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collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

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Mons, Belgium
posts: 89
reviews: 13
collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

In preparation for a 1-day (via cruise ship) visit to Ketchikan I've read most posts in this forum. Below is a collection of many of the suggestions for a do-it-yourself day in Ketchikan. Thanks to everyone who made such great suggestions--sorry I did not credit any of the sources.


Totem Bight State Park


Getting there without a car

• Walk to the Tunnel on Front St. (about 5 minute walk-you could see the tunnel from the ship dock--across from the eagle totem) and catch the local city bus (Blue Line Bus Northbound). Departure hourly –45 after the hour. The bus will take you all the way out to Totem Bight State Park about 12 miles and stops right in front of the Park office (this is also the same route that stops at Walmart). At Totem Bight pick up their brochure for an explanation of the totem poles ($1 donation). Self-guided tour can be done in an hour. Return to Ketchikan on the Blue Line Southbound bus (again right in front of park office) and get off by Ketchikan Visitors Center. Departure is hourly –15 minutes after the hour. Round trip can be done in about 2 hours. Cost: $2 pp/roundtrip or $1 each way (1/2 price for seniors).

• www. dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/totempol.com

• Website for the public transport system is: borough.ketchikan.ak.us/works/bus_info.htm Check the blue line route. It leaves hourly from several locations in town

 Saxman Totem Village

 Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center

• Walking distance from cruise port (follow the salmon stream!)

Totem Heritage Center


• Next door to Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center

The Tongass Historical Museum

• $2.

 Discovery Center

• Run by the Forest Department

• Full of information/displays/interactive exhibits on the natural history and various cultures of the area, and it gets great reviews. I think admission is about eight bucks.


• website for the local arts council where you can check to see if there are any local festivals or shows

 Lumberjack show


• 1 hour 15 minutes

• book at website

• $34 + tax

 Walking Tours

• tour maps available at the dock visitor center.

• A nice route to consider is to walk to Creek St. then take the funicular up to the Fox Lodge- beautiful set of totems out the back, then walk back down the "married man's trail" end up on Park, turn right, follow the creek, detour to the salmon ladder if of interest and salmon running. Turn right toward the Hatchery and Totem Heritage Museum, cheap combo tickets available - if of interest. Continue through the city park and then a right down Deermount. Nice look at residential life. At the end turn right, now at the end of Creek St. Dolly's House is a fun tour to consider.

 Horse-Drawn Trolley

• 90 minutes, $30

Duck Tour

 Walk around Ward Lake

• Take a cab out to Ward Lake....about $10 and enjoy the most beautiful one mile circular, flat walk in Alaska.. Everyone in our family does it from 4 years old to 85 with little effort. There are many places to sit around the lake and a beautiful beach/picnic area. Arrange with the cab to pick you up an hour later and take you back to town for lunch at the relaxing and beautiful Cape Fox Lodge. In the afternoon, don't miss the film at the Discovery Center, or a cup of coffee at Luna's across the street. The library has a gorgeous view of the creek and is a fun place to browse nearby.

Cadiz, Kentucky
posts: 1,469
reviews: 122
1. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

You missed what I consider the top attraction from Ketchikan - flight over Misty Fjords with a lake landing. It was definitely one of the highlights of our 3 weeks in AK.

posts: 2,748
reviews: 1
2. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

Thanks Saab Fan and the behind the curtain people she thanked. Great list. I put it in my Inside Passage trip folder for next year's trip.

New York
posts: 1,014
reviews: 42
3. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

You have quoted me above, but with the Ward Lake, it is better to have a car, and then also include the Preserverence Trail. Depending on port time, then drive to Totem Bight for a look, if of interest. Then a last minute stop at Walmart, offers some cheap souveniers, my coworkers always expect Alaska Jack Bars. :)

I agree, Misty Fjords flightseeing is fantastic, and so are the bear watch tours, in season.

posts: 2,748
reviews: 1
4. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

And thank you also Budgetqueen!

Ketchikan, Alaska
posts: 20
reviews: 3
5. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

I heartily agree with Budgetqueen, except that Perseverance trail is not for the faint of heart - or the out of shape! It is gorgeous - but it is also almost entirely composed of wooden stairs, barely clinging to the side of the mountain, which I have sometimes happened upon in terrible states of decay. I don't suggest that trail for anyone on a strict schedule or who is not prepared should they encounter an injury on the trail.

On the other hand, the Ward Creek trail in the same area is lovely and much safer, very well maintained; the Connell Lake Trail, which is a mile or two further up the road, offers in my opinion some of the most beautiful, lush forests, berry patches, wild lake views full of drift wood, etc. and is a much easier and better maintained trail than perseverance. I definitely think it would be a safer and more rewarding outing for a day visitor, and in my opinion the Ward Lake trail is nothing to it. The only drawback is that it is not a circular trail.

Also, no matter what trail someone choses, if they walk a trail in Ketchikan, they'd better be prepared for water and mud underfoot! Just a reminder, but an important one.

Mons, Belgium
posts: 89
reviews: 13
6. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

Thanks for all the additional suggestions and comments. I really love these boards. Everyone is so helpfull and I've never been "flamed".

If we're going to opt out of something it will be a walk/hike. My dad is 77 and has knee problems. If time permits my husband and I will take a walk/hike on our own. We live in Belgium so we are used to wet!

I think we have settled on...Lumberjack Show + either Horse Trolley or Duck Tour for my parents. We also must learn what we can about totem carving (of prime interest to my artist husband).

I have a feeling this will not be out last visit!

Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,274
reviews: 24
7. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

Thanks for the great list. I have a pretty extensive list of Alaska info and added that to it.

>>I really love these boards. Everyone is so helpfull and I've never been "flamed".

So true. I left another message board that emphasizes cruises partly for that reason, partly because the moderators are so less accommodating (their ideas of how a message board should be run are skewed). TA is so refreshing!


Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 60
reviews: 29
8. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

Saabfan - thanks so much for compiling that terrific list, which has helped me alot to plan my short day in Ketchican. We'll be with my 8 year old, so I am thinking about the lumberjack show and the horse-drawn trolley as well.

Anyone out there that has taken the Duck Tour - can you tell me what you thought as is it worth it (from the view of an 8 year old!)? Thanks.

Destination Expert
for Ketchikan
posts: 1,895
reviews: 40
9. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

I've taken the Ketchkan duck tour with an entire class of seven year olds and they were enchanted. It's your typical duck experience if my rides in DC and Seattle are comparable. A nice tour of town and harbor with lots of corny jokes thrown in for free. Kids love it!

Florida City...
posts: 14
reviews: 3
10. Re: collection of ideas for 1 day do-it-yourself in Ketchikan

This is a great thread! Can anyone tell me if there is a city bus that goes out the way of Connell Lake or Ward Lake Trails?