Ketchikan Floatplane History and Tours

Published: Jan 01, 2021
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Visitors stopping in Ketchikan have the opportunity to experience the spectacular scenery of Southeast Alaska on a once in a lifetime floatplane ride. Whether you are seeking a relaxing plane ride with scenic views of the Misty Fjords National Monument or an opportunity to access remote areas of Alaska to witness bears in their natural habitat, there is something for everyone to make this a highlight of your Alaskan experience.


The use of floatplanes dates back to 1910 with the invention of the French Fabre Hydravion, the first successful plane attempt to land on water. During both WWI and WWII, floatplanes held various purposes including air-sea rescues. As advancements in aviation ensued, the use of floatplanes shifted toward being frequently used among bush pilots who are commonly flying to remote regions with limited access to landing strips.


1910 French Fabre Hydravion and modern floatplane (Photo / CC BY)

More About Float Planes

The DeHavilland Beaver and Otter, considered the “best bush planes ever built,” are the most commonly used float planes for Alaskan tourism. When you hop aboard you are guaranteed to get have incredible views as every passenger will have their own window seat. Floatplanes are equipped with state of the art headphones that will allow you to enjoy a fully narrated flight where your guide will point out not to miss moments.

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Floatplane cabin and cockpit (CC BY)

Ketchikan Deluxe Misty Fjords National Monument Tour

If you want to experience the Misty Fjords for yourself, join us kno the Ketchikan Misty Fjord Flightseeing via Floatplane Tour! Discover the magnificent Misty Fjords National Monument and view some of the most spectacular scenery in Alaska from the comfort of your window seat. A highlight of your 2 hour flightseeing tour will be an exhilarating landing on an alpine lake or remote fjord.


Mitsy Fjords in Ketchikan, AK (Photo / CC BY)

Massive glacier action created this 2.3 million acre ice-rimmed wilderness. See majestic fjords, cascading waterfalls, jewel-like lakes, and abundant wildlife during your flightseeing exploration. Be on the lookout for sightings of brown and black bear, Sitka black-tailed deer, wolves, moose and bald eagles.  You'll fly over Revillagigedo Island en route to Neets Bay in Tongass National Forest. A fully guided nature walk along a quarter-mile trail through old growth forest takes you to Neets Bay Creek, a remote site where the annual gathering of fish is a huge draw for the region.