Teague's Tales from the Trails of the Tongass
The Ketchikan area has some very rich rain-forest and alpine hiking; however, only a select few of these trails are even designated for use by guided commercial tours, which leaves many of the trails open just for locals and the adventurous solo explorer who may be visiting. And for those of you who would like to discover some further trails to hike while you are here, allow me to guide you through your trail research as you look for possible unguided hikes to do on your own in and around Ketchikan during your stay. Below, I’ve assembled a handful of trail write-ups for your reading pleasure that synthesize personal stories from my trail experiences with some practical information about what to expect on each of these trails. Before you venture out on these trails, please be sure to read my Intro to Hiking In Ketchikan, Alaska to ensure how to be best prepared. However, if you are more interested in a guided hiking experience, please click here: Ketchikan Guided Hiking Tours or Hike To Coast Guard Beach.
If anyone would like to supplement the information provided in these trail write-ups with a copy of the National Forest Service’s Ketchikan Area Trails Guide, photocopies can be picked up at The Alaska Fish House or accessed online here: Ketchikan Area Trails Guide. Before you read on, please understand that I and/or the owners of Solo Ketchikan website are not liable for any of the subjective information presented in this introduction and in each of the trail vignettes. Each person who ventures out on any of the trails in and around Ketchikan does so at their own risk and will be responsible for his/her own safety, choices, consequences, and of course enjoyment. Now that we’ve got that out the way . . .
Coast guard beach
Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve had a Sunday late-afternoon or early-evening walk that has helped me to work out those upcoming Monday returning-to-work blues. Sunday evenings growing up, my father and I, and sometimes my younger sisters and my mother (and a dog), would often hike at our closest wooded state park in Southeast Michigan—Highland Recreation Area. . .
Dude mountain (2848 ft.)
Dude Mountain is one of my favorite hikes in Ketchikan and has actually become a traditional new-year hike for me. Now, my new-year is not the usual January 1st New Year’s Day. For much of my adult life, as an undergraduate and graduate student and as a professor, many of my major life changes have often occurred at the beginning of the academic calendar year . . .
Deer Mountain (3001 ft.)
Deer Mountain, Ketchikan’s idyllic backdrop, holds a special place in my heart in that it was the first trail I ever hiked when I first came to visit my sister in Ketchikan in the late 90s. This trail is one of the most accessible trails from downtown Ketchikan, like where my sister lived at the end of Married Man’s Trail at the time. So the morning of New Year’s Day . . .
My first date with my girlfriend was hiking the Lunch Creek Trail on Memorial Day. We had just met the Friday before at our mutual friends’ dinner party. Years later, looking back on that dinner, we wonder if they were trying to set us up, but they deny any intention of that. After the dinner . . .
Wherever I have lived, I’ve always had a stock, go-to walk that was a no-brainer for just getting me out of the house for some quick, maintenance exercise in the woods for some peace-of-mind. That walk for me in Ketchikan has become Ward Lake.
From trailhead 1 at the Ward Lake parking lot, Ward Creek became my go-to trail to run after work in the spring and fall because it was on my way to and from work. Located in the Tongass National Forest, Ward Creek is wide enough to . . .