Length (one way): 3 miles
One Way Trip Time: 3 to 4 hours
Trail Begins: Baranof Street, in north Sitka.
Trail Ends: Gavan Hill Summit, elevation 2505 feet.
Trail Rating: Moderate. Rebuilt in 1993. Steep uphill climb. Bears may be present.
Recommended Season: Spring-Summer-Fall
USGS Maps: Sitka A-4
Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
Access: The trail begins within walking distance of downtown Sitka. The marked trailhead is just past the house at 500 Baranof Street.
History: Built in 1937 to provide forest access to recreationists and hunters.
Special Features: Good access to alpine country for exploring and camping. Excellent vistas of Sitka and surrounding country. This trail connects with the Harbor Mountain Trail, which terminates at the end of the Harbor Mountain Road, atop Harbor Mountain.
Description: The first half mile of trail follows the path of an old pipeline northeast across gently sloping muskegs and scrubby forests. The trail enters the forest and begins climbing the side of Gavan Hill. At about 3/4 mile up the trail, the Cross Trail, a marked trail skirting Sitka, branches off to the left. The Gavan Hill Trail continues up while looping east and north along a low ridge. At an elevation of about 500 feet it begins a series of numerous switchbacks up the southeast flank of Gavan Hill. Upon attaining the Gavan Hill ridge, the trail runs through a forest of stunted trees, which gives way to subalpine meadows after a quarter mile. The first peak (elevation 2100 ft.) is reached after a half mile, and includes a steep 200 foot climb. The trail continues another quarter mile northwest along the ridge to a second peak (elevation 2505 ft.) Rock cairns (piles) and a gravel path mark the way along the last half mile of the trail which leads to the Gavan/Harbor Mountain Hut (shelter).