Photo Credit: Mount Roberts Alpine Loop Trail

Parks & Trails in Juneau

Juneau has some of the best hikes in Southeast Alaska. Some offer glacier views, others break out above to tree line for views of Juneau itself, the Gastineau Channel, and beyond.

A few trails are can be accessed near downtown, like the Mount Roberts Trail that is a mile from downtown just off of Basin Road. Other trails aren’t as close to downtown, but they shouldn't be overlooked. For example, busses and taxis will bring you to the Mendenhall Visitor Center, located about 13 miles outside of downtown Juneau. There you will find several trails, each offering different views and vantage points of the Mendenhall Valley. A favorite is the East Glacier Loop Trail which takes roughly two to three hours to complete.

Below is a list of some of the best trails in Juneau.

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Juneau Hiking Trails

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles

This is a wheel­chair-acces­si­ble trail that fol­lows the Menden­hall Riv­er green­belt area, start­ing at Broth­er­hood Bridge off Glac­i­er Hwy. The name is Tlin­git for going back clear­wa­ter trail.” Expect a lot of traf­fic. The trail is 2‑miles long, paved, and pro­vides one of the great views of Menden­hall Glac­i­er, begin­ning at the Broth­er­hood Bridge trail­head. In mid-sum­mer, over a flat field of iris and fire­weed, the Menden­hall ris­es between…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Locat­ed in Menden­hall Wet­lands State Game Refuge, this trail is wheel­chair-acces­si­ble and close to the air­port. It has many oppor­tu­ni­ties for water­fowl and bird watch­ing. It is excel­lent­ly main­tained. This makes the trail a very easy hike. Many times you will see strollers, run­ners and bik­ers on this trail because it is paved. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The lake and glac­i­er are the pre­mier des­ti­na­tion for the thou­sands of cruise-ship tourists who vis­it Juneau, but they don’t ven­ture much beyond the vis­i­tor cen­ter and the short trails just out­side it, leav­ing the moun­tains above the cen­ter very qui­et in comparison. 

Difficulty: Easy

Once you reach the Moun­tain House at the 1,800-foot lev­el of Mount Roberts, step onto trails that begin in a sub-alpine ecosys­tem and climb anoth­er 300 feet into the true alpine. With six­ty stair steps, a length of one-half mile and an ele­va­tion gain of just 150ft, the main trail will take you to open vis­tas, moun­tain val­leys, snow gul­lies, rocky ridges and stun­ning views of moun­tains in Glac­i­er Bay, British Colum­bia, the South­east Alaskan…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The path to the Per­se­ver­ance trail­head, Basin Road, show­cas­es a dra­mat­ic change from urban to wilder­ness, lead­ing from down­town Juneau to a spec­tac­u­lar canyon. At the end of it is where Per­se­ver­ance Trail begins, and this for­mer rail line (named for the mine it once ser­viced) quick­ly climbs up above the Gold Creek val­ley. There’s plen­ty to see along the way, includ­ing old mine shafts that blow cool winds, and a stretch of trail where the  ...more

Eagle­crest is one of the few com­mu­ni­ty-owned ski areas in the US — and the only one that can boast of being on an island, which gives it the unique perk of hav­ing ski slopes with ocean views. Whether you are a begin­ner look­ing to play in the snow, or a long­time ski­er or board­er, Eagle­crest makes a great all-ages win­ter play­ground. In sum­mer, enjoy hik­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, and berry picking. 

Two lefts past the Alas­ka Marine High­way Juneau Ter­mi­nus is the road to Auke Bay Recre­ation­al Area. Inside, you’ll find Point Louisa, a tra­di­tion­al fish­ing ground for the Auke peo­ple (a sub­group of South­east Alaska’s First Peo­ple, the Tlin­git). Point Louisa is a good fish­ing spot with good water views, cov­ered pic­nic areas, and gen­tly slop­ing grav­el beach make it a fam­i­ly favorite. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

As you approach the south side of Her­bert Riv­er, there’s a turnoff that ends at the Wind­fall Lake trail­head. The trail, some of which is planked, fol­lows the Her­bert Riv­er through the for­est. A spur trail once led to Her­bert Glac­i­er, but because of beaver damming it is no longer acces­si­ble dur­ing the sum­mer. How­ev­er, you can ski to Her­bert Glac­er via this trail in win­ter. This is a three-mile hike to a For­est Ser­vice cab­in on picturesque…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The first part of the trail fol­lows an old tram­line where there are many berries. The right branch of the trail leads to the dam, which was built in 1914 to cre­ate hydro­elec­tric pow­er. The oth­er trail leads to the reservoir. 

Difficulty: Easy

This flat trail — a must for bird­ers — takes you past the Juneau Inter­na­tion­al Air­port run­way and into the famed Menden­hall Wet­lands. You’ll start by fol­low­ing the Menden­hall Riv­er until you get past the run­way. Then the trail veers left, but a small­er foot­path fol­lows the embank­ment above the Menden­hall out to where it emp­ties into Lynn Canal. Fol­low the main trail for about anoth­er 1.5 miles, past a small cov­ered shel­ter and the largest tree…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 5 miles

This trail was built to pro­vide access to the John Muir Cab­in. The trail is extreme­ly mud­dy in sum­mer and rub­ber boots are rec­om­mend­ed then, but it is a great snow­shoe and ski trail in win­ter. There are many huck­le­ber­ries and blue­ber­ries along­side the trail and most of the trail has been planked or has small bridges to pro­tect the under­growth. The cab­in is open to the pub­lic between 10am and 5pm. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 4 miles

As glac­i­ers retreat, plants move in to occu­py the recent­ly exposed land in a process called suc­ces­sion. This entire trail is a clas­sic exam­ple of Ice Age suc­ces­sion, since you’ll pass from mature for­est to scrub trees to rocky moraines as you approach the glac­i­er. There are pic­turesque views along the Her­bert Riv­er, and while the hike is most­ly flat and one of the area’s eas­i­er walks, it’s long — about 5 hours round-trip. After four miles, the…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

The trail starts near Nugget Creek dam and hikes through the small veg­e­ta­tion to the Vista Creek Shel­ter. It pass­es through incred­i­ble chasms to above the tim­ber­line. Bears and moun­tain goats are often seen here and there are min­ing ruins along­side the trail. 

Difficulty: Easy

The Auke Lake Trail was orig­i­nal­ly built to access the John Muir Cab­in. It also pro­vides access to Spauld­ing Mead­ows, an excel­lent place for Nordic ski­ing dur­ing the win­ter. The trail pro­vides views of the Chilkat Moun­tains, Admi­ral­ty Island, Gastineau Chan­nel, and Mts. Stroller White and McGin­nis. The trail also offers plen­ty of bird­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly now that a recent $1.2 mil­lion update was com­plet­ed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaska…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

This hike begins on West Glac­i­er Trail (Menden­hall Glac­i­er) West Glac­i­er Trail (Menden­hall Glac­i­er) , which you’ll stay on from the park­ing lot past skater’s cab­in. Keep going. You’ll gain ele­va­tion as you hike the edge of the Menden­hall Glac­i­er down on your left. After a mile or so, the trail turns sharply to the left as you begin a long and stren­u­ous ridge hike that even­tu­al­ly takes you to the apex of Mount McGin­nis — the most per­fect peak…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Dri­ve to the end of Thane road and park at the dead end, where a nice water­fall sets the mood for this three-mile hike through a beau­ti­ful rain for­est. Mud and exposed roots make for dif­fi­cult foot­ing, but the trail is flat — a rar­i­ty around here.

Difficulty: Difficult

This trail offers fan­tas­tic views of the sur­round­ing moun­tains. The trail is not main­tained and may be mud­dy in places. Above the tree­line there are many wild­flow­ers and small pools of water. Hik­ing boots as well as water boots are recommended. 

Difficulty: Easy

Adja­cent to the Air­port and acces­si­ble off Rat­cliffe Road, this trail runs through the wet­lands between the main­land and Dou­glas Island. It’s a great walk for fam­i­lies, bird­watch­ers, and exercisers.

Juneau is one of only two capi­tols in the Unit­ed States that isn’t accessed by roads — only boats and planes can reach the city. But there is a stretch of paved road that runs north from town, past Auke Bay and towards Berner’s Bay. You’ll pass the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­east Alas­ka and the fer­ry ter­mi­nal before get­ting out” of town. It’s a great trip, near­ly 50 miles out and back.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

This trail winds its way back to three cab­ins in Point Brid­get State Park. If you’re inter­est­ed, find out more infor­ma­tion about Cowee Mead­ow Cab­in, Blue Mus­sel Cab­in, and Camp­ing Cove Cab­in. It begins by quick­ly descend­ing from mud­dy mead­ows through for­est and into a broad val­ley. Anoth­er mile on this easy, well-main­tained path brings you to Cowee Mead­ows cab­in. Here you’ll find won­der­ful views of the sur­round­ing moun­tains, just a few…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Near the end of the North Dou­glas high­way is a small half-mile trail lead­ing out to the north end of Dou­glas Island. The small beach there offers excel­lent views of Admi­ral­ty Island, the Chilkats, Lynn Canal, and the moun­tains behind the Menden­hall Glac­i­er. You’ll see sport fish­ers trolling for king salmon, and the occa­sion­al hump­back. The trail is wheel­chair acces­si­ble and used by tour bus groups, but go after 5PM and you’ll like­ly be…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Don’t con­fuse this unnamed trail with Sheep Creek Trail (which is a rel­a­tive­ly flat, three-mil­er also worth your time). So how do you find the trail head? With your back to the water, it’s to the right of Sheep Creek and the hatch­ery build­ings, to the left of the first house, and at the top of the embank­ment that leads up to the road. Hike up to the pow­er line (from Snet­tisham Lake — Juneau is near­ly 100% hydropow­er), cross it, and then follow…  ...more

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 9 miles

This unmarked trail is named for Alaska’s Sec­ond Region­al Forester, B. Frank Heint­zle­man. He was also Ter­ri­to­r­i­al Gov­er­nor between 1953 and 1957. Moun­tain goats are often seen along this route. After cross­ing Jor­dan Creek, the steep ascent begins. It is pos­si­ble to hike from the Menden­hall Glac­i­er Vis­i­tor Cen­ter from this trail. 

Difficulty: Difficult

Steep trail that is worth the climb: you’ll find excel­lent views of Gastineau Chan­nel, Juneau, and Dou­glas from here. NOTE: The 6th Street trail head is no longer main­tained. Hik­ers must access Mt Roberts via the Basin Road trail head. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles

This trail was named for a local forester and is an unde­vel­oped route. There are many flow­ers and blue­ber­ries as well as salmonber­ries along the trail. The trail begins with a mod­er­ate grade but­steep­ens quick­ly and becomes wet with no switch­backs. The trail dis­ap­pears above the tim­ber­ling, but you can con­tin­ue on to Carin Peak if you wish to do so. Water­proof hik­ing boots are recommended. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 5 miles

Sheep Creek was named by Joe Juneau and Richard Har­ris after mis­tak­ing moun­tain goats for sheep. The trail begins in the for­est, ris­es abrupt­ly, then drops into Sheep Creek Val­ley. The old min­ing build­ings are bare­ly stand­ing. The trail then switch­backs up. If the rest of the trail is hard to find, fol­low the pow­er­lines. Be aware though — the pow­er­lines are still ful­ly charged! 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 16 miles

This trail was designed to be a hik­ing and ski­ing trail, and while there usu­al­ly isn’t enough snow for great ski­ing, recent upgrades have made this an excel­lent hike through the woods. Big trees, good foot­ing, and the remains of mines make for an inter­est­ing walk, and watch for por­cu­pine and deer. You’ll be hik­ing near the Tread­well Ditch, which col­lect­ed water runoff from the lakes above and turned it into hydro­elec­tric pow­er for miners.   ...more

Difficulty: Difficult

The trail is very steep from this point to the sum­mit. When the weath­er is good, some peo­ple walk over toward Gran­ite Basin on the ridge. There are mar­mot, spruce grouse and black bears seen here often. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 1 mile

A side trail from Per­se­ver­ance that breaks off 2 miles into the hike, this trail is gen­er­al­ly mud­dy because of the beau­ti­ful water­falls and snow that resides on the moun­tains until ear­ly sum­mer. (And there’s extreme avalanche dan­ger in win­ter.) But it’s a great day hike, and if you keep to the left you can access the alpine high coun­try of Mount Juneau. There are beau­ti­ful alpine lakes and wild­flow­ers along the way as you gain over 1,200…  ...more

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail was named after John Lemon, one of the first prospec­tors to cross the Chilkoot Trail. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you wear water boots and long-sleeved shirts because of the mud and over­grown brush. There are many berries and, there­fore black bears in this area. 

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles

The trail is very mud­dy in sum­mer but is a great ski trail in win­ter. It leads through a muskeg mead­ow, through the woods to anoth­er mead­ow. The hills past this trail offer many more ski­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. The east­ern part of this trail is open to snowmobiles. 

Difficulty: Easy

Just before Echo Cove is Brid­get Point State Park, where you’ll find this well-main­tained trail. It mean­ders through muskeg, mature for­est, and grass­land until it reach­es a beaver dam and views of the Lynn Canal. Bears often vis­it the mead­ow, but leave it to fish the stream.

Difficulty: Moderate

This makes for a good half-day to overnight hike that leads to a small lake with a fee cab­in. Peter­son Lake isn’t a clas­sic beau­ty of an alpine lake, but its low­er ele­va­tion (only about 750 feet above sea lev­el) means a longer hik­ing sea­son, and it is a peace­ful spot to relax and row around a pret­ty lake edged by a gar­den of float­ing pond lilies 

Difficulty: Moderate

This side trail leads to the edge of the AJ Glo­ry Hole, a mas­sive chasm with 800 foott deep walls. The mine pro­duced mil­lions of dol­lars in gold dur­ing its oper­a­tional life. The hole was cre­at­ed in a process where min­ers would blast under a mound of earth and have it col­lapse. This allowed for easy min­ing of the ore and then the hole could be blast­ed a lay­er deep­er. The hole is rough­ly 12 mile long and 13 mile wide and has ver­ti­cal walls.…  ...more

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