Cruising Alaska Off-Season — Ketchikan’s Infamous Creek Street


I mentioned earlier in this series of articles that Ketchikan is one of our favorite Alaska destinations. Sure, it’s tourist-kitschy and all that, but it has much to offer the shutterbug. And, as you’ll see on this week’s Fun Photo Friday, it also offers up great subjects for over-the-top photo manipulation (Yep… went hog wild for this Friday, so stay tuned). And my favorite Ketchikan seems to heavily concentrate in one area — Ketchikan’s infamous former red-light district along Creek Street.

We begin today’s journey from dockside

Creek Street is an easy, leisurely five-minute stroll (approximately 0.2 miles/.32 kilometers ) if you enter this area from the west end of the street. If you head for the east end, which intersects with Stedman Street, it’s a marginally farther six-minute walk (approximately 0.3 miles/.48 kilometers).

Leaving Ovation and heading inland

The street itself is very short and can easily be covered in much less than two minutes, but plan on spending at least half and hour exploring the many shops… longer if you want to stop at one of the restaurants or drinking establishments.

Spruce Mill Way to the right of the cruise dock

Mill Street is a great way to get to Creek Street if you plan on entering from the east. Or take Mission Street and cross the small foot bridge to get there from the west. Neither way will disappoint, and you can take the alternate route for the return to the ship.

Front Street hooks left and becomes Mill Street

On this journey Ursula and I went via the Mill Street route, entering Creek Street from the adjacent Stedman Street Bridge. One of the first images of Creek Street via this route would be this:

Creek Street

We’ve been here many a time, including during spawning season when Ketchikan Creek is littered with dead salmon. Yes, it does smell a bit during these times, but not distressingly so. Today we were well past the spawn, and not many dead fish remained. Those that did were at the bottom of the creek. Now, looking back from the opposite end of what you see above gives you the view below. To the right is the Stedman Street Bridge. The green structure near the center is the Dolly House Museum, which is billed as Ketchikan’s only remaining “den of iniquity” still standing.

Stedman Street Bridge; the green structure is Dolly’s House Museum

In some areas of Creek Street the walkways narrow between charming, brightly colored buildings:

Creek Street is actually a walkway

As you depart Creek Street on the west side, cross over the foot bridge, and make your way to the inappropriately named Dock Street (no where near the docks), look to your left for the Chief Johnson Totem Pole. Topping that pole is a neat stylized eagle waiting to say, “Cheese,” as you prepare to snap his photo:

Chief Johnson Totem Pole

This next totem pole you might miss if you head straight back along Mill Street, or even Mission for that matter. To find it, hang a right and walk a short distance. It sits just outside of the Tongass Historical Museum:

A Jonathan Livingston Seagull posing atop the Tongass Historical Museum totem

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