These two easy hikes are about 8 miles north of Ketchikan. Across from the Ward Lake Recreation Area's parking lot, you can access Perseverance Lake Trail. This 2.3-mile trail through muskeg and forest—with some good berry-picking opportunities along the way—leads to Perseverance Lake.
Starting at the base of Ketchikan’s guardian mountain, Deer Mountain Trail is arguably the area’s most iconic hiking trail. It’s also easily accessible: While other trails require some driving, this one is relatively easy to reach without a vehicle (though you do have to trek up the steep Ketchikan Lakes Road on the way). The trail itself winds through old-growth rainforest up the mountainside, with two lookouts along the way to rest and enjoy the great view.
If you’re looking for a relatively easy, in-town trail with an almost immediate payoff, try the 1.1-mile Carlanna Lake Trail. It starts at the top of one of Newtown’s residential neighborhoods, at the end of Canyon Road. Your ascent begins up a short yet steep gravel road, which immediately puts you at the edge of the Carlanna Lake dam. On a clear day, you’ll come upon the lake’s still waters, perfectly framed by forest and rocky mountainside.
Running just above and parallel to Ketchikan’s Third Avenue Bypass, Rainbird Trail is perfect if you only have a couple hours but still want to experience a small piece of Southeast Alaska’s rainforest. The trailhead is only 20 minutes from downtown (a short drive relative to most other trails), and the trail’s southern end—just beyond the top of the metal stairs—offers great views of downtown Ketchikan, the Tongass Narrows, and the neighboring islands beyond.
This easy hike is about 8 miles north of Ketchikan. The 1.3-mile-long Ward Lake trail, in the Ward Lake Recreation Area is level, gravel and educational, with signs along the way identifying local flora and fauna. It also connects with picnic, camping and fishing sites.
The nature trail also crosses over Ward Creek and Signal Creek, with viewing platforms for checking out salmon in season. Birders particularly enjoy this area for its frequent views of wrens, sapsuckers, and warblers, along with chances to hear pygmy or screech owls (especially in fall or early winter).
Hear shrieks and squeals of excitement as kids wade around in tidepools with their buckets finding all manner of critters – eels, bullheads, snails, hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea anemones, starfish, blimmies (eeltype fish), small octopus, eelgrass, clams, mollusks, and kelps.