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While in Ketchikan experience Ward Creek Trail; Perseverance Lake Trail; Mountain Point Underwater Trail; Dude Mountain Trail; Deer Mountain and Silvas Lake Trail; Connell Lake Trail SEAtrails; Ketchikan is most noted for its close proximity to the 2.2 million acre Misty Fiords National Monument (22 air miles east of Ketchikan); Revillagigedo Island Marine Route; camping, day hiking; multi-day hiking; ocean kayaking, opportunities for wildlife viewing including bears, wolves, mountain goats, harbor seals, Steller’s sea lions, Dall porpoise, humpback whales, orcas, Sitka black-tail deer, eagles, and a variety of marine and land birds.

Cultural attractions include the Totem Bight State Historical Park, Saxman Totem Park and Carving Center, Totem Heritage Center Museum; Tongass Historical Museum; Creek Street Historic District and the infamous Dolly’s House. Cultural events and festivals including the Festival of the North (February); Celebration of the Sea (April); Fourth of July/Timber Carnival (July); King of Kings Salmon Derby (June); Little League Salmon Derby (May-June); Blueberry Arts Festival (August); Winter Arts Faire (Nov); and the Festival of Lights (December).


Ketchikan is located on the southwestern coast of the 1134 square mile Revillagigedo Island, within the Tongass National Forest, near the southern boundary of Alaska. Ketchikan offers services and a connection point for SEAtrails communities on Prince of Wales Island.

Ketchikan’s namesake is a creek long used by Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingits as a fish camp they called “kitschk-hin,” meaning creek of the “thundering wings of an eagle.” The abundant fish and timber resources attracted non-Natives to Ketchikan. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan, which later became the township.

The first cannery opened in 1886 near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek and four more were built by 1912. The Ketchikan Post Office was established in 1892, and the City was incorporated in 1900. By this time, nearby gold and copper discoveries briefly brought activity to Ketchikan as a mining supply center. During 1936, seven canneries were in operation, producing 1.5 million cases of salmon.

The need for lumber for new construction and packing boxes spawned the Ketchikan Spruce Mills in 1903, which operated for over 70 years. Spruce was in high demand during World War II, and Ketchikan became a supply center for area logging. A $55 million pulp mill was constructed at Ward Cove near Ketchikan in 1954. Its operation fueled the growth of the community as an industrial center and a major port of entry in Southeast Alaska. The mill’s 50-year contract with the U.S. Forest service for timber was canceled, and the pulp mill closed in March 1997.


Ketchikan is the first port of call in Alaska for cruise ships and Alaska’s Marine Highway System vessels. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority provides daily, year-round ferry service between Ketchikan and Hollis on Prince of Wales Island and twice-a-day service during the Summer. Ketchikan’s community harbor and docking facilities include a breakwater, a deep draft dock, five small boat harbors, a dry dock and ship repair yard, boat launch, and a State ferry terminal.

Regularly-scheduled commercial jet services offer northbound and southbound departures daily. The airport lies on Gravina Island, a 10-minute ferry ride to the downtown.

Ketchikan has numerous air taxi and sea plane tour companies with service to surrounding communities. There are four float plane landing facilities: Tongass Narrows, Peninsula Point, Ketchikan Harbor, and Murphy’s.


Ketchikan has many services available for visitors. Accommodations are available at the hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, Forest Service cabins, and RV parks. There are car rentals, taxi cabs, a transit system, outdoor gear rentals, and emergency/medical services available as well as grocery stores and many restaurants and eateries.


Ketchikan lies in the maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy precipitation. Summer temperatures range from 51 to 65; winter temperatures range from 29 to 39. Ketchikan averages 162 inches (13.5 feet) of precipitation annually, including 32 inches of snowfall.

Local Contacts

For more information about Ketchikan, contact the City of Ketchikan, 334 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901, (907-225-3111) or the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 5957, Ketchikan, AK 99901 (907-225-3184). The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau can be contacted at 131 Front Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901, (907-225-6166) for additional information about the area.