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Ketchikan is renowned for its unspoiled beauty and fascinating history. The character and charm of a rugged frontier town is preserved here. Reportedly, due to the abundance of eagles in the area, the city name was derived from the Native term “Katch Kanna” which loosely translates to “spread wings of a thundering eagle.”
The town is the southern-most city in Alaska. It is located on the southwest shore of Revillagigedo Island on the Tongess Narrows at the base of 3,000-foot Deer Mountain. The community is accessible only by air and sea. The town’s picturesque harbor is the lifeblood of this narrow city. Most of this historic community is built along the waterfront with many businesses and homes suspended above the water on wooden pilings. Creek Street, a suspended boardwalk of colorful houses, was the famed red-light district for half a century. During its heyday, it was the hub for up to 30 brothels.
The Tlingit were the area’s first inhabitants using the banks of Ketchikan Creek as a summer fish camp. In 1885, the first salmon cannery was established, immigrants arrived and a flourishing fishing trade began. Just before the turn of the 20th century, gold discoveries brought vast numbers of miners and spurred the commercial fishing and lumber industries. By the 1930’s the town was fondly referred to as the “salmon-canning capital of the world.” Today, the salmon fishing remains outstanding making it a destination of choice for professional and amateur fishermen the world over.
Ketchikan takes pride in its native roots and is famous for its colorful totem poles. The town possesses the largest collection of 19th-century totem poles in the world. Towering totems celebrating the various tribes indigenous to the area greet you throughout the city. There are 3 totem pole parks in the region brimming with inspiring Native culture, Totem Heritage Center, Saxman Totem Park and Totem Bight State Park.
Nearby is the beautiful 2.2 million acre wilderness, Misty Fjords National Monument. A place full of majestic scenery; rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, rushing waterfalls, lakes and wondrous wildlife. It’s a nature lover’s paradise.
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The best way to explore the city is on foot. When you disembark your ship stop at the Visitor Bureau on the City Dock and pick up a walking tour map. There are many eclectic shops offering unique arts & crafts, jewelry and other specialty items that are locally hand-made. A wide array of outdoor sports and activities are offered as well; great trails for hiking and exploring, world-class fishing on your own or with a charter, rainforest adventures, flightseeing tours and much, much more.
Ketchikan truly is a destination to treasure.
During the summer months, the average temperature high is approximately 60 F°; the average low is 45 F°. Annual precipitation is heavy, averaging more than 13 feet.
Ships dock along the downtown waterfront. You can simply walk off your ship and start shopping or sightseeing.
If there are multiple ships in port you may be tendered from the ship. The tenders will drop you off right downtown.
What time is it?
Ketchikan is located in the Alaska Time Zone.
- Standard Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -9 hours.
- Daylight Saving Time difference compared to UTC/GMT is -8 hours.
- Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October.
As part of the continental United States, English is universally spoken.
How To Pay
U.S. currency is used and accepted, as are all major credit cards. Sales tax is 6% in city limits, 2.5% outside.
Where's The Money
An ATM is available at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 306 Main St.
Staying In Touch
The Post Office is at 422 Mission St., two blocks from the cruise ship dock.
Internet Access is available through Seaport Cyber located at 5 Salmon Landing on the second floor near the pier.
Just In Case
Hospital - The Ketchikan General Hospital is located at 3100 Tongass Ave. and can be reached at (907) 225-5171.
Police - For nonemergency business, call (907) 225-6631.
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