Among the best parts of working in Alaska is the backcountry camping in your backyard. If you’re working in Ketchikan and want to explore the stunning nature around you, we recommend staying the night at one of these three campgrounds.
Camping in Alaska gives you a few options. People often either use an established campground or rent a cabin from a private party, Ketchikan locals or the U.S. Forest Service. Many of these options are handicap-accessible and have standard facilities, such as outhouses, campfire pits, and clean well water. However, experienced backpackers may opt for dispersed camping, which forgoes any facilities and offers a more natural, bare-bones camping experience.
Settlers Cove State Recreation Area, located about 30 minutes north of downtown Ketchikan, is among the best attractions in the Ketchikan Region and an absolute delight for kayakers. The Settlers Cove campground is snuggled in a remote, scenic spot in Clover Passage. You’ll get to set up your tent among Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Sitka Spruce trees, which are homes to plenty of small, cute critters. The lush temperate rainforest is home to multiple hiking trails, fishing spots, and mountain biking trails. Plus, the Hollow Cedar Beach Access Trail is ADA-approved and offers easy access to the Clover Passage beach picnic shelter.
Signal Creek Campground, located seven miles north of downtown Ketchikan, is among the few campgrounds open year-round. The well-developed campground lies on the banks of Ward Lake and straddles Signal Creek. The campground is centrally located, so within minutes you can go freshwater fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing. It’s an awesome place to unwind after a long work week! If you want an easy scenic hike to start your day, we recommend the Ward Lake Nature Travel trail, which circles 1.3 miles around Ward Lake.
If the popular Signal Creek campground is booked, then a few miles away is another great option. Last Chance Campground is located nine miles north of downtown Ketchikan and offers many of the same activities you’ll find at Signal Creek. The biggest difference is Last Chance hugs Last Chance Creek, which flows through the campground, offering a lovely babbling brook to sip your morning coffee next to. You also still have easy access to fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.
Dispersed campsites are small, undeveloped sites that are large enough for one or two tents, and lack any of type of modern facilities such as bathrooms, electricity or clean water. Dispersed camping is an excellent option if you have previous camping and backpacking skills and want some solitude to enjoy the Alaska forests. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a list of dispersed camping options, with descriptions of how to access the camping spots and the rules for using them. Do be aware, some of these dispersed camping grounds are difficult to access and may not be regularly maintained by the USFS, so make sure you have plenty of supplies before venturing off into the backcountry.
Working in Alaska will give you access to some of the most beautiful locations on Earth. Alaska is truly a wonderland for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and hikers. Are you ready to create your own once-in-a-lifetime Alaska adventure? Great! Search our current job openings and begin your journey this season.