Ketchikan Cruise Hints and Tips:

Totem Bight State ParkKetchikan is a good place to stop and take some time to learn about the native cultural influences and traditions of the area.  A good way to do this is with a visit to the Totem Heritage Center.  This is an interesting little museum within walking distance of the docks, although be forewarned that the walk is uphill.  As of our latest visit, we were pleased to see that you can now take a free shuttle bus up to the Totem Heritage Center!  Ride up, then enjoy the walk down.  Here you will find a collection of 19th century totem poles, along with stories of the peoples and traditions of the area.  

Right across from the Totem Heritage Center is a small Hatchery and Eagle Center.  Here you can learn about salmon spawning, and view a couple captive eagles.  If the fish are running, keep your eyes peeled for eagles scouting out fish in the river. At the Eagle Center, we had the joy of watching a native family crafting a totem pole out of a large red cedar log.

Dude Mountain TrailYou may also wish to visit Totem Bight State Park to view Totem Poles in a picturesque setting  This is a small but very nice park.  You will need transportation to reach this park. You might even enjoy just walking around town, observing the local color.  If the fish are jumping, it can be entertaining to watch those fishing off the bridge in town.  The large Alaskan salmon put up a really good fight, and it's often not clear who's going to win the struggle.  We were impressed by the muscle it took to pull the local salmon in!

On one of our trips, we went for a refreshing autumn walk up Dude Mountain Trail on Brown Mountain.  The walk is vigorous, but the trail is nicely improved with walkways to keep your feet dry.  You will need a car if you wish to hike here.

Misty FiordsA favorite trip for cruisers visiting Ketchikan is to take a flight or float cruise to Misty Fjords National Monument.  Since time in Ketchikan is usually pretty tight, you'll likely need to make plans in advance if you wish to visit Misty Fjords.  If you haven't planned ahead, you can always inquire about the availability of  tours on the day of your visit at the visitors center or check with vendors that have a booth on the dock.  We did this on a recent but rare blue sky day and filled a flight plane.    The expanse and beauty of the pristine landscape of Misty Fjords is a truly unforgettable experience.

 Happy cruising!

-Therese & Reid

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