Ketchikan, the southern-most city along the Inside Passage, is often the first stop for cruise liners that depart from Seattle, which is about 500 miles north of Ketchikan. Located at the foot of Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska, Ketchikan’s Indian name “Kach Khanna” means “spread wings of prostrate eagle”. Originally known for its fishing, Ketchikan became a supply centre for gold miners during the Gold Rush. In 1886 white settlers opened several canneries and Ketchikan was on its way to becoming the “salmon centre of the world.”  

This port city is often the tourist’s first look at Alaska. Built into the hills and propped up by wooden pillars and strewn with boardwalks, totem poles and wooden staircases, it fills the tourist with excitement and wonder about the rest of the state. The weather increases the appeal too. Annual rainfall reaches 165 inches making it the wettest city in Alaska. The tourist board dismisses the rain as “liquid sunshine”. And that is so true. The round-the-year rain does not detract from the city’s charm. Summer temperatures range from 50-65ºF.

Latest Ketchikan Deals

Inside Passage (Roundtrip San Francisco)

02 Jun 2020 (10 Nights) Cruise Only from £975pp
Star Princess

7 Night Alaska Dawes Glacier Cruise

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Discover the Beauty of Alaska and Vancouver Stay

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Nieuw Amsterdam

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Inside Passage (Roundtrip Seattle)

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Emerald Princess

Inside Passage (Roundtrip Seattle)

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Emerald Princess

7-Day Awe of Alaska: Glacier Bay & Inside Passage from Seattle

30 Aug 2020 (7 Nights) Fly Cruise from £2375pp
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Cruise Companies that sail to Ketchikan

Why visit Ketchikan ?

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Spread wings of prostrate eagle

The southern-most city along the Inside Passage

One of the most important attractions of Ketchikan is the Misty Fjords located 22 miles west of Ketchikan by air. Misty Fjords, a designated national monument in the Tongass National Forest, is a cluster of deep-water fjords created by receding glaciers. A permanent cover of whirling mist has given it its name. Blessed with a spectacular landscape full of valleys, waterfalls, glaciers and cliffs, Misty Fjords is a photographer’s delight. Explore this area by foot, air, kayak or a boat.  

Ketchikan is a hot bed of native culture. Totem Bight Historical Park is ten miles to the north of the city. A re-creation of a beautiful native setting, this historical park was set up in the 1930s by the federal government to save and restore the totem poles. These poles are made of soft cedar. Between the Totem Bight, the nearby Tlingit village of Saxman and the Totem Heritage Centre, Ketchikan boasts the largest collection of totem poles in the world. A two-hour guided tour of the village is available, the highlight of which is the dance and music performance by the local, skilled groups. Aided by the government the native past is kept alive. If you are fond of witnessing quirks of the past, visit Creek Street in Ketchikan. Once a red-light district, today it is a shopping centre for arts and crafts and regional specialties.  

Ketchikan is also famous for fishing, both commercial and sport fishing. Huge numbers of salmon migrate from the open seas around the Prince of Wales Island to the protected waters of Ketchikan. This massive coming together of five species of salmon is the reason why Ketchikan is called the “Salmon capital of the world.”  

Ketchikan is a window to the native past of Alaska.

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