(Southeast Alaska) Ketchikan is located on the southwest coast of Revillagigedo Island, on Tongass Narrows, 235 miles south of Juneau and 90 miles north of Prince Rupert, BC.
Originally a Tlingit Indian fish camp, settlers moved to the area for the mining and fishing. The first salmon cannery operated here in 1886; gold was discovered nearby in 1898; and Ketchikan was incorporated in 1900.
Ketchikan is Alaska’s first city and first port of call on the Alaska Marine Highway’s Inside Passage sailings from Bellingham, WA, and Prince Rupert, BC. Ketchikan is Alaska’s fifth largest city (after Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks and Sitka), supporting 5 public grade schools, 4 parochial grade schools, a junior high school, 2 high schools and the University of Alaska Southeast campus.
Accommodationsat Cape Fox Lodgeand Super 8 Motel. Bed-and-breakfast lodging at Black Bear Inn. Shopping and restaurants are located downtown and at Plaza Mall on Tongass Avenue. There are gas stations, 2 laundromats with showers, 3 public campgrounds and a Walmart.
- Visit Creek Street, Ketchikan’s former “red-light district,” where Black Mary, Dolly, Frenchie and others plied their trade for over half a century. Restored houses and newer structures house a variety of shops, including Parnassus Books.
- Ride the Cape Fox Hill Funicular 130 vertical feet from Creek Street to the top of Cape Fox Hill and the lobby of the Cape Fox Lodge.
- Stop by Southeast Alaska Discovery Centerfor trip planning assistance, information on Alaska public lands, and interpretive exhibits on Native culture and Southeast Alaska history and resources.
- Totem Heritage Center houses 33 totem poles and fragments retrieved from deserted Tlingit and Haida Indian villages. This national landmark collection comprises the largest exhibit of original totems in the United States.
- Learn about fish and eagles at Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center.
- Ketchikan has an abundance of tour opportunities, from narrated trolley rides and historical sightseeing cruises to flightseeing tours, kayaking trips and canopy tours.
- Tour Misty Fiords National Monument by boat or floatplane. Taquan Airis one such tour provider and the small ship Alaska cruise Alaska Coastal Cruise, is another.
- Tongass Historical Museum features photos and artifacts of early-day Ketchikan and its development from Native fish camp to Alaska’s “First City.”
- Saxman Totem Park, south of downtown, has 30 totems and a clan house. Guided tours include demonstrations at the Carving Center and performances by the Cape Fox Dancers at the Beaver Tribal House.
- Totem Bight State Historical Park, 10 miles north of downtown, contains an excellent model of a Tlingit community house and 15 totems in a beautiful wooded setting.