For visitors cruising into Alaska on the ferry from Bellingham, Washington, Ketchikan is the first Alaskan port of call. A quaint fishing village stretching along the edge of the Tongass Narrows in the southeastern part of the state, Ketchikan has more to offer the interested traveler than just canneries, cute tourist shops and totem poles. Alaska's fourth largest 'city' is cloaked by the Tongass National Forest and regularly doused with rain.
Hikers can still enjoy the beauty of numerous rainforest trails and vistas around Ketchikan with good gortex gear. Nearly a hundred wilderness cabins in the TNF are accessible from Ketchikan, as is Misty Fiords National Monument, a national forest wilderness that ranges from rain forest to glaciers, fjords to mountains.
Experienced kayakers can reach the Misty Fiords from Ketchikan, but guided tours are available for the less confident paddler.
Once known as the 'Salmon Capital of the World', charter fishing tours are on offer in Ketchikan. You can also rent a pole and cast a line from the bridge off Creek Street (the only through road in town), for Salmon or Halibut.
Scenic flights are a safe way to explore the region's diverse mammalian wildlife, though first-hand encounters on the trail are not uncommon. The sole Indian Reservation in the state on nearby Annette Island, Metlakatla, offers cultural tours, hiking and biking.
Ketchikan is located 90 miles north of Prince Rupert, Canada, on the Alaska Marine Highway.