Skip to content


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ketchikan is the fifth-most populous city in Alaska with a population of more than 14,000. Known as the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, 90 miles (140 km) north of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and 235 miles (378 km) south of Juneau. This picturesque city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km2). Its local economy is based on tourism and fishing.

The half a mile (800 m) wide Tongass Narrows channel separates Ketchikan from Gravina Island, where Ketchikan International Airport is located. The city is named after Ketchikan Creek. Ketchikan comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, which means “thundering wings of an eagle.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Rock Welcomes You

Gunalchéesh haa xánt keeyiteení! Tlingit

A Tlingit woman sits with her drum singing her song of Ketchikan. She tells the story seen on The Rock statue on the pier. She sings of how the loggers came and harvested the trees, the miners mined the gold, the fishermen dared the sea for the salmon and the halibut, and the pilots braved the sky, carrying people out beyond the reach of any ship or road. The pioneer woman arrives on her own, looking out over the horizon of opportunity that awaits her here in this new land.

Atop The Rock stands Chief Johnson who, in the early days of Ketchikan, would be waiting on the dock to greet travellers arriving on the ships sailing from San Francisco and Seattle. He offered them trinkets for sale and in this way began a cultural exchange that continues today. He stands as a visionary as he now welcomes the world. Ketchikan was founded by the vision and heroic efforts of these pioneers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did You Know?

  • At the turn of the century, the Loring Cannery produced more cans of salmon that any other cannery in Alaska. The cannery and related housing had a larger population than Ketchikan.
  • Highschool students use a gravel field to play football. Ouch!
  • Ketchikan receives almost 1,000,000 visitors each year, most arrive by cruise ships.
  • There is a 20 mph speed limit in Ketchikan that all vehicles must obey, including police and fire trucks.
  • Mike Martin purchased 160 acres of land from Chief Kyan in 1885, which later became the Township of Ketchikan.
  • The Cape Fox Tlingits and Tongass used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp.
  • The Ketchikan Post Office was established in 1892.
  • By 1936 there were seven canneries in operation in Ketchikan.
  • In September after the last cruise ship departs, the buildings in the downtown area are emptied of stock and closed for the winter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Things to Do

Creek Street

Creek Street is a historic boardwalk perched on pilings along the banks of Ketchikan Creek near downtown Ketchikan. It was a significant red-light district until the passage of the Anti-Crib Laws in the early 1950s and is now a quaint neighbourhood that provides visitors with an opportunity to tour Dolly’s House, view totem poles, shop at locally-owned stores and galleries, and enjoy local art and culture.

Great Alaskan Lumber Jack Show

The Great Alaskan Lumber Jack Show is promoted as one of the top 10 things to see in Alaska. This entertaining show features professional timber athletes competing in action packed events, such as the speed climb up a 60-foot pole, axe throwing, chopping, sawing and log rolling competition. Three to five shows are held daily from May to September.


Ketchikan is a shopper’s paradise with its impressive array of art galleries and general merchandise and specialty stores.

Totem Poles

The world’s largest collection of standing totem poles is found at three major locations: the City of Saxman, Totem Bight State Park and the Totem Heritage Center. Many of the totems are replicas of older poles that were carved during the Roosevelt Administration in the early 1900s.


There are a wide variety of tours that can be taken in Ketchikan. Options range from fully guided tours aboard amphibious vehicles, buses, coaches, horse-drawn trolleys, streetcars, vans and taxis. Floatplane tours include bear watching expeditions, the Misty Fiords National Monument, freight and mail runs to outlying communities, and drop offs at recreational areas. Guided cruise tours visit local points of interest and provide an insider’s view of fishing, wildlife and marine life, and the Misty Fiords National Monument.


Ketchikan serves as an air and marine transportation hub for Southeast Alaska. The Ketchikan International Airport serves as a gateway for Alaska Airlines jet service to and from Seattle, Juneau and Anchorage, and as a bush carrier and charter aircraft hub for destinations such as Hyder, Metlakatla and Prince of Wales Island communities.

Ketchikan sits on the Alaska Marine Highway’s Inside Passage route and receives a large number of ships northbound and southbound to Prince Rupert, British Columbia where a connection can be made to the BC Ferries system and also to Bellingham, Washington. Ketchikan has regular day service from the Alaska Marine Highway vessel M/V Lituya, a day boat that shuttles between Ketchikan and Metlakatla. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority provides daily ferry service in the winter and twice daily service in the summer.

%d bloggers like this: