Ketchikan, Alaska


To kick off my Alaska cruise port reviews here are a few facts about the USA’s 49th state:

  • At 6,190 m the highest peak of North America, Mount McKinley is in Alaska.
  • 52% of all US earthquakes are in Alaska
  • Alaska has 100,000 glaciers and 29 volcanos.
  • There are more than 100,000 brown (grizzly), black and polar bears in Alaska.
  • The capital of Alaska is Juneau


From leaving Seattle late Saturday afternoon, then spending Sunday on the ship ‘at sea’ as we travelled north towards Alaska, Ketchikan was my first port of call on Monday morning.

The Norwegian Jewel docked directly at the port and without the need for tender boats (in fact, none of the Alaskan ports required tender boats which was great as docking directly at the port makes on-shore exploring far easier).

Ketchikan has a population of around 8,000 and with a climate similar to Northern Ireland or Scotland and with even more rain, it is considered to be the rain capital of Alaska! And it didn’t disappoint when I visited!

I had no excursions booked so, using Google maps to plan a route of approximately 5 miles, I decided to walk around the town by myself… in the rain…

Creek Street

I began by making my way towards Creek Street with its colourful wooden buildings. Creek Street is actually a boardwalk where the shops and cafes are built over the water using wooden pilings. This was built in such a way as apparently it was too difficult to blast the rocks to build a street!

Despite the rain, I enjoyed making my way along the boardwalk and past the gift shops and coffee shops. And many cruise passengers…

Before long I came to the Totem Pole Heritage Centre which has a small admission charge. This centre contains a large selection of totem poles to enable the visitor to develop a greater understanding of the local cultural heritage as represented by these carved wooden poles.

Deciding to walk on past the totem pole centre, and along next to a crystal clear stream, I next came to a small quiet park. By now there was hardly anyone around… my fellow cruise passengers seemed to have remained congregated around Creek Street and its coffee shops.


There are a few marked trails in and around Ketchikan however rather than exploring a trail by myself I decided to stick to the main town. After wandering around the park for a bit I walked back towards the town and along the harbour.

As well as being the rain capital of Alaska, according to website Ketchikan also boasts of being the salmon capital of the world. The salmon season is from mid May to mid August and several salmon fishing trips are available. Unsurprisingly, there are also many shops selling fresh salmon!

I made my way along for harbour for half a mile or so before returning to the ship. A post on Tuesday’s visit to Juneau and the Mendenhall Glacier is up next!




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