At the base of grand mountain peaks and at the pristine waterfront of the Gastineau Channel is Juneau, Alaska's Peak Experience.
Alaska's capital city, Juneau is located in Southeast Alaska. The Tongass Rainforest climate provides Juneau with lush terrain and vibrant wildflowers. Early settlers included miners during Alaska's gold rush and Russian fur traders. The Tlingit and Haida Indians were the first settlers to our area. Native Alaska influence is prominent today in Juneau.
Juneau offers unparalleled glacier viewing from Tracy Arm Fjord, Mendenhall Glacier, the Juneau Icefield and Glacier Bay National Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will love Juneau's extraordinary kayaking, dogsledding, rafting, biking, hiking and glacier hiking. Winter enthusiasts will enjoy snowboarding and downhill, cross-country and heli-skiing.
Abundant salmon and halibut fishing is also available minutes from our downtown. Wilderness cabins and fishing lodges cater to anglers seeking the remote Alaska fishing experience.
Juneau flightseeing excursions feature spectacular scenery. Incredible wildlife inhabits areas in and around Juneau. Our downtown area is served by tramway up Mt. Roberts, where wilderness is instantly accessible. Nearby Admiralty Island National Monument, features one of the largest concentrations of brown bear in the world. Icy Strait offers unprecedented whale watching.
Juneau is Alaska as you can only imagine. Scenery that lures. Adventure that inspires. Heritage that fascinates. An experience that will leave you enchanted.
Juneau's most popular attraction is the mighty, magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, located just 13 miles from downtown Juneau. Everything about the Mendenhall is massive: it's face is 100 feet tall and 1.5 miles wide, it's length is over 6 miles, and it's handiwork, the Mendenhall Valley, is immense.
Large as it is, the Mendenhall is just a tiny part of the Juneau Icefield, an expanse of interconnected glaciers that sits just behind the mountains next to Juneau, covers over 1,800 square miles and runs from the Taku River east of town to Berners Bay at the extreme western end of town.
Glaciers are mysterious and intriguing things. They put off an eerie blue color that can't be seen anywhere else but in the dense ice of a glacier. And while they appear to be sitting still, they are in fact constantly moving, flowing downhill out of the mountains like rivers. It is this constant movement that gives glaciers the power to shape the landscape.
Take a look around Juneau at the mountain peaks. Some are sharp and jagged, others are rounded. During the Wisconsin Ice age, the smooth mountains were underneath a massive glacier, whose movement ground them down and shaped their peaks. The Icefield of today is a remnant of that time.
Today, researchers from all over the world come to Juneau to spend a summer on the glacier taking core samples of ice and analyzing the quality of the air contained in tiny bubbles that lay trapped in the ice. From those samples, scientists try to understand global warming and changes to the earth's atmosphere.
Visitors wanting to experience glaciers have a multitude of options. Ground tour companies offer trips to the Mendenhall Glacier where the Forest Service operates a fine walk-up visitors center. Flightseeing companies offer aerial tours of the Icefield. Helicopter companies can take you up onto the ice for a short walk or a two-hour hike. Day boat tour companies offer tours of the twin Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm southeast of Juneau. Glacier Bay National Park, with its incredible collection of tidewater glaciers and 3 million acres of wilderness, is just a short trip to the west.
Juneau is an outdoor lover's paradise. Adventures for all ages and skill levels are found throughout the community. Many activities do not require the services of a guide, but the experience of Alaska is pro-foundly improved by having someone with local knowledge interpreting the landscape. Contact any of the tour companies in the Adventures Tours and Attractions section for more details.