My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Adventure Over Misty Fjords National Monument

2009/09/16by Donna Hull

Updated 06.01.2014
Tongass Narrows approaching Ketchikan, Alaska

Tongass Narrows approaching Ketchikan, Alaska

When cruise ships dock in Ketchikan, Alaska, travelers choose from excursions that include bear watching, zip lining, ATV adventures in the coastal rainforest or simply walking around the colorful clapboard buildings that crowd the port. The rain-prone area is known for sports fishing, outdoor adventure, plentiful shopping and the remote Misty Fjords National Monument.

When Alan and I arrived in Ketchikan as part of a Regent Seven Seas Mariner cruise traveling from Vancouver to Singapore, we immediately sought an escape from the crowded port filled with cruisers looking for jewelry bargains. Our choice? A seaplane tour of Misty Fjords National Monument, which is only accessible via plane or boat.

Float Plane tour of Misty Fjords

Our ride

Since we booked our excursion through the ship, a bus transported us through Ketchikan to the Promech Air office, for this experience. The group, most of whom had never flown on a seaplane, stood on the dock nervously watching as the planes landed gracefully on the water. Although it was a misty, rainy day, the adventure went on as scheduled.

Each plane held 6 or 7 passengers and, of course, a pilot. Passengers needed to be nimble enough to climb up a narrow metal ladder of about 5 steps to enter the plane. Each of us had our own window seat plus headphones for listening to pre-recorded commentary or comments from Captain Larry.

Approaching Misty Fjords National Mounument

Approaching Misty Fjords National Mounument

As the plane took off, we soon had a birds-eye view of the many tree-studded islands that dot the Tongass Narrows. Since low-lying clouds hampered the main approach to Misty Fjords, Captain Lary announced, “I’ll be taking you to a different area of the “mistys.”

With 2.3 million acres in Misty Fjords National Monument, the pilot had plenty of choices. The plane dipped low over a hillside as we looked for bear, mountain goats and bald eagles. Then, Captain Larry swooped the plane down into a narrow fjord landing gently on the water.

Alan and I jumped at the chance to walk down the slippery metal ladders to stand on the pontoons. As mist floated around us, we experienced the quiet of an Alaskan wilderness. The mist, as well as slippery conditions, made photography challenging.

This seaplane adventure included a 65-minute flight plus 10 minutes on the glacier.

Taking an Alaskan cruise and having a hard time choosing between all of your excursion options? Check out our favorite Alaska Cruise excursions!

Have you visited Misty Fjords National Monument? Post a comment to share your experience. Alan and I are ready for another seaplane adventure.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark H September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I've been to the remarkable Misty Fjords though via boat (from Ketchikan), not seaplane. Also thick with fog at times, it is one of the more dramatic landscapes I've seen, the huge rock walls dwarfing planes and boats alike. I wrote an entry a fair while ago on my blog at http://www.travel-wonders.com/2008/03/misty-fjo

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pen4hire September 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm

What a great adventure!. Hope you had non-skid boots on those slippery rails!

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Barbara Weibel September 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Hanging over cliffs while Alan holds your ankles and now balancing on slippery metal pontoons of a seaplane in the middle of a cold Alaskan lake? You are my kind of woman!

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Barbara Weibel September 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Hanging over cliffs while Alan holds your ankles and now balancing on slippery metal pontoons of a seaplane in the middle of a cold Alaskan lake? You are my kind of woman!

Reply

noel June 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

What an amazing way to explore and see the region, i would love to do some photography from above like this.
noel recently posted..Capturing street images – some photo tips and techniquesMy Profile

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Donna Hull
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June 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

Thanks, Noel. It’s a fun way to explore Misty Fjords when you only have a couple of hours. And it gives a great overview.
Donna Hull recently posted..Top Five Apps for Active Alaska TravelMy Profile

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