Fun things to do in Juneau

  • Mendenall Glacier
    Mendenall Glacier
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  • Signs explaining the process
    Signs explaining the process
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  • Roots of trees with gardens up in the air
    Roots of trees with gardens up in the...
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Juneau

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    Goldbelt Mount Roberts - To Tram or Not to Tram

    by starship Updated Feb 6, 2013

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    For the best panoramic view of Juneau, Douglas Island and the Gastineau Channel, take the Mount Roberts Tramway. The 1,800 foot ascent up the side of Mt. Roberts takes only minutes by aerial tram but is a little expensive. For many people - those in good physical shape, it's the 2-mile climb up the mountain that is the real attraction and if you climb up, there is no charge. (However, be aware this is not exactly a cakewalk. The switchback trail was not in particularly good shape when we were there -- fallen rocks and trees, trail washouts and mudslide areas make it necessary to be alert to avoid injuries.) I am very proud to say that we did climb down the torturous 2 miles rather than taking the tram again. It was a little hard on our knees, but I really enjoyed the experience. However, I'm kind of glad we didn't have any unexpected meetings with the larger wildlife in the area ( A bear had been spotted on the trail the prior week).

    Viewing platforms and extensive trails at the top of the mountain offer the opportunity to spot flora, and fauna indigenous to this part of Alaska not to mention see Stephen Jackson's 30 ft. handcarved totem pole. Does all that climbing make you hungry? If so, you will be glad to find the large Timberline Bar & Grill. But don't miss the 120-seat Chilkat Theater where you will see a short 25-minute film entitled "Seeing Daylight". This worthwhile film showcases the culture and heritage of the native "Tlingit" people. Near the observation tower, look for the bald eagle on view.

    At the Raven-Eagle gift shop you will be surprised to see that it's part museum and part art gallery and gift shop. Here you can observe native Alaskan/Tlingit artists carve jade and wood to fashion beautiful objects to take home with you. There are also lots of less expensive souvenirs too.

    Open daily from early May through late September, but hours and days of operation may very so it's best to call ahead or speak to service personnel at the ticket booth.

    In 2006, we paid a pricey total of $71.85 (3 people) to go up Mt. Robert on the tram.
    UPDATE: A recent check of posted prices (February, 2013) for Mount Roberts Tram are as follows: $31 for adults; $15.50 for children 6-12 yrs. old; FREE for children 5 and under. The tram is handicapped accessible.

    For comparison, ticket prices for adults in 2006 -- $23.95 adults; children 6 to 12 were $12.50; and children 5 & under are FREE! (This price structure changed too lowering the age at which children are charged.) Talk about inflation!!

    Interesting notes: (1) In 1998, the Mount Roberts Tramway was acquired by "Goldbelt," an Alaskan Native Corporation. The Goldbelt Hotel Juneau is also owned and operated by the same corporation as you might have guessed.

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    Patsy Ann's Heroic Tale

    by starship Updated Feb 6, 2013

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    "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven." --James Thurber

    Patsy Ann was a very real and famous canine character of Juneau's past -- she has an amazing story and one which brought tears to my eyes!! Patsy Ann was a Bull Terrier born in Portland, Oregon, in 1929 and brought to Juneau as a pup. Though born entirely deaf at birth, she somehow "heard" the whistles of approaching ships before they could be seen. With each sense of an approaching ship, Patsy Ann would trot over to the wharf where she would wait. Her senses were NEVER WRONG. On one memorable occasion, a waiting crowd had gathered at the wrong dock. Patsy Ann gazed at the crowd for a moment, but turned and made her way to the correct dock in amazement of the crowd! It was said that in between ship visits, Patsy Ann visited local businesses where her friends would give her food and one person even gave her a daily candy bar. She frequented local beer parlors and hotel lobbies where she was as welcome as any paying guest.

    "Because of her unerring sense of the imminent arrival of each ship that visited Juneau and her faithful welcome at wharfside, Juneau Mayor Goldstein dubbed Patsy Ann 'Official Greeter of Juneau, Alaska' in 1934." Patsy Ann slowed down over the years because of rheumatism apparently brought on by diving into the Gastineau Channel. Patsy Ann didn't have an honest-to-goodness home, but she spent most of her nights in the Longshoremen's Hall. She died there on March 30, 1942. She was so loved that the next day, a crowd gathered as her coffin was lowered into the Gastineau Channel.

    A tribute to her in the form of an excellent bronze statue can be seen on the dock near the cruiseship piers, which was fittingly placed next to a "Welcome to Juneau" sign. The sculpture by New Mexico artist, Anna B. Harris, contains clippings of dog hair from all over the world and was presented to the city in July, 1992.

    PATSY ANN MEMORABILIA:
    Gastineau Human Society
    7705 Glacier Highway, Juneau
    Tel: 907-789-0260
    www.ghspets.org

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    The Juneau Arts & Culture Center

    by shrimp56 Updated Aug 19, 2012

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    I was heading for the Alaska State Museum when I was drawn into JACC. This is a very active part of Juneau cultural life. I talked with the staff there and was impressed with their energy and focus. It's worth the walk from the port.

    The center is part of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and includes, exhibit space, a nice shop with local arts and crafts and a gathering space for concerts and other activities.

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    Juneau from Douglas, Alaska

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Mar 30, 2012

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    Driving across the bay to Douglas Island and the spread out community of Douglas you get a much different perspective of the area. Douglas Island is much less densely populated and there are some great open spaces to hike, walk, and even ski.

    However in this series I wanted to show what the town and bay that Juneau lies on looks like from the shores of Douglas Island. One really needs a car to get around Douglas Island. As you can see from one of these photos the port of Juneau is extremely popular with cruise ships. While we were in Juneau we saw up to three cruise ships at a time being docked in Juneau during the month of July.

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    Wild Flowers Even in July

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Mar 30, 2012

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    These bright purple flowers can be found all over the hills of the area surrounding Juneau. The contrast of the purple against the bright green grass or hills provides for some striking photos as you walk or drive around the Juneau area.

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    Salmon Bake

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 8, 2012

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    This bus was a school bus and it took us out to the salmon bake.

    I was a little disappointed in this as it was not as good as I remembered it being in Seattle. But the cornbread was excellent and I had four pieces. They also had a good potato/clam chowder. We got the bus back to the ship

    Tour Includes: Round trip transportation to Gold Creek Salmon Bake; musical entertainment and all you can eat buffet. This is supposed to include grilled salmon, Cheechako Chicken, Chilkoot Baked Beans, Tongass Wild-Rice Pilaf, White Pass Pasta and a selection of other sides, salads and beverages

    AVAILABLE: Lunch and dinner daily May through September.
    By arrangement to meet tour and cruise ship schedules.
    Operates in all weather conditions.

    DURATION: Approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours

    COST: ADULT $42 | CHILD $28
    (Child rate applies to ages 12 & under. Taxes not included.)

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    Watching the Bears Near Mendenhall

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jan 24, 2012

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    Wildlife abounds in the Juneau area. Even bears can be spotted frequently in not only remote areas but also within towns.

    Just down the road from the Mendenhall Glacier is an area of a small creek and above grade walk way where you can view a lot of the areas wildlife. With a little luck you will be able to spot one or more black or brown bears.

    Interestingly the difference between brown and black bears is not the color and black bears can be black, brown or cinnamon colored. The main difference between the black and brown bear is the formers straight facial structure. The brown bear is larger than the black bear with a distinct shoulder hump and bigger claws.

    On our visit to the area we saw a mother brown bear and her two cubs. While the two cubs played and then decided to sleep in a tree the mother guarded them from any danger at the base of the tree. It made for a great photo opportunity since the bears were less than 25 feet away below the elevated walkway.

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    A Whale Tour on A Small Boat

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jan 23, 2012

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    The waters around the Northern Inside Passage we were told are home to over 600 humpback whales plus orcas from about March. This makes the area around Juneau and Glacier Bay just to the north one of the most highly prized areas in the world for whale watching.

    Having been on other whale tours in Alaska I didn't know what to expect when we left the docks of a small harbor on our way to Tracy Arm. I felt however when we were on the right boat when a man with a camera the size of a mini van indicated to us that he was with National Geographic.

    The little boat we purchased tickets on left Auk Bay for a four hour cruise. On the way out we were told that humpback whales can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes but generally surface every ten to fifteen minutes in these waters. Smaller calves appear on the surface more frequently. Within the half hour we were spotting humpbacks on both sides of the boat. Some of them feeding together in groups which was great to see.

    Cost of the tour was about $ 50 per person which I was thought was very reasonable.

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    Time to set sail!

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    Well, I must admit, Anne and I really enjoyed Juneau!

    The Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake Tour was an outstanding success and the weather was perfect.

    We ticked all of the boxes on our first day in Alaska! We saw Salmon spawning in the wild, and in captivity, we saw the massive Mendenhall Glacier and its' spectacular blue ice, waterfalls and bears. We ate lunch at a salmon bake, walked around town, had a drink at the Red Dog Saloon and saw the sites.

    The people were friendly and had an absolute ball in perfect sunshine.

    It was sad to leave but it was time to sail to Skagway.

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    Pose for that tacky tourist photo!

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    What self respecting tourist would visit the Salmon Capital of the world and not be involved in the taking of at least one tacky photo.

    Well, you guessed it, Anne and I decided to partake in the event and paste it here for the entire world to see…...ouch!

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    Too many Jewellery stores!!!

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    I don’t know about you, but my idea of visiting Alaska was not to spend my time shopping in jewelers’ stores! As a matter of fact, every cruise ship port has set itself up as a jewelers shop Mecca and you actually find the same stores in every town…offering the same items at vastly different prices!

    To be honest, I am glad that Anne and I took the time to get out and experience Alaska and its sites, wildlife, people and adventures. If you want to buy jewelers you can do it at the mall at home!

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    The Juneau Sky tram.

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    The Juneau Sky tram climbs Mt Roberts and provides you with a magnificent view of the Juneau Township and surrounds.

    When you are perched up high on the observation deck, cruise ships are made to look like local ferries as the vast expanse of this wilderness area unfolds before you.

    The tramway gondola departs from the dock area and the cartridges are totally enclosed. When you arrive at the top you are met by fresh air, Sitka spruce trees and wild flowers to go with the view!

    Allow at least an hour for this experience.

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    The Gold Creek Salmon bake.

    by K.Knight Written Apr 22, 2011

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    The Gold Creek Salmon bake advertises itself as "A feast as grand as Alaska itself." And I agree.

    The tour cost US$40 in August 2010 and included a round trip bus ride from our cruise ship, an all you can eat buffet of Salmon, chicken, salads and blueberry cake. and musical entertainment.

    The salmon bake is located approx 15 minutes from downtown Juneau and is built alongside a creek that had salmon spawning.

    If you like salmon, you will love this place!

    Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/780d2/b45fa/#ixzz1KJ8C8MtV

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    Salmon spawning in “Steep Creek.”

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    Just before you enter the car park to the Mendenhall Glacier you go over a bridge that spans Steep creek. I do not know how it got its name because it is a very docile, slow flowing creek. One thing I do know is that it was full of spawning salmon and bears when we were there!

    This not only make Mendenhall Glacier the perfect day trip, it makes it the perfect dangerous place to be if you do not listen to the park rangers!

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    Bears!

    by K.Knight Updated Apr 22, 2011

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    While at Mendenhall glacier we decided to go for a walk on an elevated platform that leads from the western side of the car park. While on this walk we noticed a small group of people assembling with their cameras at the ready.

    On further inspection we saw a mother bear with 2 cubs, all enjoying the spoils of their latest fishing trip! We stood and watched these bears eating and playing for approx 25 minutes before it was time to return to Juneau and attend the Salmon bake!

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