Deer Mountain sits in the background of the town of Ketchikan, Alaska. It also happened to be my view over coffee every morning from the cozy comfort of my little apartment.
The summit of Deer Mountain is at about 3,000 feet which occurs over the course of about 3 and a half miles. The trailhead is in the town of Ketchikan. However, if you’re only visiting for the day, I suggest a taxi to the trailhead. The road leading up to it is steep and not exactly scenic. Why waste your energy, right?
At the summit, there is a forest service cabin awaiting hikers who feel like resting their heads atop the mountain for a night. Maybe to try to catch the northern lights on a clear night or maybe just for some peace and quiet.
Bryce and I hiked up one morning after getting a hardy breakfast at New York Cafe and waiting through the heaviest part of the rain that had been coming down all morning. We started making our way while it was still drizzling, knowing that our hike would not be a very dry one.
And it wasn’t, but with all the coverage the rain wasn’t so bothersome. It was muddy. And we both fell a few times along the way, but it was still pretty pleasant all the way up. At the least, we never got too hot.
Once we reached the top, we were very confident in their being some stormy weather that night. It was super windy, in the way that is a little discomforting. But once we got to the cabin, we cozied up together to relax and wait for spurts of calm to go wander around the summit.
The cabin itself was so sweet! I couldn’t get over it. Very simple structure of course, but I absolutely adored it. It was efficient and functional and rather quaint for a free spot to stay. Who’s going to complain about a place to rest one’s head out of the rain rather than carrying up a tent and still probably ending up soaked? It could house quite a few people who were comfortable with a hard sleeping surface including all the wider bench seating and loft space upstairs.
Since it was a quick one night trip, we only brought sandwiches, fruit, some whiskey and dessert of course. So, we had our little picnic in the loft of the forest service cabin. We listened to music, sang to each other, and watched the rain come down hard outside. It was just lovely.
During the night, it did get a bit colder than we had anticipated but nothing unmanageable. We wondered a bit how wet the trail was going to be on the way down after the night before. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t too bad at all. The hike down was calm and rather clear. Much more so than the day before.
Although its considered a difficult hike, I would definitely suggest it as a day hike if you’re in decent shape. Or even check it out as far as the mile marker. We ran into plenty of people doing just that. You still get a pretty good view and feel for the forest from there. If you’re going to summit though, just make sure to bring a rain coat and something dry and warm for once you get to the top.
Do you have a favorite hike on Ketchikan? Let me know in the comments below.