10 Things to do in Ketchikan AL – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Ketchikan, Alaska, a hidden gem waiting to be explored by adventurous travelers. Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Ketchikan offers a plethora of things to do in Ketchikan AL that will leave you in awe. From exploring the lush Tongass National Forest to witnessing the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument, this charming Alaskan town has something for everyone. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, and authentic local experiences. Discover why Ketchikan is a must-visit destination that will capture your heart and ignite your sense of wanderlust.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Misty Fjords National Monument:

Essential Information

– Address: Ketchikan, Alaska
– Opening Hours: Daily, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
– Fee: $5 per person
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Misty Fjords National Monument in Ketchikan, Alaska, is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts seeking awe-inspiring landscapes and outdoor adventures. The monument’s dramatic fjords, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls offer a glimpse into the raw beauty of untouched wilderness. Visitors can explore the rugged terrain by boat, plane, or kayak, immersing themselves in the pristine natural surroundings. The monument’s diverse wildlife, including bald eagles and black bears, provides a unique opportunity for wildlife spotting and photography. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adrenaline-pumping outdoor experience, Misty Fjords National Monument is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Totem Bight State Historical Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 9883 N Tongass Hwy, Ketchikan, AL
– Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $5 per person
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and nature lovers

Overview

Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan, AL, is a must-see destination for those interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage of Alaska’s indigenous peoples. The park is home to a stunning collection of intricately carved totem poles, each telling a unique story of the region’s history and traditions. Visitors can stroll through the lush forest setting, marveling at the craftsmanship and symbolism of these ancient artworks.

Beyond the totem poles, Totem Bight State Historical Park offers a peaceful retreat into nature, with scenic walking trails that wind through old-growth forests and along the picturesque coastline. The park provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing visitors to connect with the natural beauty and cultural significance of this special place.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a tranquil spot to unwind, Totem Bight State Historical Park offers a unique and enriching experience that captures the essence of Alaska’s vibrant heritage. Plan a visit to this hidden gem and immerse yourself in the stories and traditions that have shaped this remarkable corner of the world.

Creek Street:

Essential Information

– Address: Creek Street, Ketchikan, Alaska
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: Free to visit
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, nature lovers

Overview

Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, is a historic boardwalk perched above Ketchikan Creek. This iconic attraction offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s colorful past as a bustling red-light district during the Gold Rush era. Today, Creek Street is a charming mix of quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants, making it a must-see destination for those interested in Alaskan history and culture. Strolling along the wooden boardwalk, visitors can soak in the picturesque views of the creek below and learn about the area’s rich heritage through informative plaques and exhibits. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to enjoy a leisurely walk in a unique setting, Creek Street is sure to captivate visitors with its old-world charm and scenic beauty.

Saxman Native Village:

Essential Information

– Address: Ketchikan, Alaska
– Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
– Fee: $10 per person
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and cultural explorers

Overview

Saxman Native Village in Ketchikan, Alaska, is a must-see destination for those interested in delving into the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the region. The village offers a fascinating glimpse into the traditional Tlingit culture, showcasing intricately carved totem poles that stand as testaments to centuries-old traditions. Visitors can witness skilled artisans at work, creating beautiful handcrafted pieces that reflect the artistry and craftsmanship of the Tlingit people. Exploring the village provides a unique opportunity to learn about the history, customs, and beliefs of the native inhabitants of Alaska, making it a truly enriching experience for anyone curious about the region’s indigenous roots.

Tongass National Forest:

Essential Information

– Address: Ketchikan, Alaska
– Opening Hours: Daily, 24 hours
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, wildlife enthusiasts

Overview

Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska, is a sprawling natural wonder that offers visitors a chance to experience the raw beauty of the Last Frontier. Covering over 16.7 million acres, it is the largest national forest in the United States and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest boasts diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to rugged mountains, providing a habitat for a wide array of wildlife, including bears, eagles, and salmon. Hiking trails wind through old-growth forests, offering stunning views of glaciers and fjords, making it a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike. Whether you’re seeking solitude in the wilderness or hoping to catch a glimpse of Alaska’s iconic wildlife, Tongass National Forest is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the untamed beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary:

Essential Information

– Address: Ketchikan, Alaska
– Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
– Fee: $50 per person
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts

Overview

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary in Ketchikan, Alaska is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts seeking an authentic Alaskan experience. This sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to explore the lush rainforest ecosystem of the region, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can embark on guided tours through the pristine wilderness, learning about the local wildlife and conservation efforts along the way. The sanctuary’s knowledgeable guides provide valuable insights into the delicate balance of this ecosystem, making it an educational and enriching experience for all who visit. Whether you’re a birdwatcher, hiker, or simply a nature lover, Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary promises a memorable and immersive adventure in the heart of the Last Frontier.

Southeast Alaska Discovery Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 50 Main Street, Ketchikan, AL
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday
– Fee: $5 for adults, free for children under 16
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature enthusiasts

Overview

The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan, AL is a must-see destination for those seeking to delve into the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region. With interactive exhibits and informative displays, visitors can learn about the diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and indigenous cultures that make Southeast Alaska truly unique. From the towering forests to the pristine waters, this center offers a comprehensive insight into the wonders of the Last Frontier. Whether you’re a family looking for an educational outing or a nature enthusiast eager to deepen your understanding of this remarkable corner of the world, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center promises a rewarding experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and complexity of Alaska’s southeastern landscapes.

Dolly’s House Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 24 Creek Street, Ketchikan, AL
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $10 for adults, $5 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and those interested in the Gold Rush era

Overview

Dolly’s House Museum in Ketchikan, AL, offers a fascinating glimpse into the colorful history of the Gold Rush era. This well-preserved brothel turned museum provides a unique perspective on the lives of the women who worked in the red-light district during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Visitors can explore the meticulously restored rooms, each filled with period furnishings and artifacts that tell the stories of the women who once lived and worked here.

Stepping inside Dolly’s House Museum is like stepping back in time, as you learn about the challenges and triumphs of these pioneering women. The museum’s knowledgeable guides are on hand to provide insights and answer any questions, making it a truly immersive experience for history enthusiasts. Whether you’re intrigued by the social history of the Gold Rush era or simply curious about this unique slice of Americana, Dolly’s House Museum is a must-see attraction in Ketchikan.

Deer Mountain Trail:

Essential Information

  • Address: Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Opening Hours: Daily, sunrise to sunset
  • Fee: Free
  • Visit Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts, hikers, outdoor adventurers

Overview

Nestled in the heart of Ketchikan, Alaska, Deer Mountain Trail offers a captivating outdoor experience for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. The trail’s rugged terrain and lush surroundings provide a perfect setting for those seeking an adventurous escape into the Alaskan wilderness. As you ascend the trail, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests, making it a prime spot for capturing stunning photographs. The diverse flora and fauna along the trail add to the allure of this natural wonder, offering a glimpse into the rich biodiversity of the region. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenging trek or a casual nature lover seeking a peaceful retreat, Deer Mountain Trail promises an unforgettable journey through the untamed beauty of Alaska’s wilderness.

Potlatch Totem Park:

Essential Information

– Address: Ketchikan, AL
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: $10 per person
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History and culture enthusiasts

Overview

Potlatch Totem Park in Ketchikan, AL is a must-see destination for history and culture enthusiasts visiting Alaska. The park offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich heritage of the indigenous peoples of the region, particularly the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes. As you wander through the park, you’ll encounter a stunning collection of intricately carved totem poles, each telling a unique story of the native peoples’ traditions and beliefs.

Visitors to Potlatch Totem Park can also explore traditional Native Alaskan art and artifacts, providing a deeper understanding of the cultural significance behind these ancient treasures. The park’s serene setting amidst the lush Alaskan wilderness offers a peaceful retreat for those looking to connect with nature and history simultaneously. Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Potlatch Totem Park is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in the heart of Ketchikan.

Food and Cuisine

Salmon Chowder

Why is it so special:

Salmon Chowder is a beloved local dish in Ketchikan, known for its rich and creamy texture combined with the fresh flavors of wild Alaskan salmon. This hearty soup is a perfect blend of tender salmon chunks, potatoes, onions, and a creamy broth seasoned with herbs and spices. The dish reflects the region’s strong fishing heritage and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic taste of Salmon Chowder, head to local seafood shacks along the waterfront or visit cozy cafes in the downtown area. For a more upscale experience, dine at renowned seafood restaurants like The Alaska Fish House or Annabelle’s Keg & Chowder House.

Dungeness Crab Legs

Why is it so special:

Dungeness Crab Legs are a delicacy in Ketchikan, prized for their sweet and succulent meat. These crab legs are typically steamed or boiled to perfection, showcasing the natural flavors of the fresh crab. The dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, offering a taste of the bountiful Alaskan waters.

Where to Try It:

Indulge in Dungeness Crab Legs at local seafood markets for a casual dining experience or splurge on a fine dining establishment like The Crab Cracker. For a unique twist, look for food trucks or pop-up stalls offering freshly cooked crab legs along the harbor.

Halibut Fish and Chips

Why is it so special:

Halibut Fish and Chips is a classic comfort food dish with a Ketchikan twist. The dish features tender pieces of halibut coated in a light and crispy batter, served with a side of golden fries and tangy tartar sauce. The halibut, sourced from the cold waters of Alaska, offers a mild and delicate flavor that pairs perfectly with the crunchy exterior.

Where to Try It:

For a casual dining experience, grab a serving of Halibut Fish and Chips from local fish and chips stands or pubs scattered throughout the town. For a more upscale setting, dine at waterfront restaurants like The Chart Room Restaurant or The Landing Restaurant & Bar for a gourmet take on this classic dish.

Events and Festivals

Ketchikan Blueberry Arts Festival

The Ketchikan Blueberry Arts Festival is a celebration of local art, music, and food centered around the blueberry harvest season. Visitors can enjoy live music performances, browse through a variety of arts and crafts vendors, and indulge in delicious blueberry-themed treats. The festival also features activities for all ages, including a blueberry pie-eating contest and a blueberry-themed parade.

Ketchikan King Salmon Derby

The Ketchikan King Salmon Derby is a popular fishing event that draws anglers from around the world to compete for the largest king salmon catch. Participants can enjoy a friendly competition while experiencing the thrill of fishing in the pristine waters of Ketchikan. The derby offers cash prizes for the top catches, as well as opportunities to connect with fellow fishing enthusiasts.

Ketchikan Crab Festival

The Ketchikan Crab Festival is a seafood lover’s paradise, featuring a wide array of crab dishes prepared by local chefs. Visitors can sample fresh Alaskan crab legs, crab cakes, and other delicious seafood offerings while enjoying live music and entertainment. The festival also includes fun activities such as crab races, crab feed contests, and cooking demonstrations showcasing the versatility of crab in culinary creations.

Interesting Facts

– Ketchikan, Alaska, is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” with five species of salmon found in its waters, making it a prime destination for fishing enthusiasts.
– The city is home to the world’s largest collection of standing totem poles, with many of them located in the Totem Bight State Historical Park, offering a glimpse into the rich Native American culture of the region.
– Ketchikan receives an average annual rainfall of over 13 feet, earning it the title of one of the wettest cities in the United States, creating lush green landscapes and vibrant flora.

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