Move over, Moab. Take a hike, Sedona. Day hikers looking for the ultimate trekking experience need to lace up their boots, fill up their water bottles, throw on their packs and head out to Juneau, Alaska.
Boasting the claim “it’s where the mountains meet the sea,” and “where the city meets the country,” — Juneau is a day-hiking mecca.
Set along the Inside Passage, Juneau sets the standard for the wilderness experience — bears eagles, glaciers, snow-capped peaks — and a trail system that’s accessible from its downtown.
But there’s more: Enjoy the wilderness by day, and once your trek is over you can enjoy a meal, a brew and a night’s stay in town. Juneau has the best of both worlds.
Over 100 Miles Of Trails
Juneau’s rich network of trails (over 20 trails, spanning over 100 miles) leaves day hikers with a myriad of hiking options. Trekkers can set out from downtown Juneau, Douglas Island (West Juneau), Auke Bay, and the Mendenhall Valley.
Minutes from downtown, hikers can access four great trails. They include the 3-mile (one-way) Perseverance Trail, the city’s most popular; take in the scenic views from the 3-mile (one-way) Mount Juneau Trail; finish the 3.5-mile Salmon Creek Trail (one-way) by fishing for brook trout at the Salmon Creek dam; and summit the 4.5-mile (one-way) Mount Roberts Trail.
The scenic Gold Creek along the Perseverance Trail.
Heading across to Douglas Island, hikers can explore the steep slopes of the 2.6-mile (one-way) Mount Jumbo Trail (also known as Mount Bradley); test their endurance on the 12-mile section (one-way) of the Treadwell Ditch Trail between the Eaglecrest Ski Area and the Dan Moller Trail; and end their hike with a night at the Dan Moller Cabin (reservation required) on the 3-mile (one-way) Dan Moller Trail.
Heading over to the Mendenhall Valley, hikers are treated to great views of the Mendenhall Glacier on the 3.5-mile (one-way) East Glacier Loop Trail; they can walk through time on the .5-mile (one-way) Trail of the Glacier; and watch for bears on the 9.5-mile (one-way) Montana Creek Trail.
Auke Bay: Berry Picking, Fishing
Heading out to the Auke Bay Area, hikers can feast on blueberries and huckleberries after hiking the 3-mile (one-way) Spaulding Meadow Trail; fish and keep any eye out for bears on the 3.5-mile Windfall Lake Trail; and enjoy the scenic views of the Chilkat Mountains and spend a night at the John Muir Cabin on the 3-mile (one-way) Auke Nu Trail.
Juneau is bear country (both black and brown), so before hitting the trails brush up on the necessary outdoor skills. The local Tongass National Forest Service office (http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/) has a great brochure on traveling in bear country.
While you’re there, pick up a copy of “Juneau Trails: Guide to the Trails of Juneau,” Alaska ($4.00, Alaska Natural History Association); and Jim DuFresne’s “Hiking in Alaska” ($19.99, Lonely Planet) is a another great guidebook. If you need bear spray, head over to Western Auto in the Valley (yes, they carry sporting goods, too). Foggy Mountain and the Outdoor Headquarters also carry outdoor gear.
For more information, contact:
Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau 369 S. Franklin, #201, Juneau, AK, 99801 Phone 907-586-1737/FAX-907-586-1449
Juneau Visitor Information Center Davis Log Cabin 134 Third St., Juneau, AK, 99801 Phone 907-586-2201/FAX-907-586-6304; Website: http://www.juneautrails.org/index.html
For a fine selection of hiking footwear, click here.
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