Orcas Cove

4 Hours

Adults $169/Children 6 - 15 $139

SHOP LOCAL Special! As a thank you for finding us and booking direct with a small, Alaska owned company.  Book Online by 4/30/2014 and get special rates: Adults $159/Children $134.

Kayakers heading out of the Salmon Stream at Orcas Cove

If you imagine Alaska as a place to get away from it all and enjoy the serenity and majesty of the wilderness then Orcas Cove is the tour for you. The 4 Hour Orcas Cove tour is a wilderness kayak and boating adventure with only 6 guests in each group. Our tours are not sold on board any cruise ships which allows independently spirited travelers to escape the crowds in town and enjoy a genuine Alaskan experience.  Exploring the wilderness of Southeast Alaska by small boat and kayak gives a unique perspective on the temperate rainforest ecosystem and the fascinating 20 foot intertidal zone. We never know when the whales, eagles or bears will appear, but spending the whole tour time on the water both traveling by boat to Orcas Cove and kayaking gives us the best chance of seeing Alaska’s wildlife up close.  Sea kayaking in Alaska is a dream for first time and expert sea kayakers alike. Our small groups, friendly expert guides and top quality equipment ensure that the tour is enjoyed by paddlers of all levels. Orcas Cove is the name of the place we paddle, unfortunately we don't see orcas there every day. If you are worried about possibly paddling with orcas, check out our blog post "Kayaking with Orcas."

It was amazing; great scenery, great weather, great guides!!! And the salmon picnic, incredible smoked salmon!!! Would so recommend this trip to anyone heading up North your way! Thank you for the great Alaskan experience!!!!  

Jerilee, 2012

Who Should Take this Tour

No kayaking experience is required and anyone with an adventurous spirit and average physical fitness can participate. All gear including waterproof outerwear and dry bags for cameras is provided. We recommend this tour for families with children age 8 and older or with enough group members for 6 - 7 year olds to paddle in a triple kayak with 2 adults. We can accommodate private groups of up to 12 on this tour, please call or email for trip times. Orcas Cove is great for beginner and experienced paddlers. The Orcas Cove tour can be combined with Misty Fjords Flightseeing for the ultimate Alaskan adventure.  If you are looking for a challenge, check out the Icehouse Cove Kayak and Hike. If 4 hours sounds too long, or you are on a tight budget, check out the Ketchikan Kayaking Tour.

Tour Details

Kayakers head off from the mother-ship at Orcas Cove

Our friendly guides meet guests at the cruise ship dock in the heart of downtown Ketchikan, about a 5 minute walk from our waterfront location. At our floating office guests are outfitted with paddle jackets, pants when needed, and dry bags for cameras. We travel about 20 minutes by boat to our mother-ship at Orca’s Cove. The boat journey gives a great overview of Ketchikan and the surrounding islands. We travel past the Ketchikan Creek, Saxman Totem Park, Mountain Point and across to Orcas Cove where our mother-ship is anchored with our beautiful, fiberglass tandem touring kayaks. Guides give everyone instruction in sea kayaking before helping guests into their kayaks. Once on the water, we have about 2.25 hours paddling time which allows us to set a leisurely pace. The protected shoreline is perfect for sea kayaking with many islands and coves to explore and a 20 foot intertidal zone. Our naturalist guides focus on showing you all there is to see both on shore and in the water. After paddling, we enjoy a snack of the finest locally caught and smoked silver salmon and hot drinks before returning to town by boat. For a more personal experience, our group size is limited to six guests per trip (or private groups of up to 12) and this trip is not sold on board cruise ships.

This was our second adventure with Southeast Sea Kayaks. After a quick, beautiful boat trip to Orca's cove we were quickly in our kayaks and out exploring. These guys do everything right-from the guides to the equipment, everything is top-notch. If you aren't an experienced kayaker don't worry they will help you get comfortable and out paddling really fast. If you are a kayaker this is the company you want to paddle with. If you have the time make sure you do the Orca's cove trip, if not the Ketchikan harbor trip is great too. If you can only do one thing in the Ketch, make sure you book a trip with these guys! 

Lisa A on TripAdvisor

Although we don't see them every day, Orcas are frequent visitors to Orcas Cove.

Orcas Cove Scenery & Wildlife

Orcas Cove is a serene wilderness location, far from the bustle of town and the busy cruise ship docks. The old growth forest presses right down to the shoreline and the intertidal zone of over 20 feet is home to a colorful array of creatures. The combination of a protected location and an interesting shoreline with small islands and rock gardens to explore are what make Orcas Cove such an excellent place to sea kayak. There is a wild salmon stream and several bald eagle nests are active in the area. By it's very nature, we never know what wildlife we will see on any particular day - that's part of the excitement. All of the photographs here on our site were taken by us or our guests on tours so they give a good idea of the variety of wildlife.

Orcas Cove gets its name because it is an area where the resident pods of Orcas are frequently seen during the king and silver salmon runs. Humpback whales, porpoises, seals and sea lions also inhabit these waters and we have observed humpback whales lunge feeding in several locations near Orcas Cove. Along the shore we may see river otters, mink, deer and even occasionally, black bears. Orcas Cove is not a wildlife tour, our focus is safe and fun wilderness sea kayaking but on those days when the wildlife obliges, the tour is truly a once in a lifetime experience

Friendly Guides and a Relaxed Pace

Our guides receive rigorous safety training and are experts at taking first time kayakers of all ages safely on the water in Alaska. They are also great naturalists and will enthusiastically share their love of the land with you. Guides carry binoculars to share with the group but guests may also want to bring their own. We travel at a relaxed pace: the goal is to enjoy the wilderness and explore the shoreline, not to set any speed records. There are many opportunities for photographing the exceptional scenery and wildlife and guides will happily take pictures for you.

Guides love to share their knowledge of the area and the sea stars!

Smoked Salmon Picnic and Hot Drinks

After exploring by kayak, hungry kayakers are welcomed back on board the mother-ship with hot drinks and a picnic of Ketchikan's finest  smoked silver salmon. Our Orcas Cove Select smoked salmon is caught by local fishing vessels and smoked at the Silver Lining Cannery in downtown Ketchikan. Many of our guests tell us that it is the best smoked salmon they have ever tasted!

We went on the Orcas Cove trip, and we had a wonderful time. The views were pristine. We saw a couple of bald eagles, sea stars and a bunch of salmon jumping in the water. The staff was very fun, friendly, and professional. Our guide happily took pictures of us when we asked her to. She also told us some cool stories about Ketchikan, and her adventures living there. The light lunch of salmon, cream cheese and crackers were just perfect after kayaking. 

Annie Cooper on TripAdvisor

How to Book and Cancellation Policies

Because our groups are small, space is extremely limited and advance bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Tours may be reserved online or over the phone at 1-800-287-1607.

We take payment in full at time of booking. Tickets are fully refundable, less a $25 processing fee, if cancelled at least 14 days before the trip date. Cancellations with less than 14 days prior notice are non-refundable. We do offer a full refund in the unlikely event that your Cruise Ship is running too late for your trip to be rescheduled, or if your cruise ship misses port. Southeast Sea Kayaks reserves the right to cancel trips for unsafe conditions (occasionally we have high winds) in which case all money will be refunded in full. Rain is not unsafe - we will dress you for the weather. All participants must sign a waiver, a copy is available on our FAQ page

Orcas Cove is a beautiful wilderness area for kayaking, the scenery is breathtaking in any weather.

Booking for Groups

Kayaking is a great fun activity for groups of family and friends traveling together. We can accommodate up to 12 guests per trip on the Orcas Cove tour and we offer a discount to groups of 10 or more who book together. Please call or email us for available tour times and how to book for groups.

What to Bring and Wear

Kayaking in Southeast Alaska is all about staying warm and dry. We provide all the necessary outerwear and gear so that our guests do not have to bring special clothing or equipment. We ask that you dress in warm, comfortable layers. Paddling jackets and rain pants are provided and most guests will wear our paddle jacket as the outer layer, leaving their own coats in the office. We use spray-skirts on the kayaks to help keep you dry. Sneakers, sport sandals or rubber boots are ideal for foot wear rather than large hiking boots which tend to be too bulky for the kayaks. A baseball cap or brimmed hat is and sunglasses are a great idea on sunny days. Please do not wear high heels which can be dangerous on the docks. Dry bags are provided to protect your camera or video recorder and any other small items you would like to bring on the kayaks with you. We have a safe place where you can store purses and backpacks while you are paddling.

How to Find Us and Trip Timing for Cruise Ship Visitors

Cruise ship visitors will meet us at the on the cruise ship dock (detailed instructions on the ticket.) Visitors staying locally can meet us at the dock or at our store location. If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow 15 minutes from the time your ship docks to your trip's starting time, so if your ship arrives at 7am then you can book a tour that begins at 7:15am or later. Occasionally, we will book tour "on arrival" for ships that have very short times in port. For example, Golden Princess passengers, can book the 7am Orcas Cove tour time and we meet as soon as everyone is off the ship. Please call or email us for details. At the end of the trip please allow 1 hour between your trip's finishing time and the departure time for your cruise ship. For example: the 8am Orcas Cove Tour finishes at 12noon so that trip would work for any ships departing at or after 1pm.

Orcas Cove paddlers heading around Carroll Point.

Looking for More Information?

See our Frequently Asked Questions, read our Top 5 Reasons to take a Southeast Sea Kayaks tour, check out our Blog or learn more About Us. Call Us at 1-800-287-1607. We are open year round and are always happy to answer questions and help you find the right tour