5. Deer Mountain, Ketchikan

Deer Mountain is a popular Ketchikan hiking trail for locals but not as well known outside Alaska as the Chilkoot Trail. Although it lacks Chilkoot’s historical legacy, the Deer Mountain Trail offers fantastic views of the islands, fjords, and channels that make up southeast Alaska. Like many of Alaska’s trails, you’ll get to experience forests, climb through meadows and alpine basins, and hike past mountains that hold snow well into the summer.

hiking in Alaska
The Deer Mountain hike offers incredible views of the fjords of southeast Alaska. Fjords of Ketchikan by Daniel Reichert licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Traverse Deer Mountain trail for a variety of views and alpine

The Deer Mountain Trail starts steep shortly after leaving the parking area. You happen upon viewpoints at both the one- and two-mile marks. At 2.5 miles, a short spur runs up to the top of Deer Mountain itself. The main trail continues past a shelter available for camping on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also take shelter at Blue Lake, and the basin between Mahoney and John Mountains is suitable for tent camping. You can also find plenty of water along the way, as long as you filter or treat it first.

If you traverse the entirety of this Ketchikan hiking tour, you’ll be crossing the mountainous spine of Revillagigedo Island. Here winter comes early and stays late. You might want to consider having an ice ax with you, even in the summer. If the weather or snow conditions seem questionable, play it safe and turn back at Blue Lake

About the author

Karl Sander

Karl Sander

Skier, hiker, and cyclist in the PNW

Karl is an adventurer and outdoor enthusiast living in the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoys alpine skiing, hiking, road biking, and camping. He’s been skiing for more than 35 years, mainly in the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Alaska. He’s camped under Alaska’s midnight sun, toured Washington’s San Juan Islands on bicycle, and his hiking adventures have taken him from the foothills of Denali and the glaciers of Alaska to Mount Adams in the Cascades and the high deserts of the Great Basin.

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