Ketchikan is a bustling community backed by forested hills and surrounded by waterway busy with float planes, fishing boats, ferries and cruise ships. The little town of nearly 14,000 is built right over the water in many places. It has a high amount of rainfall, on average 153 inches a year. Ketchikan also has the world’s largest collection of totem poles.
Creek street is not so much a street but a boardwalk built on pilings and was the famed red light district for half a century until 1954 when the profession became illegal. The first house with it’s bright red doors and windows is Dolly’s House, the parlor of the city’s most infamous made. Creek Street is now a collection of historic homes, restaurants, museums, galleries and shops.
The Salmon Ladder
The Salmon Ladder, this is where you can watch the salmon trying to jump up the rushing waterfall and continue upstream for spawning.
Married Mans Trail
Married Man’s Trail is a short 2 mile historic route that let the married men across Ketchikan’s former red light district on Creek Street without being seen. It’s shady, forested walk along the Ketchikan Creek. At the creek street trailhead is a viewing platform. The trail ends at Park Avenue and has nice views of the creek and the fish ladder. The dense, shaded forest is also a nice contrast from the busy downtown area.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
The Alaskan lumberjacks battle it out with Canadian Lumberjacks in chopping, sawing, tree climbing, axe throwing, log rolling, and much more.
Floatplane to Misty Fjords
Misty Fjords National Monument is a pristine masterpiece featuring some of Alaska’s most spectacular scenery. Seventeen thousand years ago, the area was covered in ice. Massive glacier action carved out it’s present landscape of salt water fjords and 3,000 foot cliffs. One of the best ways to explore Ketchikan is on foot. Start at the busy city dock with a stop at the vistor bureau to pick up a Ketchikan walking map. Misty Fjords provides outstanding recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat, accessible by floatplane or boat from Ketchikan. The near edge of the 2.3 million acre area is only 40 miles south of Ketchikan.
Carlanna Lake Trail is a great day hike that is close to the city. 1.5 miles with a total gain of 150 feet. There are 3 trout fishing platforms on the lake. Easy Access via Carlanna Lake Road from Tongass Avenue. Turn left on Baranof and at the end of Baranof turn right on Canyon Road to the trailhead.
Rainbird Trail is 1.3 miles long and has an elevation gain of 300 feet. The trail is quick, easily accessible rain forest experience close to downtown Ketchikan. Several locations along the trail have a panoramic view of Ketchikan and surrounding islands. Ravens, bald eagles may be seen flying overhead or roosting on trees. From water street near number 4 berth, follow Schoenbar Road to third avenue. Left on third to the trailhead.
www.visit-ketchikan.com/things-to-do.Tongass National Forest. At 17 million acres, it is the largest national forest in the US. You can travel 500 miles from Ketchikan to Yakutat and never leave the national forest. This temperate rain forest is integral to the lifestyle of Southeast Alaska and always has been. Managed for multiple uses, the vast forest supporters habitat for a rich abundance of plants, animals and birds and provides resources for both recreation and industry.
Historic Saxman Totem Row Park; City of Saxman, Rt 2, Box 1 Saxman, Ketchikan, AK 99901
Totem Row Park is wholly unique among Alaskan arts experiences, as it offers vistors the opportunity to experience many of the world’s finest examples of Alaska Native Carving, within the context of a living, breathing Alaska Native community. With the addition of the Edwin Dewitt Carving Center and the Saxman Tribal House in the 1980s, Saxman’s Totem Row has become the most visited attraction in Southern Southeast Alaska. Saxman Totem Row Park is a cherished community asset to Alaskan Indian people and an internationally renowned destination for heritage tourists. Totem Row park is on the national register of historic places. $5 fee.
Things To Do;
- Lumberjack Show.
- Whale Park
- Creek Street; The area became a red light district in 1902. More than 30 bawdy houses, most with one or two “working girls” lined the creek over the years. With prohitbition, some became speakeasies; rowboats slipped in at right on high tide and liquor rose through trapdoors. The city outlawed prositittion in 1953 and Creek Street became a mixed residential and commercial area. The Star House at No.5 Creek Street once a dance hall and the only registered brothel in the territory of Alaska, is on the National Register of Historic places.
- Dolly’s House; Dolly Arthur was Kethikan’s most famous madam in the heyday of Creek Street. Her house, preserved much as she left it, features antiques, caches and garish decor.
- Footbridge; Observe unique creek street where historic buildings on pilings flank a salmon stream.
- Rainbird Trail
- Deer Mountain Trail.
- Married Men’s Trail.
- Totem Heritage Center.
- Saxman Totem Pole Park
- Salmon Ladder.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show