Your Guide To Ketchikan, Alaska

What some people may not know about Ketchikan, Alaska is that it’s a rainforest. Compared to the glacier landscapes across other parts of Alaska, Ketchikan’s lush green landscape is a beautiful contrast. If you’re considering Alaska train travel or traveling by boat for your next vacation, Ketchikan is a great place to stop. Here are some of the best things to see and do in the area.

See the totem poles

Ketchikan has the world’s largest collection of Native American totem poles that are spread throughout the town. Each totem pole has a unique story and some date back to hundreds of years ago. You can take a guided walking tour of the city or a self-guided walk and admire the beautiful totem poles. Visit the Totem Heritage Center to see the oldest totem poles in a climate controlled room. The most notable group of totem poles is the Council of Clans Totem Pole Circle outside of the Cape Fox Lodge that represents the Northwest culture.

Catch or eat salmon

“The salmon capital of the world” definitely won’t disappoint when it comes to their huge king salmon. The salmon run wild in Ketchikan and you can take a guided fishing tour to show off your salmon fishing skills. If you’re an experienced fisher, you can rent out a boat and explore the misty fjords on your own. If eating is more your thing, The Alaska Fish House is the best spot for seafood and salmon dinners.

Visit local museums

For $5, start your day at the Southeast Alaska Discover Center. Ketchikan is rich in Native American and industrial age history that the Forest Rangers at the center will tell you about. The Tongass Historical Museum also gives an overview of Ketchikan’s beginnings and the industries the city thrives on. The old photographs and artifacts show what life was like in the fishing city. Admission for adults is only $3.

Dolly’s House Museum is world famous and gives an interesting take on Ketchikan’s red light district. Dolly Arthur owned the house and was the lady of the district back in the early 1900s. For $5, you can visit the doll house like museum located downtown.

Get a taste of local wildlife

The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary is a 40 acre nature preserve that is lined with beautiful spruce and cedar trees and wild flowers. The easy half-mile trail takes you into the Tongass National Forest where you can view wildlife such as bears and bald eagles. There’s also a native totem pole carver that you can watch on site.

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