Alaska's First City! Welcome to Ketchikan, Alaska!

Ketchikan, Alaska is Alaska’s First City with first-class attractions and tremendous wildlife sightseeing opportunities. During your private charter fishing trip, learn more about our intriguing history and culture.

This quaint and artistically vibrant town features the thundering wings of eagles overhead, historic Creek Street, the largest collection of Native totem poles in the world, whales leaping from the ocean and more wildlife than one can imagine.  One bear cub even visited the produce section of Tatsuda's recently, a local Ketchikan grocery store founded in the frontier days!  

 Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island and its name comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, which has been claimed to mean "Thundering Wings of an Eagle".  

Learn more about our beautiful town, its colorful past, native culture, and more!

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Alaska’s First City Founded August 25, 1900

Situated on southwestern Revillagigedo Island which is part of the Alexander Archipelago – established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, Ketchikan is 235 air miles south of Juneau, and 680 air miles north of Seattle, Washington. 

Ketchikan is commonly referred to as Alaska’s “First City” due to it being the first major port of entry traveling north through the Inside Passage – a collection of coastal islands carved out by the force of massive ancient glaciers millions of years ago.

Also known as the Salmon Capital of the World, the City of Ketchikan is nestled amongst the grandiose Tongass National Forest – the nation’s largest, measuring almost 17 million acres in size. 

The most common species of conifers that inhabit this lush temperate rainforest include the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) at 70%, and the Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) also Alaska’s state tree covering nearly 20% of the countryside. 

Ketchikan’s year-round temperature comes in at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit and also receives an average of 141 inches (That's nearly twelve feet!) of precipitation annually. As of 2017 and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the residential population of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough was recorded at just under 14,000 residents. 

The four major industries that built Ketchikan were mining, fishing, timber and tourism. Today, tourism leads the race and is the primary focus for this quaint municipality which anticipates welcoming approximately 1.3 million cruise ship passengers in 2019. 

Around the early 1880s, commercial fishermen and business prospectors began to arrive in Ketchikan seeking opportunities considering the abundant salmon streams in the region.  It’s been said that a gentleman from Oregon by the name of Snow was the first to erect a short-lived salmon saltery near the creek. 

Then in 1885 a local legend, Mike Martin also from Oregon eventually purchased 160 acres at the mouth of Ketchikan Creek from a Native named Papernose Charlie.  Learn more about Ketchikan’s history, art, music, Native cultures, and its early days by reading the following articles written by local Historian, Dave Kiffer.

The Ketchikan Story Project

"An Incredibly Informative Film!"

No other town in Alaska boasts an Emmy Award-winning film series. Then, no other town in Alaska is quite like Ketchikan. The Ketchikan Story Project chronicles the life and times of Alaska’s First City—from its rough-and-tumble past to the adventurer’s mecca it is today. 

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