In the southernmost reaches of Southeast Alaska, a captivating, complex natural system of land forms covers 2.1 million acres, the largest wilderness in Alaska's National Forests. Located on the Tongass National Forest, this rugged land offers rich and fertile marine and freshwater environments and mountainous and coastal ecosystems that reveal thousands of years of nature's forces.
Captain George Vancouver, while exploring the area in 1793, named several places and features such as Rudyerd Bay, Walker Cove, and New Eddystone Rock.
This event takes place mid-August and includes an arts & crafts show, singers and musicians. The highlight is several food stands that serve up blueberries in a wide variety of dishes.
Check out the visitor's bureau for trail maps and advice. If you want a challenging hike try the hike from downtown to the top of 3,300-ft. Deer Mountain. You will be awarded with a spectacular view of Ketchikan and the pristine wilderness surrounding the town.
4th of July Celebrations
This special event includes a parade, contests, a logging show and a lively fireworks display over the channel.
The best way to see Ketchikan is by foot, with a three-hour, 2 mile walk around the town. You can pick up a free walking tour map at the visitor bureau, a brown building on the city dock. The map includes 25 points of interest within easy walking distance of downtown area.
You may rent kayaks and canoes for a self-propelled spin up the creek or book a tour through our shore excursions department.
How about ziplining, fishing or soaring high above on a flightseeing tour? Make sure to take a look at our shore excursions in Ketchikan.
Wildlife sightings are common , everyday occurrences. Throughout the region, black bears are very common as are the grizzly or brown bears in mainland areas. Bald eagles are also in abundance and if you don't see one, then chances are, you aren't really trying! These majestic birds are easy to spot, perched as they are in shoreline trees, near salmon spawning streams and in their nesting areas. Don't be surprised if, upon seeing a Sitka black-tailed deer on the beach and along roadsides and trails, they actually seem to be posing for the camera. Other wildlife you may encounter are mountain goats, wolves and moose. You will probably also see humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, porpoises and a large variety of sea birds.
Other than in a few places where evidence of Tlingit and Haida societies and of early American occupation can be found, there are few marks of humanity apparent to the casual visitor in Misty Fjords. Many of the geographic names of the area are from Tlingit and Haida native names. Some are from early explorers from Russia, Spain, America and Britain. Many places were named by Captain George Vancouver who also named many of the special features of the fjords. The Tlingits who originally inhabited Tongass Island called the island "Kut-tuk-wah."
The magnificent landscape at Misty Fjords National Monument was fashioned by thousands of years of glaciation and other earth processes. The one-of-a-kind features of Misty Fjords were created by moving snow and ice, volcanoes, and wave action.
The hills and mountains of Misty Fjords were much higher before the beginning of the glaciation period. The mountains, although fairly rugged, were only eroded by wind and water. Rivers and streams flowing through the mountains created V-shaped valleys. These valleys would later be deepened and widened by glaciers. Convincing evidence that massive glaciers carved and altered the pre-existing landscape are the sheer, polished cliffs, sculpted shorelines and labyrinthine waterways. During the last major ice age, known as the Pleistocene era -between about 2 million and 10,000 years ago - the most extensive period of glaciation at Misty Fjords probably took place.
The climate of the earth gradually became warmer about 10,000 years ago and the massive ice sheets which once covered the Monument began to melt and pull back. They became increasingly confined to the higher alpine plateaus and valleys.