Getting to and from Prince of Wales Island
Most visitors to the Island come into Ketchikan airport, usually in the morning. You have several choices to travel to Prince of Wales Island; a charter plane or the Inner-Island Ferry. The Ketchikan Airport is located on an island across from the actual town of Ketchikan (mainland) and our recommended charter operator, Taquan Air, offers service on both sides.
The Ferry terminal is on the mainland side. To get to the Ferry terminal (and Ketchikan), you have to cross over from the airport to the mainland on a little shuttle boat that runs every 30min at a cost of $6 per person. You then walk or taxi about 1/2-mile to the Ferry terminal where you stay with your luggage (or keep it with you), as there is no place to check it in or store it unattended. This is where folks consider renting a vehicle in Ketchikan, which is an affordable way to get around town. But you are taking a huge risk and making a bad decision if you take a rental car from Ketchikan to the Island. Click HERE for an explanation and the scoop on rental cars in Ketchikan.
The Ferry leaves Ketchikan once a day at 3:30 pm (check in at 2:30) and arrives in Hollis 6:30pm. On the return trip, they depart Hollis at 8:00am (7am check in) each day, and arrive Ketchikan at 11am. There is a great casual family owned restaurant on the Ferry that we recommend, and the trip is very scenic.
However if you take Taquan Air, you can depart directly from the airport, just taking your luggage from the Alaska Airlines baggage carousel a short distance down to the float dock right at the airport. Taquan has multiple scheduled flights daily to Hollis and Craig (except Sunday, just one in the evening). You can also wander Ketchikan, then take your flight from the mainland after your through (or if you stayed the night in Ketchikan). Their last flight to Hollis leaves Ketchikan at about 5pm in the summer. So even if your flight gets to Ketchikan too late to catch the ferry, you can often still take Taquan and even get in about an hour before the ferry does. Your Taquan flight from Ketchikan into Hollis takes less than 25 min, vs 3 hours on the Ferry. Most of our customers who use Taquan arrive on the Island before noon (vs 6:30pm on the Ferry). This equates to basically adding an extra day to your vacation, and instead of settling in late at night at your destination (tired and a bit hurried), you will have had a chance to get started on your journeys, and be in a better pace leading into the next day. Sound expensive? It's not! The cost is only slightly more than taking the Ferry (less than $48.00 additional per person into Hollis) and you get to ride on a float plane! Truly an Alaska experience you don't want to miss. Another way to get to the Island is taking Island Air Express. They offer wheeled aircraft services (with IFR capabilities if the weather is bad) into the Klawock Airport 888.387.8989. Note that we need advanced notice to deliver the vehicle to Klawock as it is 25 miles from our location.