Half-Day or Less
|Trip Length:||2.5 hours|
- We meet you at the cruise ship dock
- Fun 2 hour paddle
- See Ketchikan's historic waterfront
- Explore islands in Tongass Narrows
- Visit a bald eagle's nest
- Only 6 guests per tour
- Private groups up to 18
- No experience necessary
Ketchikan Kayaking is a unique way to experience Ketchikan and the surrounding islands. Highlights of the trip include: the Ketchikan Creek, where we often see seals and are surrounded by salmon from July - September; exploring the intertidal zone and paddling the rainforest shoreline of the nearby islands. Despite its name, Ketchikan Kayaking is not just a paddle around town. We leave from Ketchikan's historic harbor and head across the Tongass Narrows to Pennock and Gravina Islands. There are no roads to these islands: the people who live there all commute by boat and it is remarkable how quickly the bustle of town recedes. Several bald eagle nests are active in the area and many colorful intertidal creatures inhabit the rocky shores. No experience is necessary for this kayaking adventure. Minimum age to participate is six years old. We use double kayaks for the tour and we do have triple kayaks for families with younger paddlers: our guides will decide how to best team up each group.
With only 6 guests per tour, the Ketchikan Kayaking trip is one of the best value excursions in Ketchikan! It is ideal for first time kayakers, families and people with short stops in Ketchikan who would like to have time after paddling to explore the town. For people looking for a wilderness experience we recommend the Orcas Cove trip.
Scenery and Wildlife
Depending on the tide, we either begin or end our trip by visiting Ketchikan's famous Creek Street Historic District. When the tide is right we can paddle right into Creek street and see where bootleggers once passed their wares through secret trapdoors in the floors of the wooden houses built on stilts. Ketchikan Creek is an active salmon stream. In July, August and September the salmon that are heading upstream to spawn swim around our kayaks and we frequently see harbor seals or river otters pursuing a salmon snack. On our way to the Tongass Narrows we pass by Thomas Basin, Ketchikan's oldest boat harbor, home to many beautiful fishing vessels as well as sailboats and pleasure craft.
On Pennock Island, there are several active Bald Eagle’s nests that offer the opportunity to see these great birds nesting. 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 Humpbacks and Orcas, harbor seals and Stellar's sea lions, Sitka blacktail deer and sometimes even black bears.
How to Book
Because our groups are small, space is limited and advance bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Tours may be reserved online or over the phone at 1-800-287-1607.
Booking and Cancellation Policies
For Orcas Cove and Ketchikan Kayaking Tours, 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 re-scheduled, 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.
Trip Timing for Cruise Ship Passengers
Cruise ship visitors will meet us at the "Liquid Sunshine" or Rain Gauge at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. Visitors staying locally can meet at the Rain Gauge or at our store location. We ask all parties to meet us 10 minutes prior to trip time. If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow 30 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. For example: the 8:30am Ketchikan Kayak Tour finishes at 11am so that trip would work for any ships arriving at or before 8am and departing at or after 12noon. Occasionally we also run trips that depart as soon as a ship arrives, so if you do not see the space that you need for your group, please call or email us.
What to Bring and Wear
All equipment is provided including dry bags for your cameras. Raingear is also provided: we have paddle jackets, rain pants (when needed) and spray skirts to keep you dry. We ask that you dress in warm, comfortable layers. Please wear sneakers, rubber boots, or sport sandals rather than hiking boots which are bulky in the kayaks. A baseball cap is helpful on both sunny and rainy days. Please do not wear high heels which can be dangerous on our docks. We have a safe place to store backpacks and purses at our floating office. To keep personal items safe, we ask that guests bring only what they need in our dry bags on the kayaks; usually just cameras and important medications. See our FAQ for helpful tips and more information.