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Thread: need advice for 3 week backpack trip

  1. #1

    Default need advice for 3 week backpack trip

    Seeking comments on a trip in the planning stages. The three of us fly into Ketchican first week of July, we will have the ability to rent cars or take rains along the way, we plan to use the AK Marine ferry to head North we will be carrying our backpacking gear only. So basically a backpacking Marine Ferry trip for 3 weeks starting in Ketchican. Any suggetions from the experienced along this route would be appreciated. (we are seasoned backpackers and have camped the interior of AK before). Best places to visit, camp, hiking, fishing, train? thanks

  2. #2
    Member Fish Blood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    Chillikoot trail out of Skagway has huge historical significance. Probably can't get a permit to camp, but could do part of it as a day hike.

  3. #3

    Default Chilkoot Trail is not worth hiking for a seasoned hikers

    it is monitored by the Mounties and is like hiking a boulder staircase with many rules as to where you can walk, camp, etc and is strickly enforced...not much adventure...

  4. #4
    Member Roger45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK


    You really need to have more details...what are your priorities? Do you want flat hiking, or do you want steep climbing? Simple or challenging hike? Day hikes, or full time back country? Is fishing a priority? It kind of sounds like you want to catch a ferry for a day or so, then hike at a spot for a few days, unsure if you want to use a tent, but I will assume so... Every port of call along the inside passage have trails to the top of local peaks...Ketchikan has a really great trail system that can be a little challenging and worth the time to do. On the other hand, you could ferry over to POW Island (Prince Of Wales) and have some simple hikes with world class steelhead fishing...
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Deltana, AK


    Not many long backpacking trips in Southeast (Chilkoot being the exception). There are many fantastic and challenging day hikes though, which can easily be stretched into overnight backpack trips. Seems the best way to organize your trek is to ferry hop between the towns, spending 2-4 days around each, spending your nights camped in the local mountains. You'll probably want to rent a car for a few days in Juneau, but the road systems in the other towns don't really warrant it. You also might consider renting a car in Skagway and driving the big loop through Whitehorse to Haines, with a spur to Kluane National Park, which has great backpacking country.

    A few suggestions:
    Ketchikan - Deer Mountain
    Sitka - Mt. Verstovia (or Mt. Edgecrumb accessed by water taxi)
    Juneau - Mt. Juneau and McGinnis Mountain
    Haines - Mt. Ripinski and Mt. Riley
    Skagway - Chilkoot Trail, Upper Dewey Lake, and Laughton Glacier (rail access only)
    Plus tundra hiking around the alpine mountain passes that lead to Haines and Skagway

    Note that Petersburg, Wrangell, and Prince of Wales Island are all very worth visiting, but the local mountains aren't as large and spectacular as around the other Southeast towns.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Here's a link to some hikes out of the Skagway area.

    The link for the Chilkoot Trail is here:
    Here's the link on fees:

    I did the hike about 14 years ago, and my experience was different from Oneriver. Never saw an actual Mountie. Yes, there are designated campsites on both sides of the border. Where you can walk seemed, in large part, controlled by the terrain. Going off-trail in steep rain forest hillside on the Dyea side didn't look too appealing. The Canadians have a 50-person limit per day on their side of the border, so other than the camping areas I found a fair amount of solitude as the 50 people are strung along 15-20 miles of trail. There is a boulder field to climb -- the "Golden Staircase" made famous from the 1898 photographs. We did it in July and there was still a fair amount of snow and there were well kicked-in foot treads. Regardless of the weather, that stretch is only a mile or so if my fading memory serves me correctly.

    Enjoy your Alaska visit!


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