If you are looking to explore south of Ketchikan, this trail is one of the few out south and is the newest trail as well. It’s a well-maintained service road that leads to two dams. This hike offers a nice wide-open space experience and is not very long.
Much like hiking the access road to Lower Silvis Lake, the Whitman Trail is a service road to two dams that generate electricity for Ketchikan residents and was recently made available for hiking and recreation; however, no motorized vehicles are permitted. Informative signs are posted on a fence gate up the road and on both dams. About a half-mile up the road, you come to a fork. Taking the left fork, you follow the switchback to the right where you discover a flat, gravel platform complete with a picnic table overlooking the service road in and the sunny mountains on the other side of George Inlet. From here, walk the shady road back to where Whitman Creek flows to the right and the road dead-ends at the Whitman Lake Dam. According to a sign here, the Whitman Lake Dam has been a dam since 1908 when it was built out of logs. Then in 1926 it was rebuilt with concrete. Unfortunately, there is no public access to the top of the dam where one would hope to get a glimpse of Whitman Lake. Instead, enjoy the picturesque ridge between Deer Mountain and Northbird Peak poking up from the lip of the dam.
Walking back down to the fork in the road, venture up the right arm of the road. Cross over Whitman Creek and began following Achilles Creek on your right until the road dead-ends again at the Achilles Creek Diversion Dam. Here a sign shares some more history of the multiple uses of this water for power, drinking water, and the salmon hatchery. On the way back down the trail, enjoy the scenery in reverse, this time taking in the distant entrance to George Inlet and the mountains across the water.
0.7-mile to Whitman Lake Dam (20-30 min)
0.8 mile to Achilles Creek Diversion (20-30 min)
Distance: Round-trip 2.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 feet