Ketchikan Kayaking 2.25 hour Tour

Kayakers in historic Thomas Basin in downtown Ketchikan, Alaska

Southeast Sea Kayaks began the Ketchikan Kayaking tour over 20 years ago and we still love sharing our beautiful town and the surrounding islands with visitors on this fun 2.25 hour adventure. Never kayaked before? No worries, our fun and friendly guides will teach you the basics and ensure your safety. The Ketchikan Kayak tour is not sold on board cruise ships and, with a maximum of 10 guests per tour, (unless you have a private group) it's one of the best value excursions in Alaska.

Duration: 2.25 Hours

Price: $93 Adults/$63 Children (6 - 15 yrs)

Tour Highlights

  • See Ketchikan’s historic district and the surrounding islands by kayak

  • Watch for eagles, seals and salmon

  • 2 hours sea kayaking with friendly and knowledgeable guides

  • Maximum of 10 guests per group (or private groups of up to 18)

What’s Included

  • Meeting on the cruise ship dock

  • Waterproof paddle jackets and pants

  • Dry bags for cameras and binoculars

What to wear and bring

Kayaking with you was one of the biggest highlights of our trip. We had no idea how beautiful the water life (starfish, pacific sun stars) could be. Your wonderful hospitality and great company were deeply appreciated.
— Pat and Wally, PA
  • Warm, comfortable layers

  • Hat or cap and sunglasses

  • Camera and binoculars

How to Book

To book the Ketchikan Kayaking tour please go to our online booking system or call us at 1-800-287-1607.  Please book early, our tours fill quickly, especially in July and August. We do take payment in full at time of booking, however you may cancel anytime outside of 14 days. Learn about our booking and cancellation policies here

Timing for Cruise Ship Visitors

If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow at least 15 minutes from the time your ship docks to your trip's starting time and allow 1 hour between your trip's finishing time and the departure time for your cruise ship. Don’t worry! In over 20 years no one on our tours has ever missed their ship and if you accidentally book a tour time that doesn’t work for your ship we'll let you know and arrange a time that works.

Ketchikan Kayaking Tour Details

Meet your guide on cruise ship dock in the heart of downtown Ketchikan and walk about 3 minutes to our floating office. No bus or van rides required. At our office you'll be outfitted for kayaking in Alaska. A little rain never bothers us, we provide waterproof jackets with hoods and neoprene wrist closures that are specially designed for paddling; rain pants, when needed; and we use spray skirts on the kayaks to help keep everyone dry.  We also have dry bags for cameras and personal items that you want to bring with you on the kayaks and a place to store your extra gear.

Great Guides and Quality Equipment

Kayak the Ketchikan Creek which is a historic district and active salmon stream and learn about Ketchikan's colorful past.

Southeast Sea Kayaks made our first adventure in Alaska an amazing experience. We paddled out into the Creek Street tide water among the jumping Salmon while a harbor seal swam alongside. We then turned and crossed the channel paddling around the point of the island seeing bald eagles and many other birds and sea stars. Our guide was great.
— Molly S on TripAdvisor

The Ketchikan Kayaking tour is a great choice for novice or first time kayakers. Over the years we have safely introduced hundreds of visitors to sea kayaking in Alaska. Our secret? Great guides and top quality equipment. Our guides are rigorously trained and have your safety as their top priority. Before we depart the dock guides give a safety briefing, share tips on paddling technique and help you into the kayaks. We use stable fiberglass double sea kayaks and also have several triple kayaks that work well for families with younger kids. Your guides will help decide the best way to team up the group and if there is an odd number of guests the guide will paddle in a double too. Our touring sea kayaks have rudders to help steer the kayak and are long enough that you don't have to co-ordinate paddle-strokes with your partner - which helps to make for happy paddlers.

Kayakers catch great views of the town of Ketchikan, Deer Mountain and the cruise ships at the dock in Ketchikan.

Kayakers catch great views of the town of Ketchikan, Deer Mountain and the cruise ships at the dock in Ketchikan.

Kayak the Ketchikan Creek

Sea kayaking is a fabulous way to experience Ketchikan's famous Creek Street Historic District. When the tide is right you can paddle right under the red bridge and into the creek. The charming wooden houses on stilts have changed little since the 1920s when Creek Street was a bustling red light district. Kayak where bootleggers once passed their wares through secret trapdoors in the floors of the houses and Ketchikan's "Sporting Women" ran a busy trade. Ketchikan Creek is also an active salmon stream with all 5 species of Pacific salmon running at different times throughout the summer. In July, August and September the salmon swim around our kayaks and we frequently see harbor seals or river otters pursuing a salmon snack.

Thomas Basin Boat Harbor

As we head out of the Ketchikan Creek we pass through historic Thomas Basin, Ketchikan's oldest boat harbor, and home to sailboats, pleasure boats, tugs and working fishing vessels. Ketchikan is a busy salmon fishing port. In addition to the local fishing boats, many Bering Sea Crabbers spend their summers here tendering for the salmon canneries. Keep an eye out for fishing crews mending their nets or some of the infamous "Deadliest Catch" boats bringing salmon back to port.

Cross the Tongass Narrows

From Thomas Basin we kayak across the East Channel of the Tongass Narrows to Pennock Island and head away from town. The Tongass Narrows are part of the true Inside Passage that extends from Puget Sound to Skagway, Alaska. Although we're kayaking on the Pacific Ocean the water is protected by islands and mountains so we don't get big waves. The paddle north has great views of the town of Ketchikan, which is nestled beneath the 3001 foot peak of Deer Mountain, and the cruise ships at the dock. Ketchikan was home to some of the earliest float-planes and they remain an important part of Alaskan island life. Kayakers often see float-planes taking off for the mail run to outlying communities or to the Misty Fjords. 

Explore Pennock Island and Snow's Cove

It's amazing how quickly the bustle of town recedes as we head along the shore of Pennock island. There are no roads connecting Ketchikan to the mainland or the nearby islands so residents commute by boat to town. The island has a rich history. Learn why the Tlingits and early settlers buried their dead on Pennock Island and see where rum runners dropped their cache before the midnight run to Creek Street. Round the point and head into Snow's Cove where you'll have a chance to take a break, explore the tidal zone and capture photos.

Tidal Creatures and Wildlife

Along the shore of Pennock Island, there are several active Bald Eagle’s nests and we are often fortunate to see eagles perched in trees or swooping to the water to catch a fish. The 20 foot tide zone along the island shoreline is home to an amazing variety of creatures. At low tide, brilliantly colored starfish, sun stars and sea cucumbers are visible beneath the kayaks in the crystal clear water. At high tide, we can paddle right alongside the rainforest shore and learn about the unique ecosystem of the Tongass National Forest. Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons feed along the shore and mischievous ravens are ever present. Although there are no guarantees on seeing whales or wildlife we can see humpback whales, orcas, harbor seals and Stellar's sea lions on our paddle.

What a thrill to paddle through the creek with salmon jumping on both sides of the kayak. The islands were just magnificent and seeing that Bald Eagle nest with the young ones in it was just the highlight of the day. If ever we do go back on another Alaska cruise and are still able to, we certainly will be booking again with this company.
— Jean A on TripAdvisor

Happy paddlers explore Snow's Cove at the north end of Pennock Island.

Ketchikan Kayaking for Groups

Can we take more than 10 on a tour? Yes! Kayaking is a great fun activity for groups of family and friends traveling together. Please checkout our group tours page for more information on booking groups of 7 or more.

Dressing for Kayaking in Ketchikan

Kayaking in Alaska is all about staying warm and dry. Southeast Sea Kayaks provides kayaking outerwear and dry-bags so that our guests do not need to bring any special gear or clothing. We use spray-skirts on the kayaks to help keep you dry. The average summer temperatures in Ketchikan are between 55° and 75° so we ask that you dress in warm, comfortable layers. You might need 3 layers in May and September, but otherwise a t-shirt and fleece or sweatshirt with sweats or jeans should work. We get into the kayaks from the dock so your feet will not get wet. 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. Please do not wear high heels which can be dangerous on the docks. A baseball cap or brimmed hat is great on sunny or rainy days and sunglasses are also a good idea. Please do not be afraid to bring cameras: 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.

How to Find the Meeting Point

Cruise ship visitors and guests who are staying in town will meet us at the Liquid Sunshine Gauge at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau on the cruise ship dock. If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow yourself at least 15 minutes from the time you disembark until the tour meeting time to find the meeting point. How long it takes to get to the meeting point depends on where your cruise ship is berthed. It is a 1 - 2 minute walk from cruise ship berths 1 and 2 and a 5 - 10 minute walk from cruise ship berths 3 and 4. There are maps at each cruise ship berth that can help you find your way. There are restrooms available at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau next to the meeting point and at our floating office. If you have trouble finding us, please call our office at 907-225-1258 for directions.

Looking for More Information?

Learn more About Us and check out our Top Five Reasons to Take a Tour with Southeast Sea Kayaks, or browse our Blog for lots of information about kayaking and Ketchikan. Got a question? Call us on 1-800-287-1607 or email us anytime, or checkout our FAQ page. Already booked? Check out our Tips for Trips to help make the most of your day in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Kayak tour in the West Channel of the Tongass Narrows - rainforest shore, intertidal zone and beautiful views of the Inside Passage.

Ketchikan Kayak tour in the West Channel of the Tongass Narrows - rainforest shore, intertidal zone and beautiful views of the Inside Passage.