Mount Verstovia Trail
Length (one way): 2.5 miles
One Way Trip Time: 3 hours
Trail Begins: 2 miles east of Sitka on Sawmill Creek Road.
Trail Ends: Summit of Mt. Verstovia. (See below for names. )
Trail Rating: Difficult. Steep trail with many switchbacks. Tread in poor condition. Wet and muddy. Difficult to find trailhead due to brush. Cleared, brushed, 1981. Bears may be present.
Recommended Season: Spring-Summer-Fall
USGS Maps: Sitka A-4
Elevation Gain: 2550 ft. to Verstovia 3300 ft. to Arrowhead.Access: Two miles east of Sitka along Sawmill Creek Road, near the sports bar”Rookies”.
History: The lower hill slope was logged by the Russians in 1860. Russian charcoal pits are still somewhat visible about a quarter mile up the trail. The trail was first built in the 1930′s for recreational purposes of local residents.
Special Features: The view from Verstovia is spectacular. The trail ends in sub-alpine meadows.
Description: The trailhead is on the west side of Rookies sports bar, and is quite brushy. The first short segment of trail runs through thickets of alder and salmonberry; soon thereafter it enters the western hemlock-spruce forest where it remains until breaking over the ridge on the west shoulder of Verstovia.
About a third of a mile along the trail, a series of switchbacks begin up the southwest side of the mountain. Because the trail is not well maintained, it is possible to lose the switchbacks if you aren’t careful. There are a couple of nice viewpoints in forest openings along this part of the trail. At about 2000 feet the trail reaches a gentle ridge and generally follows it east up to the summit of Verstovia (2550 feet).
The vegetation change between the 2000 foot level and summit is dramatic. One moves from An open forest dominated by mountain hemlock into brushy meadows, across snowfields, through grassy sub-alpine meadows and finally into a rocky alpine area with stunted, twisted plants.
Arrowhead Peak can be climbed by heading northeast along the rocky alpine ridge connecting Verstovia and Arrowhead. It takes about an hour to reach and climb Arrowhead from Verstovia. The last part of this climb is quite steep and exposed; only for the sure-footed climber.
Special Note: The peak names, Arrowhead and Verstovia used here follow local usage that does not correspond to the topographic map Sitka A-4. Local name Verstovia is the same as peak 2550 on the USGS map. Local name Arrowhead is the same as Verstovia on the USGS map.