Ketchikan Shore Excursions
In the 1920s and 1930s Creek Street came alive every night as gold miners and fisherman came to drink and visit the clapboard brothels built haphazardly beside the boardwalk on pilings driven into the creek. Now it's home to boutique shops and tasteful art galleries. One house, though, still recalls those heady years. Dolly's House belonged to Dolly Arthur, a famous madam. Today's it's a museum, packed with memorabilia of her life and times.
In July through August, the salmon run happens, and Ketchikan Creek is full of the magnificent fish. Across from the library, at the end of Creek street, there's a bridge overlooking a waterfall on the creek. Here you'll find a Fish Ladder which helps the fish negotiate the falls, and it's very exciting to watch them leap from pool to pool as they make their way upstream.
Ketchikan Walking Tour
A Ketchikan Walking Tour is a great way to get to know the town. You'll see include many places of interest, each with a fascinating history. Favorite stops include Creek Street, the Fish Ladder, City Park (pictured here), Ketchikan Creek, the Eagle Center, the Fish Hatchery, and the Totem Heritage Center. You can get a map which covers two different tours from the Visitor center by the cruise dock. Remember to bring a waterproof jacket, as Ketchikan is the wettest town in Alaska (the locals even call rain 'liquid sunshine'!).
One great outing for enthusiastic and fit hikers is the climb of Deer Mountain, a steep and challenging hike that starts near the end of Ketchikan Lakes Road. The trail zig-zags up the west side of Deer Mountain, finally reaching the mountain ridge which leads to the summit at just over 3000'. And if you're lucky you'll spot mountain goats, black bears, or sitka deer. The top of the mountain affords spectacular views of Ketchikan and the wild Alaskan interior. The hike's around 5 miles as a roundtrip, so allow at least 4 hours. It's about half-a-mile from Ketchikan cruise port to the trailhead.
Totem Bight State Park
In the early 1900s native Alaskans moved to large towns, in search of employment, deserting their villages and unique totem poles. In 1938 the US Forest Services started a project to reclaim these cultural icons, employing experienced native carvers to refurbish the poles. At Totem Bight State Park you can see the fantastic results of their work, together with a model native village called Mud Bight. The Park is about 8 miles north-west of Ketchikan cruise port, and you either take a cab, or the city bus (which has a stop, very conveniently, just across from the cruise port).
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