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Totem Bight State Historical Park

9883 N. Tongass Highway, Ketchikan, Alaska

Totem Bight State Historical Park protects and displays 14 intricate totem poles, sourced from abandoned native villages and restored to their original splendor. Each tells a unique story of Tlingit and Haida carvers, offering insight into Ketchikan’s rich Native Alaskan heritage. There is also an onsite replica Native village with a Clan House.

While Totem Bight State Historical Park welcomes visitors to explore independently, plan to visit with a guide who can offer context and tell some of the stories behind the totems. Aside from admiring the 14 totem poles, visitors can step inside the Clan House to learn more about family life for the area’s indigenous tribes. A viewing deck offers the chance to spot wildlife along the Tongass Narrows.

Travelers can combine a tour of the park with some sightseeing around Ketchikan, a nature walk through the Alaskan rainforest to learn more about the indigenous trees and plants of Tongass National Forest, or an excursion to the historic Guard Island Lighthouse.

  • The park is free during the off season but donations are welcome; you’ll find donation boxes scattered throughout.
  • Wear sturdy, waterproof shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, especially if you plan to use the park’s nature trails.
  • Facilities at the historical park–including restrooms, trails, and historical features–are ADA-compliant.

The park is 10 miles (16 km) north of Ketchikan along the North Tongass Highway. The public Silver Line bus stops at the park. It’s also possible to get there by taxi, private car, or by joining a guided tour with included roundtrip transportation.

The park is open daily throughout the year. Be prepared for light mist and rain anytime. High season is from early May to late September. April and May tend to be the driest months, with the best opportunities for spotting wildlife.

While Totem Bight State Historical Park ranks as one of Ketchikan’s top attractions, those with an interest in the region’s history should add some further sites to their itineraries. Continue your education on totems at the Totem Heritage Center, then take a walk along historic Creek Street, a series of buildings on boardwalks that once served as the town’s red light district. For more on the human history and heritage of the region, visit the nearby Saxman Native Village.


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