This is a popular weekend hike if you want to spend two-to-four hours in the Tongass National Forest and is only about 15-20 minutes north of town. Though you gain elevation on the hike up to the lake, it is not unforgivingly steep. Perseverance Lake is one of Ketchikan’s picturesque mountain-lake scenes.
The path to the Perseverance trailhead, Basin Road, showcases a dramatic change from urban to wilderness, leading from downtown Juneau to a spectacular canyon. At the end of it is where Perseverance Trail begins, and this former rail line (named for the mine it once serviced) quickly climbs up above the Gold Creek valley. There’s plenty to see along the way, including old mine shafts that blow cool winds, and a stretch of trail where the mountain drops steeply away to Gold Creek.
This is a beautiful hike in June and July, when the alpine wildflowers are at their peak. But it’s a beautiful hike anytime, because the views from up top—facing Mount Edgecumbe and overlooking Sitka Sound—are awesome. There are two ways up this mountain: a big climb or a big drive.
Located in the Tongass National Forest, Ward Creek is wide enough to drive a truck down, though no vehicles are permitted, and is popular with the locals for walking dogs. Across the road from the Ward Lake Recreation Area parking lot, trailhead 1 takes you north and follows Ward Creek, which flows out of Connell Lake, by the Last Chance campground, and through Ward Lake to eventually meet the ocean in Ward Cove.
Located in Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, this trail is wheelchair-accessible and close to the airport. It has many opportunities for waterfowl and bird watching. It is excellently maintained. This makes the trail a very easy hike. Many times you will see strollers, runners and bikers on this trail because it is paved.
Eaglecrest is one of the few community-owned ski areas in the US—and the only one that can boast of being on an island, which gives it the unique perk of having ski slopes with ocean views. Whether you are a beginner looking to play in the snow, or a longtime skier or boarder, Eaglecrest makes a great all-ages winter playground. In summer, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and berry picking.
Leaving from the end of Tongass Highway, enter the Lunch Creek Trail and very soon take the trail to the left as this steps you quickly down to a waterfall viewing platform and then the rest of the way down to where, to the right, you can also cross the Lunch Creek bridge, which provides waterfall views as well as the ocean where the creek flows into.
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.
Settlers Cove State Recreation Site offers two of the best sandy beaches to be found in the Ketchikan area and provides pit toilets and sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates. A campground with eight campsites is available as well and one public-use cabin on the water that can be rented.
The one-mile gravel trail to Coast Guard Beach winds through Ketchikan Gateway Borough land and then crosses into Alaska Mental Health Trust Land. Mostly the trail descends to the beach; however, a few hills do rise along the way. This beach is a good place for walking, sunbathing, beachcombing, photography, writing, reading, meditation, tai-chi, just sitting, marine-life viewing, and dog swimming.
If you want to get away and don’t have a boat or a plane, this is as far away north one can easily get from Ketchikan. The trail ends at the headwaters of Lunch Creek—the shores of Lake Emery Tobin, which is surrounded by a rim of steep mountainsides often capped with snow ridges and peaks.
The mostly-flat Ward Lake trail follows the circumference of the lake’s shore in a swath of gravel that is wide enough for two people to walk abreast. Ward Lake is tucked into the edge of the Tongass National Forest boundary. Its proximity to town makes the recreation area popular with the locals.
This is a wheelchair-accessible trail that follows the Mendenhall River greenbelt area, starting at Brotherhood Bridge off Glacier Hwy. The name is Tlingit for "going back clearwater trail." Expect a lot of traffic. The trail is 2-miles long, paved, and provides one of the great views of Mendenhall Glacier, beginning at the Brotherhood Bridge trailhead. In mid-summer, over a flat More...
Close to town on moderate terrain, this trail is a popular destination for locals and travelers and is used for everything from family walks to trail runs. The trail follows the turquoise blue Indian River up through the valley to a waterfall. This riverside terrain makes it a good place to look for birds and other wildlife like deer. In late summer, the river fills with salmon (though fishing is prohibited). The bears have their own trail on the other side of the river, so it’s rare to encounter one.
Refuge Cove State Recreation Site is a sliver of land lining part of an edge of a neighborhood and is a popular beach picnicking destination with the locals. The site comes complete with pit toilets, sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables with fire grates, and a quarter-mile trail accompanied by interpretive signs that address the local natural history.
The lake and glacier are the premier destination for the thousands of cruise-ship tourists who visit Juneau, but they don't venture much beyond the visitor center and the short trails just outside it, leaving the mountains above the center very quiet in comparison.
Connell Lake is a good choice if you want a trail that is less popular but just as close to town as the Perseverance trail. The rocky, dirt path gently climbs through the rainforest canopy and hugs the shoreline of the lake. On the other side is a nice flat area that the creek bows around, creating a small peninsula. A fire-pit indicates that this is a preferred spot to spend some time or camp.
Once you reach the Mountain House at the 1,800-foot level of Mount Roberts, step onto trails that begin in a sub-alpine ecosystem and climb another 300 feet into the true alpine. With sixty stair steps, a length of one-half mile and an elevation gain of just 150ft, the main trail will take you to open vistas, mountain valleys, snow gullies, rocky ridges and stunning views of More...
This unmarked trail is named for Alaska's Second Regional Forester, B. Frank Heintzleman. He was also Territorial Governor between 1953 and 1957. Mountain goats are often seen along this route. After crossing Jordan Creek, the steep ascent begins. It is possible to hike from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center from this trail.
The Auke Lake Trail was originally built to access the John Muir Cabin. It also provides access to Spaulding Meadows, an excellent place for Nordic skiing during the winter. The trail provides views of the Chilkat Mountains, Admiralty Island, Gastineau Channel, and Mts. Stroller White and McGinnis. The trail also offers plenty of birding opportunities, especially now that a recent More...
This makes for a good half-day to overnight hike that leads to a small lake with a fee cabin. Peterson Lake isn't a classic beauty of an alpine lake, but its lower elevation (only about 750 feet above sea level) means a longer hiking season, and it is a peaceful spot to relax and row around a pretty lake edged by a garden of floating pond lilies
This side trail leads to the edge of the AJ Glory Hole, a massive chasm with 800 foott deep walls. The mine produced millions of dollars in gold during its operational life. The hole was created in a process where miners would blast under a mound of earth and have it collapse. This allowed for easy mining of the ore and then the hole could be blasted a layer deeper. The More...
Just south of the Chilkat Island is Sullivan Island, and at its southern end, you’ll find Sullivan Island State Marine Park. It has the same accessibility issues as the Chilkat Islands; the easiest way to see these islands is to look for them as you cruise via ferry or cruise ship down the Lynn Canal between Haines and Juneau.
This trail is in good condition but is prone to rockslides which can do some damage to the bridges. The trail was originally part of a trail system meant to service mining sites. The trail leads through muskeg and connects with Windfall Lake Trail, which leads 3 miles to mile 27 of the Glacier Hwy.
Features: Skiing, Running
The hike is about 35 miles northeast of Sitka and can be accessed by boat or float plane. The trail begins in a spruce forest that is lined with salmonberry and is, at times, hard to follow because of erosion. It is muddy in places and there is sometimes standing water. This is a great place to see bears because there is great salmon and dolly varden fishing. It also has the best More...
This trail was built to provide access to the John Muir Cabin. The trail is extremely muddy in summer and rubber boots are recommended then, but it is a great snowshoe and ski trail in winter. There are many huckleberries and blueberries alongside the trail and most of the trail has been planked or has small bridges to protect the undergrowth. The cabin is open to the public between More...
Hike through forested paths along the shoreline east or west of Tenakee Springs. Heading west brings you to many beautiful little bays. Going east leads you over a picturesque suspension bridge, then to Cannery Point and Coffee Cove. Eventually you’ll find one of the old logging roads, which could lead you all the way to Hoonah!
0.5 miles from Mink Bay to Hugh Smith Lake, the trail is an easy hike with one steep hill traversed by a series of switchbacks located at the midpoint of the trail. At the lake, a hiker can observe Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologists working at a fish weir conducting a sockeye salmon population study. Trout and salmon fishing in this system is considered to be excellent. More...
The whole purpose of this trail was to provide access to North Beach Recreation Cabin for motorized and non-motorized use. Riders must stay on a designated trail, in the parking area, or on the beach with their vehicles. As the trail gets near the beach, it splits and the east fork leads to the cabin, while the other leads to the beach.
This trail leads from Short Bay in northern Behm Canal to Reflection Lake cabin. The trail provides access to Reflection Lake Cabin. At last survey the bridge about 3/4 mile from saltwater is washed out, so hikers must ford the stream, which is only possible during low water. There is Steelhead and salmon fishing in Short Creek and both trout and dolly vardens are More...