Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan is known as Alaska's "First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means "eagle with spread-out wings," a reference to a waterfall near town.

In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska's claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska's fourth-largest city.

Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world's oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's colorful history. Ketchikan, with its abundance of salmon, is also a sportfishing paradise. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.

Top things to do and see in Ketchikan, Alaska: View Excursions

  • 1Outdoor Adventures

    Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman's paradise, with activities you won't find anywhere else. Go for a ride in an off-road vehicle, kayaking, hiking, nature watching, flightseeing, ziplining and more.

  • 2Totem Bight State Park

    Set amidst the peaceful forest, the park is home to 14 totem poles, each telling their own story, and a replica of a 19th-century clan house, offering a look into the Tlingit and Haida Indian cultures.

  • 3Saxman Native Village

    Experience the rich living culture of the Tlingits as they welcome you to their village. Unravel totem pole mysteries, see carvers in action, shop for fine art and enter a clan house to watch Native dancers.

  • 4Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

    This 40-acre rainforest reserve is home to bald eagles, black bear, seals and a variety of birds as well a resident reindeer herd, a live eagle display and a master Native totem pole carver at work.

  • 5Misty Fjords National Monument

    Take in the dramatic beauty of a land slowly crafted by the hands of nature. It encompasses more than two million acres of sheer granite cliffs, 1,000-foot waterfalls, and crystalline lakes.

  • 6Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

    This celebration of a bygone era is a rip-roaring good time. World champion athletes compete in springboard chopping, buck sawing, axe throwing, log rolling and the thrilling 50-foot tree climb.

  • 7George Inlet Lodge

    A former cannery bunkhouse built in the 1940s, this historic lodge was towed on a log raft over 70 miles to its current site on the shores of the spectacular George Inlet waterway 15 miles south of Ketchikan.

  • 8Creek Street

    This historic boardwalk was a Red Light District during the Gold Rush. Now, it's a quaint place to tour Dolly's House museum, view totem poles, and shop at locally owned stores and galleries.