Review: Ketchikan Flightseeing Tour

If you find yourself in Ketchikan and are considering a tour of Misty Fjords National Monument, you should check a flight seeing tour. Ketchikan isn’t a place where cruise ships spend all day so you’ll definitely want to make good use of your time.

Recently I was on a sailing that ended in Ketchikan and took a 90-minute flight seeing tour through Viator.

It was flawless and definitely worth it. Here’s how it worked out:

When I disembarked the Wilderness Adventurer I walked to the Ketchikan Visitor’s Center and was met by the owner of Southeast Aviation, Jim Kosmos. He picked up a couple from the Silversea ship and we headed to the hanger where we dropped off our extra bags, got some info about the flight and did some paperwork.


After the paperwork we headed down to the plane to get acquainted with our pilot, who also served as our tour guide for the 90-minute tour. The 90-minute tour was broke down with 70-minutes of flight time and 20-minute of ground time walking in Misty Fjords National Monument. We were given the safety overview of the plane, how to escape, seat belts, and fire extinguishers locations – then we were on our way.


We fired up the plane and made our way out to the airstrip, or water strip, since it is a seaplane. Per the FAA, the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base has over 43,000-passenger enplanements per year.

Ready for take off!
Ready for take off!

We took off and it was quiet in the plane because our pilot was going through the pre-departure and post-departure checklists. One we got up to level flight we were able to talk and the pilot gave us a rundown of the area, the Misty Fjords National Monument and all the details. We were told to be on the lookout for bears, eagles and mountain goats.

On the flight we saw a lot of glaciers, snow capped mountains, ice covered lakes and a lot of greenery.

Misty Fjords National Forest.
Misty Fjords National Forest.

After 30-minutes of flying between and over the fjords we found a nice little bay to land in. There was absolutely no wind in the bay and we were able to pull the plane up to the ledge, get out of the seaplane and walk around. We were able to drink some fresh mountain stream water and get some great photos of the terrain. After about 20-minutes of walking around and we boarded the plane and took back off on our way back to the cruise ships.

Landing in the lake in the forest.
Landing in the lake in the forest.

On the way back we saw a bunch of mountain goats lying in the snow keeping cool, our pilot circled them so every passenger in the plane could get a view.

The landing was really neat because we came in over the cruise ships and got to take some neat photos.


After we got out of the plane we walked back up the ramp, gathered our belongings and the shuttle driver took us back to the pier.


One thing I really appreciated about this tour is that the pilot/tour guide was not soliciting for tips. He was down to earth and answered all our questions – and he knew everything.


If you are heading to Ketchikan, consider one of Southeast Aviation’s many tours — Ketchikan flightseeing at its best!

Note: It’s very important to know before you head to these cruise ports you need to research them fully. You spend a lot of money on your Alaska trip and it’s not a place where you can just walk off the ship and figure out what you’re going to do day-of. Thousands of cruise passengers are in these ports at the same time and excursions do sell out.

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