About the Area...
Salmon and gold brought the first pioneers to Ketchikan where docks and canneries quickly sprang up along Tongass Narrows. Frame houses also appeared, hastily erected right over the water on steep hillsides that overlooked the emerging Creek Street red light district. The timber industry brought another wave of commerce and immigrants to the area, and by 1940 Ketchikan had grown into the second largest Alaskan town, proudly calling itself "Salmon Capital of the World.".
Today, floatplanes, ferries, cruise ships and sailboats dominate the Tongass Narrows. Between April and September, more than 480 ships cruise the Inside Passage and bring over 300,000 visitors from around the world to visit Ketchikan’s shores.
Onshore, there are lots of things for visitors to do. The craftsmanship and culture of the Native Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingits, who used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp, thrive here and are expressed in art, dance, and traditional totem poles. In this place the Native Americans called "kitschk-hin," meaning creek of the thundering wings of an eagle, Totem Bight State Historical Park, Saxman Native Village, and the Totem Heritage Center Museum house the largest collection of totem poles in the world.
To the east, Misty Fjords National Monument, accessible only by boat or plane, is Ketchikan’s glacial crown jewel with spectacular waterfalls, cliffs shrouded in mist, sky-blue lakes, miles of glaciers and of course wildlife. Spotting black bear, mountain goats and whales anywhere in the Ketchikan area is common. Majestic bald eagles are easy to find perched in shoreline trees and even on church steeples. Huge runs of trophy size salmon still migrate from the open ocean into the waters around Ketchikan, and wilderness lakes provide incredible fly-fishing for steelhead, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout.
For transportation information, please visit our Getting Here page.