Kootéeyaa — Totem Poles of Downtown Ketchikan

Tour Number

Activity Level



Hiking and Walking, First Time Visitor, Religious Heritage, Museums / Culture


Kid Friendly: Yes. I am a teacher and love spending time with kids.

Friendly: Yes.
There will be some moderately inclined streets to navigate, but everything is wheelchair accessible.

Maximum travelers: 10



English (fluent), French (advanced), German (basic), Spanish (basic)

Walking tour of incredible indigenous monuments

Totem poles have long held a prominent place in popular culture, but have often been grossly misunderstood and underappreciated.
Ketchikan is the best place in the world to learn about this monumental art form, not only because there are more totem poles here than anywhere else on earth, but also because Ketchikan lies at the crossroads of three unique cultures who carve these monuments — the Tlingit, the Haida, and the Tsimshian.
The Tlingit call totem poles kootéeyaa — or "round ones that are chiseled".

In this tour, we will walk through downtown Ketchikan and experience many of the community's most historic totem poles, including the Chief Kyan pole, the Chief Johnson pole, and many others. The tour will include a scenic ride up the funicular to Cape Fox Lodge's "Council of the Clans" totem circle, as well as a visit to the Totem Heritage Center, which houses the oldest unrestored totem poles in the world. Ketchikan's kootéeyaa are just waiting to be discovered!


The length of time spent at each location will vary according to your interest, but during the first part of the tour we can visit and learn about all of the following:
—the Thundering Wings carving
—totem poles inside the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center
—the Chief Kyan pole
—the Chief Johnson pole
—the Raven Steals the Sun pole

Then we can ride the funicular to Cape Fox Lodge to see the artifacts on display in the hotel and the Council of the Clans totem poles.

Afterward, we will visit the Totem Heritage Center to see the oldest unrestored totem poles in the world.

On the way back, we will pass the Sun Raven pole at the University of Alaska Southeast, and one of Ketchikan's only totem poles in front of a private home.

Meeting Location + Tour Duration

Meeting location: I will meet you at your cruise ship dock or wherever else is most convenient for you.

End location: I will gladly walk you back to your cruise ship dock, or another nearby location if you prefer.

Duration: 2 hours 30 min.

The starting point of our tour along the cruise ship docks—depending on which berth we meet at—may alter the amount of time we have for walking through Downtown and visiting the Totem Heritage Center. (Berth 4 is farthest away and will add several minutes of travel time, while Berth 1 is closest.)


We will do everything on foot.

What’s Included

Other: The funicular ride to Cape Fox Lodge and the admission fee at the Totem Heritage Center.

Estimated Local Cash Needed

10 USD - You may need money if you wish to buy a snack, drink, or souvenirs along the way.

What’s Extra

Other: Bring money if you might be interested in shopping for souvenirs at any of the shops we will see along the way.


I currently only offer walking tours because I do not have a vehicle available. I may be able to arrange a driving tour upon request, if I receive enough notice.

Private tour guide Peter

Contact this Guide

Questions about the tour? Not seeing exactly what you’re looking for? Contact this guide with questions, or to create a custom itinerary for you and your travel companions.

Message Peter S.

Web address (URL) of this page: http://www.toursbylocals.com/kooteeyaa-private-tour-Ketchikan

Tours by Peter S.

See more of the tours offered by this guide.

Kootéeyaa — Totem Poles of Downtown Ketchikan

Kootéeyaa — Totem Poles of Downtown Ketchikan


Walking tour of incredible indigenous monuments

215 USD per tour

(max 10 people)

2 hours 30 min.

learn more
Walking Through Ketchikan's History, Art, and Culture

Walking Through Ketchikan's History,,...


Downtown walk through Ketchikan's rich heritage

210 USD per tour

(max 10 people)

2 hours 30 min.

learn more
Real Life in Ketchikan Neighborhood Walk

Real Life in Ketchikan Neighborhood Walk


Close-up look at real life for Alaskans

200 USD per tour

(for up to 10 people)

2 hours

learn more