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Ketchikan is located along the Tongass Narrows on Revillagigedo Island in Southeast Alaska, surrounded by the Tongass National Forest (the largest national forest in the United States). At the eastern part of the downtown area lies the Deer Mountain.

It serves as the initial port for Alaska Marine ferries and cruise ships that come from the south. It is once considered as the salmon capital of the world, with commercial fishing as one of its key economic drivers. Also, Ketchikan gets an average annual rainfall of 162in, making it one of the rainiest cities in North America.

What to see & do

Ketchikan and small islands surrounding it offer scenic views with the steep rainforests, hillsides, and inlets of waterways. Enjoy the outdoors through kayaking on the town waterfront, or ziplining through the forest canopy.

Ketchikan is home to the world’s largest collection of standing totem poles, most of which are displayed at Saxman Totem Park (about 2.5 miles south of downtown), Totem Bight State Historical Park (about 10 miles north of downtown Ketchikan), Potlatch Park, and the Totem Heritage Center. The local totem pole collections tell a lot about the history and traditions of three Alaska native cultures - Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian.

The historic Creek District, once known as a red-light district, is located near where cruise ships dock. Take a walking tour and see the numerous scenic wooden buildings on stilts at Ketchikan Creek. Make sure to get a walking tour map which is available throughout downtown area. The Creek Street is definitely a place for photography enthusiasts.

Visit the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Its exhibit hall showcases ecosystems of the area and Alaska Native traditions. Visitors can also explore the town’s wildlife - see mountain goats on Deer Mountain and salmon at Ketchikan Creek. Those who want to visit the Tongass National Forest can go to the centre where the US Forest Service provides visitor programs.

How to get around within Ketchikan

Ketchikan is a scenic town that stretches for several miles and tourist attractions can be reached by foot. However, it is advised to check the schedule of cruise ships as the town can be crowded when many cruise ships are in port.

Visitors can likewise ride a taxi to get around some destinations outside of town. The local bus service operates three lines, enabling tourists to reach certain destinations including the Totem Bight State Park.

How to get there

Visitors can reach Ketchikan by air from Seattle, Juneau, Sitka, and Wrangell, and will arrive at the Ketchikan International Airport. The city is only less than two hours of flight time away from Seattle. From the airport, ride a water taxi or Ketchikan Airporter to reach the chosen destination.

As the initial port of many cruise ships and ferries, Ketchikan serves as the port of call. Cruise ships passing through Alaska’s Inside Passage arrive and leave the city on the same day. Visitors can ride a ferry of the Alaska Marine Highway System going to the northern part of downtown. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority also offers daily service from its hub in Hollis, Prince of Wales Island. There is a local bus service in the city. Visitors can also call for a taxi or shuttle service.

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