A small cruise ship floats near forested coastline in Ketchikan
Photo Credit: Seabourn

A Guide to Ketchikan

A Guide to Ketchikan

Brought to you by Seabourn

Natural beauty and a rich history make this remote town a must visit destination for those craving an authentic Alaskan adventure.

A popular port along the state's southeastern coast, Ketchikan is way more than a just a stop along the way. Rather, it’s a true destination in and of itself. From a glacier-carved, snow-capped national monument and a rich variety of wildlife to the largest collection of totem poles in the world, it boasts a compelling blend of nature and culture.

Located along Alaska’s Inside Passage, on the western coast of Revillagigedo Island, Ketchikan is the state’s southeasternmost major settlement, and its fifth most-populous city. Incorporated in 1900 (almost six decades before Alaska was granted official U.S. statehood), it’s the oldest incorporated city in Alaska. Travel to the city’s famed Creek Street, where colorful houses sit on stilts, for a dose of quirky history and hear the tales the boardwalk has to tell.

Explore Misty Fjords National Monument

Ketchikan also magnificently plays the role of a doorway to nature. Misty Fjords National Monument, a stunning example of untouched natural beauty, resides a mere 40 miles from the town, awaiting eager travelers that arrive by boat or aircraft. Over millions of years, majestic peaks of light-colored granite have been sculpted by glaciers, creating an extensive network of fjords. These stunning inlets — flanked by the steep mountain cliffs — make for a memorable scene. Most mountain tops in the monument stand at around 4,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level, while its majestic highest peak rises to 6,250 feet. All set within a large, verdant rainforest environment, the Misty Fjords are marked by towering hemlock, spruce, and cedar trees, as well as abundant wildlife from whales and black and brown bears to bald eagles. And when traveling on board, Seabourn guests get the chance to experience the monument’s grandeur up close from a Zodiac or a kayak with the experts from the Ventures by Seabourn expedition team.

Hike the Deer Mountain Trail in Tongass National Forest

Those looking to explore the region by foot will hear the Tongass National Forest calling as they reach Ketchikan. Beautiful mountain views in the distance — combined with diverse wildlife and breathtaking elements of nature up close — make this 6.7-mile trail a required list item for so many hikers visiting the area. The terrain is made up of gravel areas, wooden bridges, and sections of natural rock and heavy timber.

Head out to sea for a fishing adventure

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll know that salmon from Alaska is some of the best in the world. Ketchikan, known as the “salmon capital of the world,” is the prime source for that oft-favored fish. From May through September, it’s one of the world’s most desirable fishing destinations in the world. Large numbers of all five species of Pacific salmon — king, coho, pink, chum, and sockeye varieties — return to its marine waters every year. It’s also a main source for halibut (as salmon are its major food source), cod, rockfish, and more. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, opt for a guided boat tour or excursion, where guides do the legwork for you before, during, and after your fishing experience (including providing equipment and taking care of all the necessary permissions) so you can de-stress and focus on the perfect catch.

On that note: with Seabourn’s exclusive “Enjoy Your Catch” experience, guests can have not just an expertly guided fishing session, but also the option to have the onboard culinary team prepare their catch for a delectable — and memorable — dinner.

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