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 through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation.
The main beach can be accessed three ways. From the parking lot by the host’s cabin, a stairwell leads directly down to the beach. To the left is the Hollow Cedar Beach Access Trail, which winds down to the beach, and there is another access trail from the campground, which enters from the right. On very warm days, this is a very popular swimming destination for the locals. The access road will be lined with parked cars because when the tide is out, both beaches are fenced in by rocky outcrops that heat up in the sun, and when the tide comes back in, the heated slabs and sandy shale warm up the shallower water for more enjoyable swimming. This is a wonderful area to sunbathe, picnic, play catch, and paddle a boat and enjoy the stunning views of points north and Prince of Wales Island off to the east of Clover Passage.
The second beach is not officially recognized by the park and does not have a directly accessible trail to it, which requires a little off-road walking, but if you are looking for something a little more secluded and less crowded, this is a great option. This beach is best accessed using the Hollow Cedar Beach Access Trail. About half-way down, look for where others may have veered off trail to the left in order to climb down to the rocky shoreline. Then you need to carefully pick your way over the rocks to the smaller sandy beach. Please be mindful of hightides in order to make sure you can walk in and back out.
If you have any questions, please visit the campground host in the cabin by the upper parking lot.