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.