22 Best Places and Things To Do in Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska is a charming coastal town situated in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and unique attractions, it’s no wonder that Ketchikan is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Ketchikan:

1. Tongass Historical Museum

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Located in the heart of downtown Ketchikan, the Tongass Historical Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past. The museum has a wide range of exhibits, including artifacts from the Tlingit and Haida Native American tribes, as well as exhibits on the town’s fishing and logging industries.

2. Totem Bight State Historical Park

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This park is home to over a dozen totem poles, each with its own unique story and symbolism. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the park and learn about the Tlingit and Haida cultures that created these beautiful works of art.

3. Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

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This 40-acre wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of Alaskan animals, including bald eagles, black bears, and Sitka deer. Visitors can take a guided tour of the sanctuary and learn about the unique ecology of the Alaskan rainforest.

4. Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

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This center is a great place to learn about the natural history of Southeast Alaska. The exhibits include interactive displays, a theater, and a bookstore.

5. Saxman Native Village

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Located just a few miles south of Ketchikan, the Saxman Native Village is home to one of the largest collections of totem poles in the world. Visitors can take guided tours and learn about the art and culture of the Tlingit people.

6. Misty Fjords National Monument

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This vast wilderness area is known for its stunning beauty, with deep fjords, towering cliffs, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can take a boat or seaplane tour to explore the area and see its many natural wonders.

7. Totem Heritage Center

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The Totem Heritage Center is a museum and gallery dedicated to preserving and displaying the traditional art of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people. The center features a collection of totem poles and other artifacts that provide insight into the rich cultural history of the region.

8. Great Alaska Lumberjack Show

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This family-friendly show offers an entertaining glimpse into the town’s logging history, with live demonstrations of lumberjack skills like log rolling, axe throwing, and chainsaw carving.

9. Deer Mountain Trail

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Deer Mountain Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Ketchikan, Alaska. The trailhead is located in downtown Ketchikan and the hike is about 6.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of around 3,000 feet. The trail is considered to be moderate to difficult, with steep sections and rocky terrain.

10. Dolly’s House Museum

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Dolly’s House Museum is a historic museum located in Ketchikan, Alaska. The museum is housed in a former brothel, known as Dolly’s House, which operated during the early 20th century. Today, the museum offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s colorful history and the world of prostitution during the Klondike Gold Rush era.

11. Orchard Lake of Revillagigedo Island

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Orchard Lake is a popular spot for fishing, with rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and cutthroat trout among the fish species found in the lake. Visitors can rent a rowboat or canoe to explore the lake, or fish from the shore. There is also a hiking trail that circles the lake, offering opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

12. Rotary Beach

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Rotary Beach is a popular public beach located in Ketchikan, Alaska. The beach is situated near the southern end of town and offers stunning views of Tongass Narrows, which is the body of water separating Ketchikan from Gravina Island.

13. Scanlon Gallery

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The Scanlon Gallery is located in the heart of Ketchikan’s historic district and is easily accessible by foot or shuttle. The gallery is open year-round, with extended hours during the summer months. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome to browse the collection at their leisure.

14. Settlers Cove State Recreational Site

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The park’s trails wind through old-growth forest, offering visitors the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including eagles, bears, and Sitka black-tailed deer. The trails also provide access to the park’s beaches, which are ideal for beachcombing, picnicking, and fishing.

15. Ketchikan Rainbird Trail

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The Ketchikan Rainbird Trail is a scenic hiking trail that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Ketchikan, Alaska. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles long and winds through lush rainforest, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and waterways.

16. Guard Island Lighthouse

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The Guard Island Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located on Guard Island, a small island in Tongass Narrows just off the coast of Ketchikan, Alaska. The lighthouse was built in 1903 to guide ships safely through the treacherous waters of the Narrows, and it is still in operation today.

17. City Park of Ketchikan

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The City Park of Ketchikan is a beautiful public park located in the heart of downtown Ketchikan, Alaska. The park covers an area of 4.5 acres and is home to a wide variety of amenities, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. One of the highlights of the City Park is its beautiful waterfront location. The park is situated on the banks of Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the center of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding waterways and mountains.

18. St. John’s Episcopal Church

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St. John’s Episcopal Church is a historic church located in downtown Ketchikan, Alaska. The church was built in 1903 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church features a striking Gothic Revival architectural style, with a steeply pitched roof, pointed arches, and intricate stained-glass windows. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with soaring ceilings, hand-carved wooden pews, and a beautiful altar adorned with intricate carvings.

19. Carlana Lake Trail

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The Carlanna Lake Trail is a scenic hiking trail located in Ketchikan, Alaska. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles long and is rated as moderate in difficulty, making it a great option for hikers of all skill levels. The trail begins at the Carlanna Lake Road Trailhead and winds through a dense forest of hemlock and spruce trees. Along the way, hikers will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and waterways, as well as several picturesque streams and waterfalls.

20. First Lutheran Church

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First Lutheran Church is a historic church located in Ketchikan, Alaska. It was built in 1934 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church’s architecture is influenced by the Art Deco style and features a striking bell tower with a metal dome and cross on top. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with a beautiful altar and stunning stained-glass windows.

21. Kawanti Adventures


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Kawanti Adventures is an outdoor adventure company located in Ketchikan, Alaska, that offers a variety of guided tours and experiences for visitors to the area. The company specializes in small group tours and personalized experiences, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Ketchikan in a fun and immersive way.

22. Snorkel Alaska


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Snorkel Alaska is an adventure tour company located in Ketchikan, Alaska, that offers a unique and exciting way to explore the underwater world of Alaska. The company specializes in guided snorkeling tours in the waters around Ketchikan, allowing visitors to discover the diverse marine life and stunning scenery of the region.

Ketchikan is a unique and exciting destination in Alaska, with a wealth of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and natural wonders to explore. From hiking and fishing to kayaking and whale watching, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had in this charming coastal town.