Juneau Alaska is usually the second port of call on an Alaska inside passage cruise traveling northward.
This scenic city situated at the southern end of the Lynn Canal has a continuous population of around 32,000 and is the capital of the State of Alaska. Oddly enough, because it belongs to the Borough of Juneau it is the second largest city by area in the United States.
Also unique to this popular tourist destination is the fact it's land-locked by both the sea and the rugged terrain surrounding it. The only access is by ferry or plane.
Historically, like the City of Ketchikan, the native Tlingit (Taku and Auke tribes) inhabited the greater area for thousands of years. Their aboriginal culture enriches the fabric of the city through orating, singing, dancing, weaving and carving, and Juneau is still a social hub for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of the southeastern area.
Alaska State Capitol. The building is full of interesting and informative insights into State government. Don't be fooled by the outside appearance. Our tour bus driver joked the building has earned the tag of "least attractive state building in the nation".
Mendenhall Glacier. From the visitor's centre you can access exhibits and an excellent 15 minute film about the glacier or take the trail to the glacier itself and the spectacular waterfall adjacent. This a great hike. Make sure to take your camera.
Local Hiking and Walking Trails. Juneau Alaska has over 250 miles of maintained hiking/walking trails from beach walks to mountain climbs. Great access to the rain-forest and to alpine meadows.
This is where I have to mention the Mount Roberts Climb. The landscapes from various points are breath-taking (see photo).
To get to the start of the trails you have to take the SkyTram (not free but definitely worth it). There are a few different trail options of varying difficulty, but if you're not pressed for time and in good health I recommend the 3.5 mile trail to the summit. It's vigorous. Choose good footwear and bring a water bottle.
Shrine of St. Therese (and Jensen-Olson Arboretum). Stunning stone cathedral and gardens 22 miles north of Juneau on Glacier Hwy. Look across the bay from this pristine, forested setting to snow-capped mountains beyond.
Downtown Juneau Historic Walking Tour. Maps are available at the Visitor's Center with landmarks, or electronically--click here.
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. This 111 year old landmark is still serving worshippers in Juneau and surrounding area. Located on 5th street just east of the Capitol School Park.
Spawning Salmon Streams. Some of these include Steep Creek (near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor's Center), Salmon Creek (at the Hospital intersection), Sheep Creek (Thane Road), Fish Creek (North Douglas Hwy).
Beaches. Believe it or not there are beaches in the Juneau Alaska area. There is a picnic area on the shores of Lena Cove and Sandy Beach just south of Juneau Island is a picturesque area.
Free Concerts. Held in the atrium of the State Office Building, free pipe organ concerts are performed at noon on Fridays.
Project Playground. Conceived by the children of Juneau, this community sponsored playground is situated in a beautiful lake setting at Twin Lakes.
In addition to the free opportunities to experience you can book one of the many excursions designed for you to experience the outdoors in Juneau Alaska. They include flight-seeing, kayaking, rafting, biking, hiking and bus tours, in addition to different types of small and medium watercraft available for touring. Other activities include crab fests and zip-lining.