Self-proclaimed the Salmon Capitol of the World, Ketchikan is the southernmost port on the Inside Passage. Located in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, the small town of 14,000 is best known for its salmon, its totem poles, and the excessive amount of rainfall it receives each year. Ketchikan is literally a “port” town, with half of the city built into a mountainside thick with spruce and the other half built on stilts over the water. Primarily a logging and fishing community, timber, salmon and halibut keep the economy strong, while annual events such as the Blueberry Festival and the Sportfishing Championship give the town unique character.
The majority of Ketchikan’s lodging options, including small hotels and Bed & Breakfasts, line the waterfront. Boats are even available to spend the night at sea. A unique choice for accommodations is the wilderness cabins offered through the US Forest Service.
Ketchikan Tours and Attractions
Walking tours are one of the most popular ways to explore the town. Totem Bight State Historical Park eight miles out of town features a ceremonial Tlingit lodge, while the Ward Lake Recreation Area is a great spot for picnicking. The Tongass Historical Museum highlights the history of Ketchikan and surrounding terrain, while the Totem Heritage Center will show you all you want to know about the craft of totem carving. The gift shops of Ketchikan are prized for their native crafts, basketry and jewelry. A number of organized excursions are available for cruise passengers and other visitors including city tours, flightseeing, historic trolley tours, and visits to Totem Park and the Saxman native village.
Separated from the mainland by the 150-mile Behm Canal, Ketchikan is accessible only by boat. Even the airport is located on a nearby island, and passengers must land and then ferry across the sound to the town itself. Within Ketchikan itself, a mere 20 miles of roads allow access to nearby parks and recreation areas.
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