The best hike from Ketchikan  is up to the 3,000-foot summit of Deer Mountain (6 miles round-trip). Begin by heading 0.5 miles uphill from Deermount and Fair Streets. Take the first left—the road to Ketchikan Lakes, source of the city’s drinking water—and then an immediate right to the trailhead.
The trail climbs along an excellent but strenuous path through dense Sitka spruce and western hemlock forests. There’s an incredible view in all directions from the top of Deer Mountain, but right into July you’ll have to cross snowbanks to reach the summit. (Rain gear works fine for sledding down again.)
Just before the final climb to the peak, a trail to the left leads around the north slope and on to tiny Blue Lake and John Mountain (3,238 feet). Entirely above the tree line, this section can be hazardous for inexperienced hikers. Carry a map and compass since it’s easy to become disoriented if the clouds drop down.
Ambitious hikers can do a 12-mile trek over the top, ending at Beaver Falls powerhouse, at the end of South Tongass Highway. Free shelter cabins (no reservations) are atop Deer Mountain and at Blue Lake; get current trail info at the Discovery Center .