In preparation for a 1-day (via cruise ship) visit to Ketchikan I've read most posts in this forum. Below is a collection of many of the suggestions for a do-it-yourself day in Ketchikan. Thanks to everyone who made such great suggestions--sorry I did not credit any of the sources.
Totem Bight State Park
Getting there without a car
• Walk to the Tunnel on Front St. (about 5 minute walk-you could see the tunnel from the ship dock--across from the eagle totem) and catch the local city bus (Blue Line Bus Northbound). Departure hourly –45 after the hour. The bus will take you all the way out to Totem Bight State Park about 12 miles and stops right in front of the Park office (this is also the same route that stops at Walmart). At Totem Bight pick up their brochure for an explanation of the totem poles ($1 donation). Self-guided tour can be done in an hour. Return to Ketchikan on the Blue Line Southbound bus (again right in front of park office) and get off by Ketchikan Visitors Center. Departure is hourly –15 minutes after the hour. Round trip can be done in about 2 hours. Cost: $2 pp/roundtrip or $1 each way (1/2 price for seniors).
• Website for the public transport system is: borough.ketchikan.ak.us/works/bus_info.htm Check the blue line route. It leaves hourly from several locations in town
Saxman Totem Village
Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center
• Walking distance from cruise port (follow the salmon stream!)
• Next door to Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center
• Run by the Forest Department
• Full of information/displays/interactive exhibits on the natural history and various cultures of the area, and it gets great reviews. I think admission is about eight bucks.
• website for the local arts council where you can check to see if there are any local festivals or shows
• 1 hour 15 minutes
• book at website
• $34 + tax
• tour maps available at the dock visitor center.
• A nice route to consider is to walk to Creek St. then take the funicular up to the Fox Lodge- beautiful set of totems out the back, then walk back down the "married man's trail" end up on Park, turn right, follow the creek, detour to the salmon ladder if of interest and salmon running. Turn right toward the Hatchery and Totem Heritage Museum, cheap combo tickets available - if of interest. Continue through the city park and then a right down Deermount. Nice look at residential life. At the end turn right, now at the end of Creek St. Dolly's House is a fun tour to consider.
• 90 minutes, $30
Walk around Ward Lake
• Take a cab out to Ward Lake....about $10 and enjoy the most beautiful one mile circular, flat walk in Alaska.. Everyone in our family does it from 4 years old to 85 with little effort. There are many places to sit around the lake and a beautiful beach/picnic area. Arrange with the cab to pick you up an hour later and take you back to town for lunch at the relaxing and beautiful Cape Fox Lodge. In the afternoon, don't miss the film at the Discovery Center, or a cup of coffee at Luna's across the street. The library has a gorgeous view of the creek and is a fun place to browse nearby.