June 6, 2011
Hiking Trails In Juneau Alaska
Hiking Trails in Juneau – Alaska
Juneau is not just famous for gigantic icebergs and ice fields but also for miles upon miles of hiking trails along breathtaking scenery. The area’s trails are highly diverse, from the most difficult terrain to wheel-chair accessible routes, all of which provide stunning views of the region’s gorgeous topography.
There are two very accessible and easy trails in Juneau. Both feature zero-elevation gain terrain that even wheel-chairs can freely roam around unimpeded in the area. First, there is the Airport Dike Trail in Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge. This 1.2 mile trail is a great place for bird-watching and gentle strolls.
The other one is the busier trail of Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei along the Mendenhall River. Access the site from the Brotherhood Bridge and follow the traffic of horses and bikes along bright-hued wildflower blooms and stunning lookout stops. The site is also a popular access point to Montana Creek where fishing holes await the most avid anglers.
One of the best hiking bases in Juneau is the Mendhall Glacier Visitor Center. It serves as a popular starting point for the seven trails that branch out from the area. Those who are not up to serious treks can just take a few minutes walk to the Photo Point trail to enjoy the view and snap some photos. However, if you are up for a few hours of hiking, follow the East Glacier Trail and you can cover its 3.5-mile loop in less than three hours round trip. You’ll pass by AJ Falls and get to view the sweeping panoramas of the Glacier and Nugget Falls along the way.
If you want a more challenging trail, then take the 3.4-mile, 1,300 ft elevation of West Glacier Trail in a six-hour hour hike. You can also take a look at the ice caves if you are feeling a bit adventurous. However, you should know that it can get hazardous if you get too close to these caves because they are not only slippery but their stability is also a serious issue. .
If you still want to keep going at the end of the West Glacier Trail instead of taking the return trip, you can turn left and be on your way to Mt. McGinnis trail. It will take you along scenic meadows and a great panoramic view of the Mendenhall Valley awaits at the mountain’s summit. Watch for stone cairns to guide you along the way. The hike is difficult and you will need advanced skill and high stamina. Approximate time for the hike is about 9 hours, round trip.
Another difficult, yet highly satisfying trek is available along the trails of the Thunder Mountain. It will also take about 9 hours of strenuous hiking but the diverse terrain you will encounter along the way will keep you entertained and happy you made the effort. You will pass by forests, meadows and alpine country and a splendid view of the Mendenhall Glacier is your just reward at the end of the trail.
Finally, for easy treks, the Perseverance Trail is one of the most popular. The trail is well-defined since it was formerly used by miners on their way to the Silverbow Basin Gold Mine. There are plenty of attractions to enjoy along the way such as scenic viewpoints overlooking the river valley and Ebner Falls. You can also pick up the Granite Creek Trail at the end and keep going from there.