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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beyond the Rainbow Falls Trail is the Institute Creek Trail. This trail leads you to a shelter that overlooks Shoemaker Bay. Traveling further along the trail, you'll climb up into higher country reaching more shelters. This part of the trail is almost entirely surfaced with stairs, log steps, and a boardwalk. Be careful as all the More...
Juneau is one of only two capitols in the United States that isn’t accessed by roads—only boats and planes can reach the city. But there is a stretch of paved road that runs north from town, past Auke Bay and towards Berner’s Bay. You’ll pass the University of Southeast Alaska and the ferry terminal before getting “out” of town. It’s a great More...
This trail can be accessed by boat or float plane and is about 20 miles east of Sitka. This trail is boardwalk and dirt trail that starts at the main dock then leads through the forest. The spur trails along the way lead to the lakeside and along the river. There are cutthroat trout in Baranof Lake.
Danger Point Trail leads from Angoon through a densely-treed area north of town, toward Danger Point, a perfect spot for summer whale watching. The game trail can be rough, but at just 2.5 miles round-trip, it's a fairly easy hike through old-growth forest that ends with a spectacular view of Chatham Strait and nearby islands.
If you’re looking for a nice day along the waterfront with the family, this is the spot. Watch fishing boats come and go, have a picnic at one of the covered shelters, or go tidepooling with the kids. At low tide you can access Magic Island and look for sea creatures.
A nice one-mile loop trail winds through the park—it’s a good place to stretch your legs. And More...
This trail provides access to two good trout fishing spots and is accessible by boat or float plane. Many of the boardwalk bridges have collapsed and are not safe to use. The trail is wet and muddy. Alongside the trail is a shelter in poor condition. Bears are often seen on this route, so keep your eyes open!
The trail down to Cathedral Falls isn’t very long, but involves a steep 100-foot descent (and ascent when it’s time to go back!). Down at the creek, you can explore behind the falls, fish for trout and salmon, or watch black bear, which are likely to be fishing as well.
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 West Glacier trailhead cannot be reached from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. To access this trail, take Mendenhall Loop Road to Montana Creek Road and follow the signs to Mendenhall Campground. This is the trail you want to take if you're looking to see a real Alaskan glacier. The view at the top affords incredible views of what seems to be an ocean of ice that is More...
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...
One of the newest trails in Sitka, this beautiful hike follows a creek, passes several waterfalls, and takes you through old-growth forest. It’s quite popular, and you’ll find the Herring Cove parking area crowded on the weekends. It’s also great for families, despite being a little steep at points, thanks to fun trail features and fishing platforms at a lake 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 trail was named after John Lemon, one of the first prospectors to cross the Chilkoot Trail. It is recommended that you wear water boots and long-sleeved shirts because of the mud and overgrown brush. There are many berries and, therefore black bears in this area.
This trail is about 25 miles northwest of Sitka and is accessible by boat or floatplane. There is a beautiful mile-long white sandy beach at the beginning of the hike. It's a great place to do some beachcombing and to view sea lions. The trail then leads through muskeg and forest until it reaches a small lake that is good for swimming, but also very cold. The trail ends in More...
This is a big climb: you’ll gain 2,550 feet en route to the summit. And you can continue along an alpine ridge to the next summit (about one hour), Arrowhead, which sits at 3,300 feet! If you make it to these peaks, you’ll be rewarded with big views and a beautiful alpine environment. And the trail can be accessed via public transport.
This trail winds its way back to three cabins in Point Bridget State Park. If you're interested, find out more information about Cowee Meadow Cabin, Blue Mussel Cabin, and Camping Cove Cabin. It begins by quickly descending from muddy meadows through forest and into a broad valley. Another mile More...
This easy trail accesses Swan Lake and the Swan Lake Picnic Area that is located in upper Carroll Inlet. Please check-in with Ketchikan Public Utilities via the trailhead phone before starting your hike (a phone is provided at the trailhead for this purpose). There is a dock at the trailhead.
This is a popular trail for cyclists, families, and swimmers! Yep, on sunny days this is one of the warmer spots to take a dip. That’s because the small lakes warm up in the summer (relatively…if you’re from Florida you might disagree). The trail can be accessed using public transport, and cyclists can even mount their bike on the bus. A local bike shop does a tour More...