Ketchikan Alaska Trails
Cool trails in and around Ketchikan
The trails around Ketchikan offer superb opportunities for hiking, biking and walking. From the rainforest beauty of Perseverence Trail, to the steep and stunning alpine terrain of Deer Mountain. The scenery and opportunity to observe wildlife are unparalleled. Great mountains for steep hikes and endless alpine views, hidden coves and lakes for leisurely strolls, to watch wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Exploring the great outdoors and adventure travel activities continue daily despite an occasional showers. Mountains with misty clouds draped about their shoulders are softened and magically beautiful.
Download PDF from the US Forest Service
Trail Maintenance Agencies
The hiking trails included in this guide are maintained by federal, state, and local agencies. These trails range in length and difficulty and provide a variety of recreation opportunities. This trail guide includes detailed information about trails accessible from the Ketchikan road system and brief descriptions of remote trails accessed near Ketchikan. For more information about trails in the Ketchikan area, and for current trail conditions, please contact the following agencies:
USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region
Tongass National Forest Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District
3031 Tongass Avenue
Ketchikan, AK 99901
Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Alaska State Parks
Ketchikan Ranger Station
9883 N. Tongass Hwy.
Ketchikan, AK 99901
Ketchikan Outdoor Recreation and Trails Coalition
Recommended Equipment and Safety Gear for Ketchikan Trails
Whether you are going out for a quick day hike or an extended
trip, certain items should ALWAYS be packed for safety.
• Drinking water and food
• Local maps
• Space Blanket
• Tent/Emergency Shelter
• Extra clothes
• Rain gear
• First Aid Kit
• Compass and Map/Global Positioning System (GPS)
• Signaling device (e.g. whistle, flares)
Recommended Equipment and Safety Gear for Ketchikan Trails
• Let Someone Know When You Go! Before departing, leave a trip itinerary and estimated time of return with family or friends to ensure that proper help can be provided in case of an emergency.
• The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, (907) 225-9010, has Satellite Personal Tracker locators available for use on your hike. This tool allows you to notify the rescue squad of your position and status throughout your hike.
• Bring your phone! Although service may by spotty, cell phone reception is available in many areas on trails in Ketchikan.
Wild Weather Warning
Ketchikan averages about 165 inches of rainfall each year. Weather patterns can be unpredictable, with varying conditions depending on your specific location. Be sure to review weather forecasts
before leaving on your hike and always prepare for a variety of weather conditions. In areas of high elevation, heavy fog and rain often decrease visibility and may create dangerous hiking conditions.
When hiking in the Ketchikan area, you are traveling in bear country. Revillagigedo Island is home to a large population of black bears (Ursus americanus). Brown bears (Ursus arctos horribilis)
do not inhabit Revillagigedo Island; they are only present on the mainland and select islands in Southeast Alaska. Follow the etiquette below when travelling in bear country as these animals are extremely powerful and may be unpredictable.
• Travel in groups or make noise when traveling alone.
• If you encounter a bear, make your presence known through verbal communication as well as hand motions.
Slowly back away from the bear while maintaining eye contact. NEVER RUN from an approaching bear as this may prompt a predatory response.
• Never store food or cook near your camping/sleeping area.
Create a “kitchen” several hundred yards away to ensure bears are not attracted to your site during the night. Do not take food or scented toiletry items into your tent.
• In mid to late summer, during the Pacific salmon spawn, bears congregate along streams and rivers. Take caution when traveling along these waterways, as the running water may mask your approach and lead to close encounters.
Ketchikan Alaska Trails
Revillagigedo Island Marine Route:
Camping, day hiking; multi-day hiking; ocean kayaking, opportunities for wildlife viewing including bears, wolves, mountain goats, harbor seals, Steller’s sea lions, Dall porpoise, humpback whales, orcas, Sitka black-tail deer, eagles, and a variety of marine and land birds.
Deer Mountain Trail/Silvis Lake John Mountain Trail:
The Deer Mountain Trailhead is reached by heading south on Tongass Highway 1/2 mile to Tatsuda’s Supermarket. Turn left onto Deermount St. Follow Deermount until it dead ends at T-intersection. Turn right at T and follow hiker signs. Trail length is 9.9 miles from City of Ketchikan to Lower Silvis Lake. This trail is rated most difficult. It ascends steeply from the Ketchikan Trailhead to a spectacular overlook of Ketchikan and the surrounding area.
It is a 2.5 mile hike to the Deer Mountain Recreation Cabin. From there, experienced hikers can continue past the summit. The trail crosses high alpine ridges and can be dangerous due to elevation and poor weather conditions. It is not well marked as it approaches Silvis Lakes. Dramatic alpine scenery makes the hike well worth the effort.
Blueberries2.3 miles from trailhead to Perseverence Lake. Trailhead located approximately 8 miles drive from Ketchikan, across the road from the Ward Lake Recreation Area, near the entrance to 3 C’s Campground. Trail provides easy hiking access to fishing in Perseverence Lake, berry picking, and camping.
Ward Lake Nature Trail:
Trail traversing 1.3 miles around Ward Lake located 8 miles north of Ketchikan by road. Trail is gravel surfaced and easy to hike. Signs interpreting old-growth forests are located along the trail. This is a heavily used trail connecting all of the facilities located around Ward Lake including campgrounds, picnic areas, and fishing sites.
There are four trailheads that access the Ward Creek Trail. Follow the North Tongass Highway, take a right on the Revilla Road Junction and follow it to the Ward Lake Road junction. The primary trailhead is located approximately one mile past the junction on the right side of the road. The other trailheads are located at Amana Gulch, Ward Lake Day Use Area, and the Last Chance Campground.
Connell Lake Trail:
Connell Lake Composed of boardwalk and gravel, this trail traverses an old growth forest, offering views of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western red cedar. Blueberries, salmonberries, and huckleberries are plentiful in the summer, as are forest birds. The trail ends at the outlet of Talbot Lake, providing access to trout fishing on two lakes. In addition to day hiking, there is dispersed camping for multi-day hiking.
List of Trails and Details:
Low Lake Trail
2.1 miles from Thorne Arm to Low Lake, Fish Creek, and ending at Big Lake in Misty Fiords National Monument. Adjacent to the Low Lake trailhead is Gokachin Lake Trail proceeding from Thorne Arm up Fish Creek and ending at Star Lake also in Misty Fiords National Monument. Both of these trails access good fishing and are useable from the Fish Creek Cabin.
Naha River Trail
5.4 miles from Naha Bay Dock to Heckman Lake Cabin on Heckman Lake. Trail passes the Naha River Shelter and the Jordan Lake Cabin. Excellent wildlife observation, fishing, camping, and hiking are accessed by this trail.
Connell Lake Trail
Trailhead can be accessed by driving up the Ward Lake Road, past the Ward Lake Recreation Area, and turning into the Connell Lake Dam parking area. Trail is 2.0 miles in length and easy access along the shore of Connell Lake for berry picking, fishing, nature study, and camping.
Reflection Lake Trail
2.3 miles from Short Bay in northern Behm Canal to Reflection Lake cabin. Recreation opportunities include Steelhead and salmon fishing in Short Creek along with trout and dolly varden fishing in Reflection Lake. This trail provides access to Reflection Lake Cabin. Because the bridge about 3/4 mile from saltwater is out, hikers must ford the stream. This is only possible during low water. Mooring buoy is located in Short Bay for small boat moorage.
Orchard Lake Trail
1.2 miles from Shrimp Bay to Orchard Lake. Trail, rated more difficult, is steep to the crest of a ridge west of Orchard Lake, then drops into Orchard Lake. Trail provides access to Plenty Cutthroat Recreation Cabin. trail provides scenic views of one of the twin waterfalls on Orchard Creek, and trout fishing. Buoy located at Klu Bay.
Swan Lake Trail
1 mile easy hike to Swan Lake. Trailhead is located at a saltwater dock at the Swan Lake Picnic Area in upper Carroll Inlet. Hikers must check in with Ketchikan Public Utilities caretaker at Swan Lake before beginning hike. A phone at the trailhead is provided for this purpose.
Wolf Lake Trail
Trailhead is located 15 air miles north of Ketchikan in Moser Bay. 2.6 miles in length. Provides access to a 1930’s vintage Civilian Conservation Corps 3-sided shelter at the outlet of Wolf Lake. Access to trout fishing and hunting. This is a primitive trail accessed by boat or plane. The creek between upper and lower Wolf Lakes must be forded.
McDonald Lake Trail
1.3 miles from Yes Bay to Wolverine Island in McDonald Lake. Access to McDonald Lake Recreation Cabin and fishing.
Bakewell Lake Trail
1.0 miles from Bakewell Arm to Bakewell Lake. The trail is an easy hike. The first 0.5 miles of the trail follows an overgrown abandoned road. Road was used in mid-1950’s for construction of a fish ladder located at the mid-point of the trail. The fish ladder allows salmon to get over a spectacular 40 foot waterfall. Fishing is excellent year round. A skiff where the trail intersects the lake allows exploration of the lake. There is no mooring buoy in Bakewell Arm.
Checats Cove Trail
1.1 miles from Behm Canal to Lower Checats Lake. The trail is an easy hike. Checats Cove offers numerous discoveries for the amateur explorer. The trail runs the entire length of Checats Creek. The stream has a strong salmon run in August thus providing an excellent opportunity to watch salmon spawning. This is a true wilderness trail. Low visitor use results in a very serene setting.
Ella Lake Trail
2.5 miles from Ella Bay to Lower Ella Lake. The trail is an easy hike. It travels through old growth spruce, hemlock, and cedar forest, muskegs and grass meadows. The upper stretches follow Ella Creek closely. Most of the trail is improved with puncheon boardwalks or wood chip tread making walking relatively easy. There is a mooring buoy in Ella Bay. A bubbling soda spring can also be found during low tides. It is located about 114 mile north of the trailhead in the intertidal zone of Ella Bay. Look for the rock cairn marking the springs.
Hugh Smith Trail
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 about 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. No skiff is provided on this lake.
Lake Grace Trail
2.3 miles from Grace Cove to Lake Grace. This trail is rated most difficult. Be prepared for some hard hiking, but the beauty and excellent trout fishing make it all worth while. Except for the trail, there are no recreation facilities present on site.
Humpback Creek Trail
3.0 miles from Mink Bay to Humpback Lake. This trail is rated most difficult and includes a steep climb to the top of Humpback Hill. The route takes a hiker through scenic old growth forests, beautiful muskegs, several small ponds, and sounds of waterfalls seem to come from every direction. The trail ends at Humpback Lake near a small logjam that provides excellent cover for trout.
Manzanita Lake Trail
3.5 miles from Manzanita Bay to Manzanita Lake. This trail is rated moderately difficult. This trail passes through large expanses of muskegs with many beaver ponds. A ridge also allows a panoramic view of the area. The trail includes a unique opportunity to hike on boardwalk across the top of a log jam. This is an excellent place for birding as there is open muskeg as well as dense timber. Wolves are seen frequently in this area. Manzanita Bay Shelter is located near the trailhead.
Nooya Lake Trail
1 mile from Rudyerd Bay to Nooya Lake-one of Misty Fiord’s glacially formed lakes with high granite walls. This trail is rated moderately difficult. Recreational facilities at Nooya Lake include a shelter that can be accessed by the skiff found at the end of the trail.
Punchbowl Lake Trail
0.9 miles from Punchbowl Cove to shelter at Punchbowl Lake. This is considered Misty Fiord’s most popular trail. It begins as a combination of boardwalk and natural tread. As the route starts to gain elevation, stairs are notched out of old fallen trees and switchbacks lead up the slope. While the climb is quite steep, there are many vantage points where you can stop to catch your breath, only to have it taken away again by the beauty of the landscape. At the 0.5 mile point, the trail appears to dead end at a spectacular waterfall. The last section of trail follows the stream to the corner of Punchbowl Lake where soaring granite cliffs fringe the lake. Punchbowl Lake has an island in the center of it, on which there is a small lake. From above, it was thought to resemble a ring of ice floating in a punchbowl – hence the name.
Winstanley Lake Trail
2.3 miles from the mooring buoy in Shoalwater Cove past Lower Winstanley Lake to the shelter at Winstanley Lake. This trail is rated moderately difficult. After the first mile, the trail crosses Winstanley Creek on a bridge built using traditional hand tools. Take a few minutes to observe the details in construction of this 65 foot bridge. The trail continues on past muskegs, beaver ponds, and old growth timber. The second crossing of Winstanley Creek must be accomplished by wading as the bridge has recently washed out. Panoramic views and excellent birding opportunities abound. A skiff is provided at the Winstanley Lake Shelter.
4.8 miles from trailhead parking up the Fish Creek drainage to an old mine site and cabin remains located below the summit of Mt. Welker. The trailhead is located 6 miles north of Hyder on the Fish Creek Road. Titan Trail provides beautiful panoramas of the Fish Creek and Salmon River valley. At the top of the trail there is a spectacular view of the surrounding glacial ice fields. 1/4 mile south of the trailhead is the Hyder Bear Observatory.
Black Mountain Trail
Length 1.2 miles, elevation gain 150 feet, accessible by boat it is located 8 miles from town at Icehouse Cove.
Connell Lake Trail
Length 1 mile, elevation gain 100 feet, located at the Connell Lake Dam site.
Gokachin Lake Trail
Length 1 mile, elevation gain 300 feet, accessible by boat or floatplane, located 26 miles from town at the head of Thorne Arm near the fish Creek Recreational Cabin.
Silvis Lake Trail
Length 2 miles to Lower Silvis Lake, 3 miles to Upper Silvis Lake, elevation gain 1112 feet (to Upper Lake), located 15 miles south of town at the end of the road.