A popular destination along Alaska’s famed Inside Passage, Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s First City. The first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise ships, commercial vessels and state ferries, Ketchikan is 680 air miles north of Seattle, and is located in the Tongass National Rainforest. Tucked into the western coast of Revillagigedo Island, Ketchikan is only accessible by boat or aircraft. More than 435 cruise ships carrying 425,000 visitors stop in the friendly, hard-working town, where the famed Alaskan hospitality awaits visitors.
Ketchikan’s name is derived from the Tlingit word kitschk-hin meaning creek of ‘thundering wings of an eagle.’ The Tlingit used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp.
The economy of Ketchikan was built on gold and copper mining, logging and pulp mills, and salmon canneries, seven of which were operating at the peak in 1936. Today’s economy is based on timber harvesting, fishing and tourism.
Location: Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, on the western shore of Tongass Pass. When arriving by sea, Tongass Pass is entered via Nichols Passage and Revillagigedo Channel north of Annette Island, north of BC’s northern border with Alaska. Ketchikan can be accessed from Prince Rupert in British Columbia.
Sightseeing charter tours to Ketchikan are available out of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada. The scenic trip is a leisurely 3-hour boat ride from Prince Rupert.
Ketchikan’s scenic waterfront features historic charm, frontier spirit, historic Creek Street, and Alaska’s oldest working salmon cannery.
The Ketchikan Visitor’s Bureau is located downtown on the cruise ship dock and has all the information you’ll need to make your stay in Ketchikan a memorable one.
The Southeast Alaska Discovery Centre has world-class exhibits and an award-winning, 14-minute multi-media presentation called Mystical Southeast Alaska. Displays include totem poles, the rainforest room, a Native fish camp scene, exhibits and videos on Southeast Alaska’s ecosystems, fishing, mining, timber and tourism. Located at 50 Main Street, one block from the cruise ship dock off Mill Street.
The Tongass Historical Museum exhibits Native culture by the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian First People. Located in the Centennial Building 629 Dock Street (where the city library is housed).
Discover the Totem Heritage Centre, an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century totem poles retrieved from remote and abandoned village sites. The centre offer tours and exhibits on Native art and culture.
Experience fishing in the waters surrounding Ketchikan, or fly out to one of the pristine lakes nearby. Ketchikan provides a salmon fishing adventure like no other!
Venture further afield and visit the outlying communities of Hyder, Wrangell, Metlakatla, and the communities located on Prince of Wales Island.
Various sightseeing tours are available out of Ketchikan, including trips to icebergs, nature’s own floating ice sculptures carved from ice that formed thousands of years ago, and cruises through majestic fjords, surrounded by steep snow covered cliffs and waterfalls.
Experience Alaska at it’s best by enjoying the bird’s eye view that only helicopter flightseeing can give you. See some of Alaska’s most magnificent scenery framed in natural beauty and rugged grandeur, including the breathtaking scenery of the Misty Fjords National Monument. Wildlife sightings in this untouched wilderness will likely include black bears, mountain goat and soaring bald eagles.
Stroll through the spectacular Tongass National Rainforest, the nation’s largest national forest.