Hiking Alaska: A Guide to Alaska's Greatest Hiking Adventures
by Mollie Foster (Falcon Guides)
© 2017 Mollie Foster/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I give this hike 4 stars only because we hiked past Deer Mountain to Blue Lake. Deer Mountain is fine but there are nicer views and better trails in South East Alaska. However once you continue on the trail down some hills and up again for a traverse on ridge tops, you're in for a special treat. Alpine heather mixed with dwarf lupine, incredible views up to Misty Fjords (we had a sunny cloudless day) and even the snow-capped mountains of Canada. There were 3 mountain goats grazing above Blue Lake today, and we encountered a couple ptarmigans on the way up too. Coming back to Deer Mountain, we swung by the shelter where 2 guys were setting up camp for the night. When you go, plan for the extra 4+ miles to Blue Lakes, it's definitely rewarding and it feels "out there" - much more than when you still have a view over Ketchikan.
This hike is pretty incredible. The first two miles is hikin through a rain forest with moss coating the ground. Everything is very green and also very wet. The trail is covered with loose rock and has lots of water throughout. With decent hiking shoes and a walking stick there should be no problem slipping. After the 2 mile lookout the forest is temperate and much drier. In mid July there are several patches of snow. One patch was 30 m and right on the trail but hiking up it was easy. View at 1 mile is limited, view at 2 mile is good and decent from the peak but it may be in the clouds. In my opinion the best view is right after the split to the peak where it is somewhat steep and grassy on the switchbacks so there is an unobstructed view of the town and lower Ketchikan lake. Hiking times (in min) (moderate speed with some camera breaks). (27 - Ship dock to trailhead) (95 - Trailhead to 2 mile lookout) (11 - To peak split) (15 - To peak)
Actually this was the first major hike I have ever done. The trail was well marked once you got there. There were signs along the way telling you the elevation. We went in early June of 2008 and made it just over 1700 to 1800 feet before running into ice and snow on the trail, making the trail impassable. It was a little disappointing because we wanted to see the view all the books talk about. You need to be in fairly good shape to make this climb that is steep in some places. We passed many people on this trail probably because there were about 5 cruise ships in port at the time. I would do this trail again.
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