A Local's Guide to Ketchikan
Jenn Brown is the founder of Foraged & Found, a specialty food company based in Ketchikan, Alaska, that crafts delicious treats from wild-foraged ingredients. Originally from southern California, Jenn pursued a career in marketing that led her from Seattle to Sydney. When the corporate world lost its appeal, she traveled the world until a job opportunity as a chef aboard a yacht landed her in Ketchikan. She immediately fell in love with her wild surroundings and the vast bounty of food that the land provided. That love created Foraged & Found, a company centered on the mission of bringing the wild flavors of Alaska to the entire nation.
Welcome to Ketchikan! Here are some of my favorite things to do and see in this port community.
Visit Creek Street
Creek Street is Ketchikan’s historical downtown core, built on boardwalks over Ketchikan Creek. It’s picturesque and chock-full of great shopping — check out Soho Coho, Niblick’s General Store, and Ketchikan Dry Goods for a great selection of Alaska art and gifts and maybe even some Foraged & Found goodies. Don’t miss grabbing a coffee at local favorite The New York Cafe on the southern end of Creek Street.
Ketchikan isn’t called the salmon capital of the world for no reason — we have some of the best sportfishing in the U.S. I take all of my visitors out to troll for salmon or jig for halibut or ling cod, and it is a favorite every time. Even family members who don’t usually like to fish can’t resist the thrill of hooking (and eating) a fresh catch. If you think you have the skills to DIY, you can rent boats from Knudson Cove Marina or Clover Pass Resort. If you prefer to have a pro take you along, Baranof Fishing Excursions offers great guided sportfishing trips.
Kayak with the whales
As an island community, spending time on the water is a central part of Ketchikan life. Residents and visitors alike regularly see humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, seals, and more from our windows and hilly city streets, but there is nothing like getting truly up close and personal with the marine mammals that also call Southeast Alaska home! What better way to truly encounter the area’s abundant wildlife than on a sea kayak? There are several companies that offer guided tours and self-guided rentals. I recommend Ketchikan Kayak Company or Alaska Kayak Company.
Get your art fix
Ketchikan has a thriving and active arts community, and it is one of the things that really brings the community together. The Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council offers a variety of gallery showings, events, and art walks throughout the year. Some favorite activities include its First Friday events, the annual Wearable Art Show, and the Blueberry Arts Festival held each August. Foraged & Found’s very first sales were made at the Blueberry Arts Festival! More than just a place for vendors, the festival features art, crafts, food booths, a Battle of the Bands, kitschy contests, the Gigglefeet Dance Festival, a poetry slam, and more.
Climb a mountain
One of the things that makes the geography of Ketchikan so spectacular is the proximity of mountains to the ocean. While this makes for beautiful views, it also makes for excellent (albeit challenging) hikes. A few of the best ones to check out are Deer Mountain, Dude Mountain, and Silvis Lakes. If you really want to challenge yourself, you can do the Silvis Lakes to Deer Mountain Traverse, a 14-mile, one-way hike from the southern end of the road system right into downtown Ketchikan. You can camp (there is even a Forest Service cabin near the Deer Mountain summit), but true warriors complete it in one day.
Alaska: AKA Your Next Adventure
Where will your Alaska adventure take you? Order our Official State of Alaska Vacation Planner and plot your course.