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Ketchikan, Alaska Cruise Port

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When you come cruising north to Alaska by cruiseship or Alaska state ferry from Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver or another west coast city, you arrive first in the community which locals call "Alaska's First City." Because that's what it is - your first port of call in the 49th state of the USA.

There's a lot to see and do here. Certainly not least is to visit two large and exceptional totem collections: at Saxman Totem Park a couple of miles south of Ketchikan and at the Totem Bite State Historical Park nearly 10 miles north of downtown. You'll find truly ancient totems on protective display at the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan's beautiful City Park. The center houses 33 authentic totem poles and fragments gathered from abandoned Tlingit and Haida Native island communities. Nearby, visit the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center.

The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, created by the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies, is an absolutely must-see source of historic dynamic exhibits, wildlife displays, Native culture, and even trip-planning services. Probably the most notable excursion from Ketchikan is to nearby Misty Fiords National Monument, accessible by dayboat, floatplane, or combination fly/cruise tours. You can also take a one-day roundtrip state ferry excursion to the nearby Tsimshean Native community of Metlakatla.

Less serious and loads of fun is Alaska's first zipline ride. Operated by Rainforest Canopy Adventures the ride carries whooping and hollering visitors through lush stands of forest suspended by a parachute-like harness from steel cables connecting one tall tree to another.

Fun as well is the community's Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show where, three times daily, skilled woodsmen demonstrate their prowess at the games that loggers play. More Ketchikan information from

Text copyright © 2008 Mike Miller All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

For more Alaska Cruise information, see Alaska Cruising Report.

Updated March 3, 2008. Comments?   Counter CGI