Ketchikan is the southernmost port on the Inside Passage. Tongass National Forest surrounds the city, bald eagles perch in its trees, and thousands of salmon run up the river to spawn. It rains a lot here, though lightly in summertime. May to September offers many days to kayak and hike under blue Alaskan skies, or zipline over the forest canopy.
Ketchikan is known for its remarkable collections of totem poles--discover them in the Saxman Native Village and at Totem Heritage Center. You can see 3,000-foot Deer Mountain from downtown, and climb it for a fantastic view. Stroll along the Creek Street boardwalk, which was a raucous red-light district a hundred years ago, then a row of speakeasies during Prohibition. The preserved buildings now welcome you as galleries and art shops.
Misty Fjords National Monument just east of Ketchikan is 2.3 million acres of glacier-carved wilderness. Kayaking there takes you past fjords, native rock art painted on cliff walls, and sightings of whales, sea lions, and bears.
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