 authentic poles, numerous historic images, and Native art works. Educational and interpretive tours are available.

Reviewed By Kid_U_Not58 - Melbourne, Australia

Do the Downtown Walking Tour, and going through the lovely City Park, you will find the Totem Heritage Center.

Original, unrestored totem poles from Tlingit and Haida villages are on display. I was amazed at the intricacy of the carving.

There is also a shuttle bus which takes you there from the city centre, but we loved our walking tour.

There is a lot on display in such a small museum, which is well presented and full of history. Definitely worth a look!

6. Potlatch Totem Park

9809 Totem Bight Rd, Ketchikan, AK 99901-9200 +1 907-225-4445
Excellent
60%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 313 reviews

Potlatch Totem Park

Reviewed By Maurene_K - Dover, New Hampshire

During our Holland America shore excursion titled Ketchikan's Cultural Discovery, our guide took us first to the Totem Heritage Center and then to Potlatch Park.

Potlatch Park was recreation of a 19th century native village. It was located on Tlingit Native fishing grounds located on the shores of the Tongass Narrows.

Coming up the path from the parking lot, we came upon an open garage with several antique cars that included a 1932 Packard, 1924 Stanley Steamer, and a 1937 Ford pick-up, and others.

The docent that conducted our tour was very knowleageable.

We spent most of the tour inside the clan house where the family would spend the winter. We learned about life in the 1800’s in this area.

The recreated clan house had beautiful painted wall carvings. I particularly liked the one of an eagle with huge wings that looked like epaulets.

There is a gift shop named Alaska Totem Trading on the premises. It also carried snacks.

We rate Potlatch Park at 4.50.

We were impressed with the antique cars and the recreated clan house.

We recommend a visit to this attraction to see what 19th century life was like in Alaska for its native people.

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7. Deer Mountain Trail

Ketchikan Lakes Road, Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan, AK 99901
Excellent
69%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 96 reviews

Deer Mountain Trail

Reviewed By Loren778899 - Ketchikan, Alaska

I hiked this trail slowly and steadily with my two dogs. I took rests and drank water as one should. The views are spectacular and the day was foggy at first but it all burned off. I hiked around the peak, to the cabin, and down the trail to blue lake. I loved every moment especially the alpine. This mountain can be deadly. People die hiking on it about every two years. No one tells anyone that. Don't drink. Don't try short cuts.

8. Tongass National Forest

Ketchikan, AK
Excellent
80%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 74 reviews

Tongass National Forest

The nation's largest national forest.

Reviewed By pky_pook - hpt

Ok, now........we saw a ton of birds, salmon in the brooks, and even some black bears.
They were hundreds of yards away.............so having packed the binoculars paid off!!!
Wear comfy shoes that you don't mind getting wet. There were parts of the trail full of uneven patches of large and small rocks...so be aware and then moss covered twigs / rocks and a little bit of sand. Some older ladies on our tour would stop and grab some seashells......it was cool to see them be lil kids again!

Pack a lightweight coat, a snack or two and some water - we did.

Our tour guide was a funny fellow...and would often reach down in the brook, and hand-fish out a salmon or two......and urged me to try it....they felt icky.

Overall, it was a fun time...and it was just so GREEN......it was almost breath-taking.

9. Creek Street

Ketchikan, AK
Excellent
38%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Creek Street

Once a red-light district, now an arts and crafts shopping area.

Reviewed By 2TravelersMn - MN

Bring your camera to Creek Street for some fun pictures of Ketchikan's notorious red-light district in the early 1900's. More than 30 bawdy houses, most with one or two "working girls" lined Creek Street over the years. The City outlawed prostitution in 1953 and Creek Street houses are now residential or commercial.
Walk the footbridge where these historic buildings on pilings flank a salmon stream.

10. Saxman Native Village

Ketchikan, AK
Excellent
36%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
8%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 518 reviews

Saxman Native Village

This unique park's 24 totem poles each tell a different story.

Reviewed By Dianna M - South Amboy, New Jersey

While in Ketchikan on our Alaskan cruise. We had the opportunity to visit Saxman village as our land excursion. Very interesting look into the Alaskan natives way of life.Also how the are preserving the history with their young children. From the short video on history to the visit to the clan house. Best thing is just sit back and listen. Absolutely amazing. Totem poles are awesome. Just the history very worthwhile

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