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.
The trail meanders through old growth forest and includes two viewing platforms where you can stop, relax, and take in the lake view. On sunny summer days you’ll often find an assortment of hikers, families, fishermen, and dogs. Yet even when it’s raining, this well-protected trail offers an easy walk—and a good excuse to get outside. In winter, the trail is still accessible and provides you with a beautiful landscape—just watch out for sledders on the hill!
Recent improvements spearheaded by local trail mastermind John Swada have made this an even more desirable hiking destination for the hiker or nature enthusiast looking for more than a short stroll. If you’re feeling up for a trek, follow the path as it veers up the mountain past the second bridge, toward the ridgeline and Minerva Mountain Trail (an alpine traverse that will lead you north of town and spit you out at Perseverance Lake and Trail). Pay attention once you reach the end of the gravel path, as colored flags are your only markers up the mountainside and across the ridge.
Carlanna Lake Trail is on the short list for must-dos in Ketchikan. Only 5 minutes in you’re going to experience old growth spruce, a glassy lake, lush undergrowth, and a burbling stream. This trail never fails to impress!