Sitka Alaska has it all: ocean, lakes, rainforest, muskegs, and mountains making it a perfect destination for hikers. The trails around town are well-kept, well-marked, and stunning. It’s impossible to find a sub-par hiking trail here, but with this guide you can pick and choose hikes that best match your preferences.
Regardless of your level of experience, please be hike prepared. Even experts on well-traveled paths have had an unlucky day and been lost. Inquisitive brown bears do investigate trails, even in winter. Rainy weather or ice can make trails slippery and dangerous. Windy mountaintops can be colder than expected and wintertime snowdrifts can be deceptively deep. Take basic safety precautions, and Sitka has a safe Alaskan hiking adventure for everyone from seasoned summiters to newbies.
Summit an Alaskan mountain during your visit! Decide for yourself whether the trails of Gavan Hill/Harbor Mountain or Mount Verstovia is “best.” Both have incredible views of the surrounding wilderness and Sitka Sound, and both are pretty vigorous all-day hikes.
Fed by snow melt, the fresh waters are key to the island’s wildlife cycle and invite the brave for some chilly swimming. Medvejie Lake has one of the most dramatic settings of Sitka’s lakes, surrounded by cliff-like peaks and Tongass National Forest. Someone has also left a first-come, first-served paddle boat for the adventurous. Beaver Lake is an all-time favorite. The trail not only circles the beautiful lake itself, but also passes a waterfall and trudges through muskegs.
Sitka National Historical (Totem) Park is easily accessible from the city center. The trail runs through a beach-front forest and informational plaques guide you through the city’s Russian history and Native Alaskan culture. Mosquito Cove takes you right through some of Sitka’s best dramatic rainforest. During low tide, hikers can access small islands and tide pools along the shore. Not far, the Starrigavan Estuary Loop/Muskeg Trail has an informative boardwalk with plenty of opportunities for bird watching and other wildlife viewing. Some parts of the Cross Trail offer great views of the unique muskeg terrain and weaves in and out of different types of forest just steps from the city’s streets.