Canopy Tours

Alaska Canopy Adventures. Often associated with rain forests of the tropical sort, canopy tours are Ketchikan's fastest-growing outdoor activity. Featuring a series of zip-lines, aerial boardwalks, and suspension bridges, canopy tours provide an up-close view of the coastal forests. At Alaska Canopy Adventures—a course at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, 8.4 miles south of town—the longest of the tour's eight zip-lines stretches more than 800 feet, and whisks you along some 130 feet off the ground. Book online or with your cruise line. 116 Wood Rd., Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–5503.

Southeast Exposure. A rain-forest zip-line and ropes course is offered through Southeast Exposure, a well-known kayaking outfit in the area. 37 Potter Rd., Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–8829.

Lumberjacks Live!

Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. The show consists of a 60-minute lumberjack competition providing a Disneyesque taste of old-time woodsman skills, including ax throwing, bucksawing, springboard chopping, log-rolling duels, and a 50-foot speed climb. It's a little hokey, but it's good fun (and kids will love it). Shows take place in a covered, heated grandstand directly behind the Salmon Landing Marketplace and are presented rain or shine all summer. 420 Spruce Mill Way, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–9050 or 888/320–9049. $35. May–Sept., 2–4 times daily; hrs vary.

Ketchikan's Totem Pole Parks

For the most part, the totem poles in Ketchikan's two biggest totem pole parks are replicas of those brought in from outlying villages as part of a federal project during the late 1930s.

Totem Bight State Historical Park. Totem Bight State Historical Park has many totem poles and a hand-hewn Native tribal house; it sits on a scenic spit of land facing the waters of Tongass Narrows. The clan house is open daily in summer. About a quarter of the Ketchikan bus tours include Totem Bight. N. Tongass Hwy., approx. 10 mi north of town, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/247–8574. Free. Dawn–dusk.

Saxman Totem Park. A 2.5-mile paved walking path–bike trail parallels the road from Ketchikan to Saxman Native Village, named for a missionary who helped Native Alaskans settle here before 1900. A totem park dominates the center of Saxman, with poles that represent a wide range of human and animal-inspired figures, including bears, ravens, whales, and eagles. There is a $5 charge to enter.

Saxman's Beaver Clan tribal house is said to be the largest in Alaska. Carvers create totem poles and totemic art objects in the adjacent carver's shed. You can get to the park on foot or by taxi, bicycle, or city bus. You can visit the totem park on your own, but to visit the tribal house and theater you must take a tour. Tickets are sold at the gift shop across from the totems. Call ahead for tour schedules. S. Tongass Hwy., 2 miles south of town, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–4421.

Driving Tours

Adventure Kart Expedition. There's no faster route to feeling like a kid on a first go-kart outing than spending a few hours in one of Adventure Kart Expedition's cool little off-road vehicles. After choosing a helmet, you'll get a quick lesson in the how-tos of driving one of the vehicles. Then you, and the people in the lineup of ATVs you'll race along with, will put pedal to metal (literally) as you zip down old backcountry timber trails. Wear old clothes: there's no way you're coming back from this one clean. Depending on the weather, the trails will either be dusty or mud-filled; but they're always fun. Kids can ride along if they meet the height and weight requirements (50" and 40 lbs.) and have an adult participating with them. Whipple Creek, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225-8400. .


Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. Sportfishing for salmon and trout is excellent in the Ketchikan area, in both saltwater and freshwater lakes and streams. As a result, a plethora of local boat owners offer charter and guide services. Contact the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau for information on guide services and locations. 131 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–6166 or 800/770–3300.

Harbor and Air Tours

Alaska Travel Adventures. The company's backcountry Jeep trips are fun, as are the 20-person canoe outings perfect for people just dipping their toes into (very) soft adventure travel. Ketchikan, AK. 800/323–5757 or 907/247–5295.

Allen Marine Tours. One of Southeast's largest and best-known tour operators, Allen Marine Tours leads Misty Fiords National Monument catamaran tours throughout the summer. The company also offers combo motorcoach and walking tours of Ketchikan sites that end with a water-jet-powered cruise into the Tongass Narrows. 5 Salmon Landing, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–8100 or 877/686–8100.

Southeast Aviation. Head out on a floatplane to tour the glaciers and mountains of Misty Fiords National Monument. Charters are available. 1249 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–2900 or 888/359–6478.


Deer Mountain. Get details on hiking around Ketchikan from the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center and Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. The 3-mile trail from downtown to the 3,000-foot summit of Deer Mountain will repay your efforts with a spectacular panorama of the city below and the wilderness behind. The trail officially begins at the corner of Nordstrom Drive and Ketchikan Lake Road, but consider starting on the paved, 1.5-mile scenic walk on the corner of Fair and Deermount streets. Pass through dense forests before emerging into the alpine country. A shelter cabin near the summit provides a place to warm up. Fair and Deermount Sts., Ketchikan, AK, 99901.

Ward Lake Recreation Area. About 6 miles north of town, Ward Lake Recreation Area has hikes next to lakes and streams and beneath towering spruce and hemlock trees; it also has several covered picnic spots and a pleasant campground. An easy 1.3-mile nature trail circles the lake, which is popular for steelhead and salmon fishing. Ward Creek Trail begins from the lake and follows the creek 2.5 miles, with shoreside paths to creek-side platforms. The trail is hard-packed gravel, and is wide and gentle enough for wheelchairs. More ambitious hikers head up the 2-mile Perseverance Trail, a challenging set of steps and boardwalk that takes hikers through the open muskeg (peat bog) to a small lake. Ward Lake, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–2148.

Local Interest

Cape Fox Tours. A Native-owned company, Cape Fox Tours leads tours of Saxman Totem Park and the historic George Inlet Cannery. Book tours in advance or at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. 300 Spruce Mill Way, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–4846.

Sea Kayaking

Southeast Exposure. Southeast Exposure offers a 3½-hour guided Eagle Islands sea-kayak tour and a 4½-hour Tatoosh Islands sea-kayak tour in Behm Canal. 37 Potter Rd., Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–8829.

Southeast Sea Kayaks. This company leads kayak tours of Ketchikan and Misty Fiords, and offers kayak lessons and rentals. It specializes in remote day trips and guided multinight trips to Misty Fiords. Travelers with just one day to spend on a Ketchikan adventure should consider the combination tour of kayaking through Orcas Cove and flightseeing Misty Fiord National Monument. It's hard to beat a day that includes a transfer from a boat to a floatplane. 3 Salmon Landing, Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–1258 or 800/287–1607.


Snorkel Alaska. While signing up to go snorkeling in Alaska may seem like little more than a novelty, it takes just a few seconds in the waters off Ketchikan to understand that you're about to have an incredibly special experience. (Don't worry, you'll be given a wet suit to keep you warm.) Experienced guides provide both novice and experienced snorkelers the necessary information to quickly become comfortable and begin underwater gazing at giant sunflower stars, bright blood stars, sea cucumbers, and more. S. Tongass Hwy. and Roosevelt Dr., Ketchikan, AK, 99903. 907/247–7783.

Walking Around Ketchikan

This walk originates at the helpful Ketchikan Visitors Bureau on Front Street. Just a few steps up Mill Street is the Salmon Landing Marketplace, filled with shops and restaurants. Next door, learn about Southeast Alaska's wild places at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Farther up Mill Street, past minuscule Whale Park with its Chief Kyan totem pole, you can follow Stedman Street across the bridge to Thomas Street, which overlooks one of Ketchikan's four harbors. Following Deermount Street uphill for several blocks, you'll come across the Totem Heritage Center and its collection of ancient totem poles. A footbridge takes you to Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery, where you can see young salmon, and City Park. From here, Park Avenue runs parallel to Ketchikan Creek, heading downhill to the fish ladder and the salmon carving next to the Falls at Salmon Falls Resort. Glance uphill from the falls to see historic Grant Street Trestle, where the road becomes a steep plank bridge supported by pilings. It's about a 10-minute walk down Park Avenue from the hatchery.

From the fish ladder, a boardwalk path follows Ketchikan Creek and leads to trendy Creek Street. For a good side trip, take the short funicular ($2) to Cape Fox Lodge to get a great view of the harbor. Back on the Creek Street boardwalk is former brothel Dolly's House. If you retrace your steps up the boardwalk and cross the Creek Street Footbridge, you may see salmon during summertime runs. Just in front of you is the Chief Johnson Totem Pole, near the Tongass Historical Museum, with interesting relics from the early days of mining and fishing. A left turn onto Bawden Street will take you past historic St. John's Church.

Seafood Stop

Salmon Etc.. For some of Southeast's best canned, smoked, or frozen salmon and halibut, along with crab and clams, try Salmon Etc. on Mission Street. 322 Mission St., Ketchikan, AK, 99901. 907/225–6008 or 800/354–7256.