Ketchikan, a port of call on a Disney Cruise Line Alaska Cruise vacation, is a city in southeast Alaska located on Revillagigedo Island along Tongass Narrows at the foot of the towering Deer Mountain. The city is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty, fishing and colorful Native culture.
Things to See and Do
Ketchikan boasts the largest collection of original 19th-century totem poles in the world. Be sure to spend some time at one of the 3 totem pole parks in the area—Totem Heritage Center, Saxman Totem Park and Totem Bight State Park—each brimming with majestic, multi-colored Tlingit and Haida totems amid a spectacular rural setting.
History buffs will want to trace the steps of the early setters with a stroll down Creek Street, a suspended boardwalk populated by colorful houses, once a hub for brothels, and now home to a variety of eclectic shops.
The unbridled beauty and sheer size of Misty Fjords National Monument in Tongass National Forest is a nature lover's paradise, providing all who enter with sweeping views of rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, rushing waterfalls, lakes and wondrous wildlife that defy description. Additionally, Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center, overlooking Ketchikan Creek, includes observation areas where you can glimpse spawning salmon and enjoy an up-close encounter with 2 bald eagles.
Local Culture and Flavor
With a population of approximately 7,800, Ketchikan is the 5th largest city in the state, despite being only 12 blocks long. Because the city takes so much pride in its native roots, it's impossible not to feel its influence wherever you roam, be it in the city center or off the beaten track. Major attractions boast towering totem poles celebrating the various tribes indigenous to the area while shops both big and small offer one-of-a-kind hand-carved items for tourists.
Billed as the "Salmon Capital of the World," Ketchikan's economy is—and always has been—primarily based on fishing. The waters surrounding the town teem with 5 types of salmon: King, Red, Silver, Pink and Chum, making it a destination of choice for professional and amateur fishermen the world over.
Past and Present
Ketchikan's humble beginnings began when a salmon saltery was established in 1883. Then in 1885, 160 acres of land were purchased from local Native Americans and—a year later—the first salmon cannery was built at the mouth of the Ketchikan Creek. By 1900, the fishing trade was flourishing and the town was officially founded. Ketchikan, already successful from industrial fishing, soon branched out and became a valuable mining supply center due to the discovery of gold and copper in the region, followed by a flourishing logging industry that continued throughout the 20th century.
Today, Ketchikan remains a treasured tourist destination where some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural wonders share center stage with an intriguing and inspiring Native Alaskan culture.
Fun Facts & Tips
The population in Ketchikan is approximately 7,500, making it the 5th most populous city in Alaska.
Ketchikan is named after Ketchikan Creek which flows through the town.
Ketchikan's zip code, 99950, is the highest zip code assigned in the United States.