Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, is a vibrant coastal community tucked between the scenic mountains and waterways of the famous Inside Passage. Located in the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in North America, Juneau is one of the most picturesque capitals in the U.S.
Visitors have a wide range of attractions and activities to choose from. Easily accessed via plane, the Alaska Marine Highway, or by cruise ship, Juneau offers hiking, kayaking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and spectacular scenery.
The Mendenhall Glacier is the most popular visitor attraction in Southeast Alaska and is a short distance from downtown. The Mendenhall is just one of over 38 glaciers that originate from the Juneau Icefield, 1500 square miles of ice which sits just behind the mountains near Juneau. Visitors can access the Icefield by fixed wing aircraft and helicopter flightseeing tours. Glacier landing tours are especially popular, as well as high-tech trekking on the glaciers. For a memorable experience, get up close and personal with this moving river of ice – witness the deep blue color, the overwhelming beauty, and breathtaking setting just minutes from downtown Juneau.
Tracy Arm Fjord is home to the twin Sawyer Glaciers, the most dynamic glaciers in Southeast Alaska. Steep granite cliffs and magnificent waterfalls line the passage en route on these protected waters. Wildlife is very common in the fjord — seals, mountain goats, black bears, waterfowl, orca, and humpback whales inhabit the area. This is an unforgettable adventure whether on a kayak or by motorized boat.
For the ultimate wildlife adventure, visit Pack Creek on Admiralty Island, for some of the most spectacular brown bear viewing in Southeast Alaska. Admiralty Island has the highest concentration of brown bears in North America. Accessible by a 20-minute float plane flight from Juneau, both guided and un-guided tours are offered. Permits are required from the USFS.
In Juneau, wildlife viewing “reigns supreme,” with some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing in Alaska. Whales, bears, eagles, seals, sea lions, waterfowl, shorebirds, Dall’s porpoise, mountain goats, and Sitka blacktail deer are all available within minutes of departing on a wildlife tour.
Over 600 humpback whales inhabit the waters near Juneau; frequently orcas are spotted as well on the whale watching tours. For those who pursue their “life list” of birds, over 280 species are available in very accessible locations.
Looking to play hard and eat well? Juneau’s emerging dining scene is full of local flare. With awarding winning chefs at family owned and operated restaurants, locally brewed beer, a distillery, and a food tour that lets you taste a bit of it all, there are plenty of choices to satisfy all taste buds.
In addition to the outdoor adventure, abundant wildlife, amazing food, and spellbinding scenery, Juneau offers a wide range of cultural experiences. Music festivals, local theatre, and exhibitions on Native Alaskan dance and legends round out that total Alaska experience.
Location: Northern Inside Passage; 2 hour flight jet service from Seattle or 1.5 hours by jet service from Anchorage.
Access: Juneau has daily jet service from Seattle and Anchorage, scheduled air taxi service from all Southeast Alaska communities, state ferry service via the Alaska Marine Highway, and all classes of cruise vessels. There is no road access.
Adventures to choose from: Juneau has unlimited opportunity for adventure, with over 250 miles of hiking trails, camping, zip lining, world-class fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and skiing in the winter months.