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  #1  
Old May 22nd, 2011, 08:50 AM
dss22 dss22 is offline
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Default Ketchikan on our own

We are a couple in our mid-40's sailing on the Volendam in July (without our kids!)......

We are spending our shore excursion budget on excursions in Juneau and Skagway. We would like to be able to spend our day in Ketchikan on our own.

Do any of you experienced cruisers have suggestions for what we can do in Ketchikan inexpensively and on our own? We like walking and hiking, and pretty much anything else. Any suggestions are most welcome!

Thank you.

Last edited by dss22; May 22nd, 2011 at 08:51 AM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 09:10 AM
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We have done Ketchikan a few times on our own. At the dock (or on the Ketchikan web site, google "walking map") you can certainly hit many of the highlights by walking.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 09:51 AM
Assateague Island Princes Assateague Island Princes is offline
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Or rent a car and see the sights on your own - that is what we're doing. Great use of time in port and getting away from the crowds. You could do the walking tour first, then hop in your car and go. Some nice parks located at the end of the road for hiking and great views. There is also a very inexpensive public bus that will take you out of town to the Totem Parks. Google Ketchikan and order one of their Visitor's brochures for other ideas.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:15 PM
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You can take transit buses to both Totem Bite and Saxman Village. Throw in a walk around town, Creek Street and you have a pretty full day.


http://www.borough.ketchikan.ak.us/bus/info.htm
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Putterdude View Post
You can take transit buses to both Totem Bite and Saxman Village. Throw in a walk around town, Creek Street and you have a pretty full day.


http://www.borough.ketchikan.ak.us/bus/info.htm
I have actually visited Saxman by city bus, but we couldn't go inside any of the buildings to look around and take pictures without paying admission. Wonder if anyone else had this experience? On the other hand, we did get some great photos of totem poles on the outside for no cost at all, other than the bus fare.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando Vic View Post
I have actually visited Saxman by city bus, but we couldn't go inside any of the buildings to look around and take pictures without paying admission. Wonder if anyone else had this experience? On the other hand, we did get some great photos of totem poles on the outside for no cost at all, other than the bus fare.
Yes, it's private property. So if you want to go in and take pictures you have to pay the admission.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 11:29 PM
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You can take a funicular that goes up a hill to a hotel(small fee to ride). There are totems at the top of the hill. You can walk down the hill on the Married Man trail and through Creek Street. There are many stores and historical things to see there.
http://creekstreetketchikan.com/

If you are there at the right time, you can see salmon in the river and on a ladder there.
http://cruises.about.com/od/alaskacr...ikan-Creek.htm

There is also a fish hatchery (small fee to enter). There is also a lumberjack show right in town, and it doesn't seem like it cost a lot for the show.

http://lumberjackshows.com/
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando Vic View Post
I have actually visited Saxman by city bus, but we couldn't go inside any of the buildings to look around and take pictures without paying admission. Wonder if anyone else had this experience? On the other hand, we did get some great photos of totem poles on the outside for no cost at all, other than the bus fare.
Yes you have to pay admission..as I recall it is a couple of dollars p/p but even that doesn't guarantee you admission to the longhouse or the carvers' shed/studio.
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  #9  
Old May 23rd, 2011, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Do any of you experienced cruisers have suggestions for what we can do in Ketchikan inexpensively and on our own? We like walking and hiking, and pretty much anything else.
Ketchikan is a great walking town. You can start at your cruise ship and do a great 'downtown loop' that is only about 2-3 miles, seeing most of the downtown area. There is a downloadable/printable Walking Tour Map here that you can check out before you arrive.

As Marie321 mentioned, you can see Creek Street, the Salmon Ladder, walk to City Park and if you're interested, can go inside the Totem Heritage Center ($5/ea) or the Fish Hatchery & Eagle Rehabilitation Center ($12/ea) or there is a combo ticket for $15 for both of them.

There are a couple great hiking opportunities, within a mile or two from downtown. The Deer Mountain Trail begins from near City Park, though up a fairly steep road that will definitely get your blood pumping. The trail is a medium difficult one, with a large elevation gain before you get stunning panoramic views at the 1 mile mark. But it's so worth it!!! You're walking through the rainforest which is also gorgeous. The road to get to the trailhead is steep & long, I would suggest a cab ride to the trailhead.

The 2nd is my personal favorite - Carlanna Lake Road Trail, located in the main section of town more, definitely a cab ride required. But you start out on a short (5-10 minutes) steep logging road and then crest to a gorgeous lake that is surrounded by rainforest & mountains. It's absolutely gorgeous.

Or, if you wish to rent a car, like Assateague Island Princes suggested, your options open wide up to get out of town & really experience the town. I would highly suggest going to Ward Lake Trail, an easy, level path that walks around a lake about 6 miles outside of town.

I think if you're in Ketchikan, you MUST see at least one of the Totem Pole Parks in town (there are 3!) Totem Bight State Historic Park & Potlatch Park are located on the North End of town, accessible by the public transit system (bus) for $2/person round trip. The NEW bus schedule just came out this weekend. Click here... Both parks are free of charge and you are welcome inside Carving Shed & Clan Houses. If you're going to Totem Bight, be sure & download & print the map & descriptions on the Totem Poles, located here.

Saxman Native Village is on the South end of town and is also accessible by the bus. While the totem pole viewing is free, as Orlando Vic said, you cannot access any of the buildings or Carving shed without paying admission, which is less than $5. If you're going there, be sure & download & print the map & descriptions on the Totem Poles, located here.

Oh! And if you're not into jumping on a bus to go to the Totem Poles, you can also see a great showing of poles in the downtown area, or also up at Cape Fox Lodge (which also has some great native artifacts). All of those are free too!

Since you're coming in July, you'll be able to see the hordes of Salmon swimming up Ketchikan Creek, and jumping around in Thomas Basin Marina, a very picturesque area in town.

Enjoy!
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:28 PM
RoupMom RoupMom is offline
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I'm not sure how it will work out, but our plan this year is to do the walking tour. I actually downloaded a 31-stop tour (from the Ketchikan web site, if I reacall) that we intend to use on my iPod with a "y" jack. We'll probably skip some, but it seems that there is narration describing everything. Maybe rditton knows about this? If so, I hope it's good. It was $25 to download.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:45 PM
ccookwood ccookwood is offline
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sounds interesting, do you know where you found it?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 07:21 PM
RoupMom RoupMom is offline
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It is on the visit-Ketchikan.com web site in an ad at the bottom. I figure the iPod eliminates the need for carrying a tour book along. They say there is an average of 4 minutes of commentary at each stop, so we wouldn't want to spend that much time total probably, but we can pick and choose easily, skipping ahead when desired. I'll get one of the walking tour maps, also.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 09:14 PM
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Thanks Rditton, great suggestions
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 09:53 PM
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After our "discussion" I went ahead and uploaded the walking tour audio guide to my iPod and checked it out. It corresponds to the walking tour from the visitors center listed by rditton (I ditto my thanks for your info), and we will pick up the map. The audio tour gives interesting historical and current info on the sites, and there are several narrators to keep it interesting. There is also nice music in the background. It does NOT give directions, so the map would be essential.
Just an aside from our previous trip: do stop at the Tongass Forest Museum adjacent to the library. It is very informative. There are vignettes by each of the federal agencies involved, such as forestry, fisheries, mining, etc. and really gives a lot of background. We are eager to see it again.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Thank you for all of the wonderful links rditton!! My family and I will be traveling to AK in a few short weeks. We are traveling with Disney as we will have our three small children with us. Anything we should avoid that is not kid friendly?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:48 PM
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Yep, RoupMom, you're correct. It correlates directly to the Walking Tour Map that is given free at the Ketchikan Visitor's Bureau. The audio can be downloaded from this site:

http://adventureaudiotours.com/

I learned a lot when I listened to it! :-) As you said, since there's parts you'll skip or even listen to as you walk to the next spot but you can get a good feel of the spots you really want to know about and just skip to those! :-)

You mention the Tongass Museum. I think the spot you're talking about is actually the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. It is about a block and a 1/2 from the Library and is just as you describe - full of information about all of the industry from the area & details of the rainforest, some totem poles, info on the Alaska Natives, info on the goodies in the ocean & streams, etc. It's a great spot in town with tons of information. I believe it's $5/person for admission.

The Museum inside the Library is also good - with lots of historic photographs. Fascinating information.

Enjoy!
Rene
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
We are traveling with Disney as we will have our three small children with us. Anything we should avoid that is not kid friendly?
Nothing to avoid, even the old red light district that has 'Dolly's House' - I wouldn't say is not kid-friendly. It's interesting and maybe not your top stop but not to avoid. It's all interesting & fascinating.

Enjoy!
Rene
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We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams, and we know by morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams. A calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, for ships are safe at harbor, but that's not what ships are for. - Michael Lille
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Old May 24th, 2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dss22 View Post
We are a couple in our mid-40's sailing on the Volendam in July (without our kids!)......

We are spending our shore excursion budget on excursions in Juneau and Skagway. We would like to be able to spend our day in Ketchikan on our own.

Do any of you experienced cruisers have suggestions for what we can do in Ketchikan inexpensively and on our own? We like walking and hiking, and pretty much anything else. Any suggestions are most welcome!

Thank you.
We just got off the Sapphire (2 couples in mid fifties). It was our 1st cruise. We went to the visitors center next to the docks. You can buy an all day bus pass for $2. Took the blue line to Totem Bight, which was awesome. Came back & took the red line to Saxman, which was terrible! What a waste. Don't waste your time or ...okay, it was only $5, but don't waste your time. I would rather have spent that time in town. Have fun
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Old May 25th, 2011, 08:33 PM
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Default Thank you!

WOW! Thanks everyone for all of the great ideas! This board has been SO helpful in our planning.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 06:48 PM
CRUISENAV8R CRUISENAV8R is offline
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Default 2 to Go

Thanks for the great info. 2 more ports to go!
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