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.
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.
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.