Connell Lake Kayaking

Kayaking in Ketchikan

North America’s Largest Rainforest

Beautiful Flora & Fauna

Kayak in the Beautiful Tongass National Forest

Join us on the waters of Connell Lake for a beautiful kayaking experience in the vast confines of Tongass National Forest. The 60-foot dam, constructed in 1952 to provide millions of gallons of freshwater to the Ketchikan Pulp Mill, sits next to the kayak staging area and creates a serene and peaceful reservoir to paddle around in your two-person, sit-in style kayak. This is an ideal starting point for any novice kayakers and the surroundings ensure a scenic and wildlife-filled adventure.


Kayak the calm and scenic waters of Connell Lake - perfect for all levels!

Scan the skies and the towering conifers for bald eagles and other waterfowl

Learn about the importance of the lake to the history of the old pulp mill and the ecology of the island

Enjoy a short nature walk and cross an active salmon spawning stream

Click the Tabs to Learn More

Trip Details

Trip Details

Meeting point

  • The Welcome Center at Ward Cove Dock


April through October, daily availability varies, please click here for more information


Approximately 2.5 hours from Ward Cove

Group size

Maximum 12 guests


  • Life jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Dry bag
  • Snacks – coffee, tea, hot chocolate &  cookies

What to bring

  • Dress in layers
  • Photo ID
  • Comfortable closed-toe shoes
  • Debit/credit cards

Participation requirements

  • Minimum age is 8 years
  • Max weight of 275 lbs and height 6’6” tall

About your guide

Guest to guide ratio is 6:1

What You’ll See & Do

Prior to departure for Connell Lake, you’ll be outfitted with waterproof outerwear, a drybag and a life jacket and be given a safety briefing. Then it’s just a 10-minute ride to picturesque Connell Lake where your tandem kayak awaits.

Making your way down to the kayak dock, your guide will provide you with a safety briefing, proper loading procedures and basic paddling techniques. Soon you’ll be gliding across the calm waters of the lake for about an hour and marveling at the majestic coniferous trees dotting the landscape of the surrounding hillsides. Keen eyes will be spotting eagles in the treetops or soaring overhead.

As Connell Lake is a manmade reservoir, your knowledgeable guide will gather the group together at various vantage points and share the story of the Connell Lake Dam and how it fed water and power to the historic Ketchikan Pulp Mill. Learn about the ecology of the rainforest and importance of the lake to the surrounding area.

After taking in the sights on the water, you’ll return to the kayak dock for a snack and refreshment of cookies and hot chocolate, and hear tales of the flora and fauna making their home behind the campsite. Then it will be time to board the van for the short trip back to the cruise ship pier.

kayak instructor teaching kayak students

Check Out More Activities in Ward Cove

a man riding a sea cycle with the mountains in the background
view of the wake left by a zodiac
3 men posing with their e bikes