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.
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