To many people Juneau seems to be a remote little town nestled between tree covered mountain slopes and the icy cold waters of the Inside passage. But despite, or perhaps because of it’s location, Juneau has a lot to offer regardless if you are visiting for the day on a cruise ship or staying on a multiday trip. Whether you are looking for the thrill of catching a salmon, going on a wilderness hike, bear viewing or whale watching, Juneau has something for you! Here are our TOP Best Things to do while you are in the capital city of Alaska.
1. Book a fishing charter: The coastal waters around Juneau are teaming with life. During the summer months millions of salmon return to Alaskan waters to spawn. This provides anglers the opportunity to catch fresh ocean run salmon in the saltwater. In our waters you’ll also find “The King of the Flat Fish,” the mighty halibut. There is no experience quite like seeing coastal glaciers, mountains, temperate rainforests, and whales while you are fishing!
2. Whale Watching: Each year the humpback whales return from their breeding grounds in Hawaii to our coastal waters to feed. Watching these gentle giants as they surface, hearing their thunderous exhalations and gasping as their massive flukes lift out of the water to dive back down to the hunt is an awe inspiring experience. Seeing the humpbacks is a sincerely emotional experience that moves people to tears.
3. Hiking: Juneau is surrounded by 250 miles of hiking trails most, if not all, of these are accessible from the road system. The payoff for hours of hiking are spectacular alpine views and scenery that will snatch your breath away. Hiking around Juneau can be as challenging or as easy as you make it. If you are hiking remember to bring bear spray, food, water, rain gear, and survival gear (depending on where you are going). We hike five days a week and can give you some ideas of where to go based on how gentle or hard you want exert yourself.
4. Mendenhall Glacier: The Mendenhall glacier is located 13 miles away from downtown Juneau. The views of the glacier and the mountains are spectacular. You’ll find a visitor center and numerous trails to explore around the edge of Mendenhall lake. Depending on the time of year you visit you may be lucky enough to see the black bears fishing in Steep Creek. The best time to observe the bears is early morning or in the evening.
5. Explore Downtown Juneau: Downtown Juneau has a lot going on! You’ll find the State Museum, the City Museum, the Governor’s House, and the State Capitol. Take a stroll on Juneau’s beautiful sea-walk and visit the Whale Project, a lifesize bronze sculpture of a breaching whale. There are many shops and restaurants downtown that we are happy to recommend our local favorites. While you are downtown why not ascend Mount Robert’s on the Mount Robert’s Tramway? The views are amazing from the top!
6. Ignore the rain, or on second thoughts Embrace It! Juneau is situated in a temperate rainforest. The Tongass National Forest is 16.7 million acres of rainforest and boy does it rain here! Juneau’s rainfall on average for the summer is about 75 inches. And most of it will likely fall when you visit. So don’t worry if it’s raining, the salmon, tress, bears, whales and Alaskans all keeping doing whatever we would be doing. Bring high quality rain gear, hats, gloves and get after it. There’s no such thing as bad weather only bad gear and bad preparation.
If you would like any specific advice, feedback, or just ideas on what to do while you are in Juneau please ask us! Captain Alan and Tanja live, hike, fish in and around Juneau year round and would be happy to share their local knowledge, tips and suggestions with you. Think of us as your “local inside-scoop” and use us for all your questions when making your plans to visit! We want you to have an amazing time while in Juneau and to leave loving our town as much as we do!!