Founded as a salmon cannery site in 1885, Ketchikan’s livelihood was initially fishing. For years the city was known as the “Canned Salmon Capital of the World.” Logging became an important industry later on, and when cruise ships started plying the waters of the Inside Passage, Ketchikan naturally became a popular port of call.
The downtown area is the main commercial district and contains two large harbors, several cruise ship docks, and many of Ketchikan’s main attractions, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk road built over Ketchikan Creek on pilings. The city center is best viewed from Ketchikan’s Waterfront Promenade that skirts the busy shoreline. It is equipped with historical markers and whale-tail benches for visitors to rest and take in the view.
The road system extends both north and south of the city and leads to more parks, attractions and accommodations. Rivers often depart the Alaska Marine Highway and head north to a handful of campgrounds including Settlers Cove State Recreation Area at the end of the road, 18 miles north of Ketchikan, where the sites are nestled among a lush rainforest overlooking a scenic coastal area. To the south, South Tongass Avenue leads to totems and hiking trails.
While the others ventured the shops around the promenade, we took the kids to a more adventurous route. What better way to learn and enjoy Alaska’s most natural surroundings – Ziplining and swinging through the Forests. This was the highlight of our vacation!