Alaska’s Inside Passage is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. The small fishing village of Ketchikan, Alaska is often considered to be the gateway to the Inside Passage—a coastal region that is celebrated for its picturesque islands and fjords. The town of Ketchikan is home to authentic Native American totem poles with deep cultural significance, buildings that hover above the water on wooden pilings, and salmon galore.
Creek Street is one of Ketchikan’s most celebrated attractions. Creek Street’s vintage wooden boardwalk offers visitors a phenomenal view of countless salmon swimming upstream towards a thundering waterfall to spawn. Ketchikan is home to 5 different types of salmon and is often dubbed the salmon capital of the world.
If you visit from mid-July through mid-September, you are guaranteed to see a plethora of salmon energetically swimming upstream.
Creek Street is also home to a brothel museum called Dolly’s House that commemorates the town’s most infamous madam, a shop that rents fishing equipment, and a handful of boutique shops and restaurants that serve delectable fresh seafood. Please keep in mind that if you’re interested in fishing you will need to purchase a fishing license. The friendly folks at the tackle shop on Creek Street will be happy to sell you a license at an affordable price.
In addition to a long history of commercial fishing and canning, Ketchikan also has a rich Native American history. The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest created a series of totem poles featuring various animals that tell the ancestral stories of their people. Many of the Tlingit totem poles were abandoned in the forest surrounding Ketchikan in the early 1900s when the Tlingit people migrated to other areas to find work.
In 1938, one of the alphabet agencies created during the Great Depression to solve the unemployment crisis hired Tlingit people to restore the area’s totem poles. Totem Bight State Historical Park is home to a Clan House which once housed a large extended Tlingit family and a collection of carefully restored totem poles that tell the story of the Tlingit people and the land that they lived on. Several of the park’s totem poles are scattered throughout a scenic rainforest which is home to swooping eagles.