Ketchikan area

We are planning a trip up to Ketchikan AL to paddle Misty Fjords, however, don’t want to leave out the possibility of another destination close by that may be as good. We will probably drive/ferry up and may use our own boats, but may need outfitter and or shuttle service.

So… anyone paddle Misty Fjords and/or surrounding area that could give me some info?

Routes, scenic features, paddling conditions, other concerns?

One note… if possible, we would like to take advantage of the Nat Forest cabins if available in a given area (getting older you know).

Thanks !

Tom Friedrichs

Sheboygan Falls, WI

A great place to go is Hyder, Alaska
if you’re going especially when the salmon are running. I’ve been there several times to watch the bears catch salmon. If you hit it right, you spend the whole day watching both black and brown bears in the river.

The drive up to the glaciers is super. Not to far from where you’re going. The area got me seriouly thinking about learning to sea kayak.

Will be there June 29th
Tom, I have been to Ketchikan, but not to Mysty Fjords. However I will be ther June 29th through July 9th. I have a party of 2 with the Forest Service cabin reserved for 7 days on Winstanley Island. We have room for 2 more people if you are interested. We are not staying at the cabin the whole time. We are just using it as a back up in case of rain. Let me know if you are interested. We are flying in from Michigan and having the outfitter in Ketchikan take us out to Winstanley on Saturday. We will paddle the two days back to town.


SW Alaska
I spent five weeks paddling between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, B.C. last summer; wonderful time. Most all of the waters in the Park and sourrounding areas have pristine beaches where you can camp without paying a fee. There’s plenty of fresh water available and lots of fish. I was catching salmon daily from the kayak. If you have high-speed I’ll send you a PowerPoint presentation of the trip; just send me an email. If any of the locations interest you I can send GPS coordinates.

I’m heading back there next summer Ketchikan to Skagway this time.

USFS has great info

– Last Updated: Jun-09-06 3:24 PM EST –

Tongass NF put up a website specifically for paddling in the Ketchikan area. I don't have the URL now, but I'm sure you can get to it from the general Tongass page, below.

I am looking at the Tongass NF map right now. Info that will help you:

* Tongass NF info:

* Alaska Marine Highway:

* Inter-island Ferry Authority:

* Cabin reservations:

I paddled with three other people from Ketchikan to Skagway in June 2004. Sorry to say, due to the nature of the trip I can't give you much info on multiple day paddles in the area. We launched from Knudson Cove, hopped to Betton Island, crossed 6 miles from Betton Island to Cleveland Peninsula, and headed up the west side into Ernest Sound.

We saw whales almost every day. Camping...ah, the camping...though I cursed the humidity (not used to it), the waterfront campsites were priceless. I kept thinking, "For a little [OK, a lot] of effort, we are getting views and privacy that people would pay hundreds of dollars per night for if they were in a lodge."

I talked about that trip for such a long time afterwards that I convinced my husband to visit AK, too. This time we won't be kayak-camping. We'll be on a mothership traveling the Behm Canal. We'll be paddling without a guide, so can go as many miles per day as we want to! See for more info.

Oh, general the conditions on our K-to-S portion of the Inside Passage were mellow. Around Ketchikan, I've read that Alava Point (in the Behm Canal) gets pretty rough.

***How could I forget this one: Buy a copy of Jim Howard's "Kayaking Southeast Alaska" or whatever its title is. Good info on Ketchikan area paddling.

Misty Fiords
We paddled there last summer for 18 days (unsupported). We had a great time BUT there are several improtatnt things we learned that I will pass along. The name Misty Fiords should be a giveaway about the weather. Bring rain gear and some extra rain gear. Check the tides. On our trip there were biblical high tides that obliterated the beaches and we were forced into the no flat place to camp forest. Make use of the leantos. Go on line and rent one of the few USFS cabins in the area for a break from tenting. Take lots of film. If you want serious details email me.

Kechikan area
Go to Sitka, if you have the time. It’s on the gulf of Alaska and is loaded with wildlife. Whales, sealions, lots of birds. San Lazaria island[not sure about the spelling] is about 12 miles out and is a bird sanctuary, Puffins and all kinds of other birds. Alot of bears along some of the beaches. I spent 8 years there and most of my time on the water. Not in a kayak but in a skiff and a sailboat. But it is a great place for kayaking. Alot of passages in and out of Sitka Sound and alot of protected waters.