Hints and Tips:
We highly recommend that if you love to hike, go to
Mendenhall Glacier. This excursion can be taken
efficiently and cheaply simply be talking to one of the many
van/bus booths that you will find just in front of the Roberts
Mountain Tramway. Find out what time the next bus goes,
how often they go and on what schedule. Be sure to
inquire about the time of their last trip back if relevant.
(Some transport companies stop service earlier than
others.) Also ask and note what color the bus is, as if
you purchase round-trip fare, you will be returning with the
same company and you want to be able to identify your bus! (You
might even wish to check out the buses as they pull into the lot
prior to your purchase. The prices of these transport
companies are competitive.) We steered clear of vendors who
were overly aggressive about additional tour package
Once at Mendenhall, feel free to roam the visitors center,
but don't let this distract you from taking a walk if you like
to hike. Start following the trail adjacent to the visitor
center, but be sure to wear good hiking shoes. You likely
will be navigating stepping stones to cross a number of small
shallow streams, and if you walk far enough, you may be doing
some rock hopping. You will be rewarded with lovely views,
but be certain to watch your time.
There is also a very nice easy walking trail with views of
Mendenhall lake from just behind the bus return pick-up stop.
Look for a pathway heading down. Be alert. Bears may
Other recommendations for Juneau: On a clear day, taking the
aerial tram up Mount Roberts is a very nice experience.
You will find good hiking trails and views up there, although
you may find that you have a fair amount of company on these
trails. We never purchase our tram tickets until we
arrive, as there is no point going up if the area is covered in
fog or it is raining. The tram office has monitors that
show webcams views of the upper mountain, so you can check the
current conditions before purchasing your ticket. As of our 2011 trip, the mountaintop webcam monitor screens were missing. The weather below was gray and rainy, and the ticket clerk confirmed that it was the same on the mountaintop. It pays to ask as the conditions on the mountaintop can be surprisingly different from the street level.
I also highly recommend a visit to the Alaska State Museum.
This museum is a short walk from the cruise ships docks.
Here you will find a wealth of state specific historical
information. I found the exhibits on mining history and
gems to be most intriguing. This display included
collections of original photographs that let you glimpse what
life was like for the prospectors. I also found the
historical information about the United States purchase of
Alaska from Russia insightful. (Moderate admission fee charged.
The museum store offers Native handcrafted items and Alaska
specific books.) This makes a good rainy day activity.
For the techies in the crowd, stop at the Juneau library for 30
minutes of free internet access before returning to the ship for
Hope you enjoy our shots of Mendenhall Glacier and our sunset
scenes from Mount Roberts.
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