Tucked inside the lush Tongass National Forest, discover an Alaskan botanical garden unlike anywhere else in the world. A 2012 Reader's Digest poll chose Glacier Gardens out of thousands of entries as the Most Interesting Landmark in America! Vibrant hanging gardens spill from 15-foot-tall upside down tree “Flower Towers” and elegantly designed landscapes compliment the natural beauty of the rainforest. Explore these unique gardens on a guided tour in a covered vehicle, then travel through 50 acres of temperate rainforest. No tour gives you easier access to the Tongass, the largest national forest in the US. The tour is a great way to explore the rainforest, and includes panoramic views of Juneau.
The vast gardens are the creation of Steve and Cindy Bowhay, former local commercial fishermen and master gardeners who purchased the property for a stream rehabilitation project. The project took on a life of its own, and they’ve developed a tour through 2 miles of trails of personally designed and installed botanical gardens.
On your hour-long ride through the forest, your expert guide will answer questions and help you discover the fascinating characteristics of the rugged and unforgiving Tongass habitat. Learn about the giant spruce and hemlock trees or the prickly Devil’s Club plant. At the 600-foot mark of Thunder Mountain there is a short walk to an amazing cliff-side viewpoint. Here, the thick forest gives way to a sweeping view of Juneau, the Mendenhall Valley, Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island, and the Chilkat Mountains.
Return to the Visitor’s Center atrium after your tour and grab a beverage or a souvenir, like wildflower seed packets, and be sure to take a look at their live video feed of an active bald eagles nest near the gardens.
- Unique botanical gardens and landscaped grounds
- Easy, vehicle access of trails through the Tongass rainforest
- Panoramic views of Juneau
- Wildlife viewing on the "Eagle's Nest Cam"
- Learn about the natural history of a temperate rainforest