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1. Popular Local Tours

Auke Bay Laboratories--Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
Ted Stevens’ Marine Research Institute (TSMRI) provides conference facilities, laboratory capacity and working space necessary to bring together scientists from the many specialties necessary to understand and manage Alaska’s fisheries resources. In addition to chemistry, genetics, and biology laboratories, the laboratory building offers a large wet lab, a necropsy room equipped to handle small marine mammals and large fish and sharks, an ichthyology laboratory for sorting and identification of specimens, two large walk-in freezers, and a large day room for contractors and transient project personnel. TSMRI has “gone green” by using 100% green energy to heat the building. From a starting point of 120,000 gallons of fuel oil burned per year in 2007, the facility now puts zero carbon into the environment. Free tours every working day at 1:00 pm. For more information:

Shrine of St. Therese

The Shrine of St. Therese is a perfect quick escape from campus, where you are invited by the Diocese of Juneau to experience the peace and serenity of this special place of refuge and retreat.  A twenty minute drive from campus, and a short walk down a smooth path, the picturesque Shrine sits on Shrine Island, adjacent to the Lynn Canal. The Chapel—named for the Patron Saint of Alaska, St. Therese—was built in the 1930s from stones gathered from the surrounding beach.  Nestled among large hemlock trees, moss and fern covered rocks, the beautiful Chapel gives off the feeling of peace and serenity.  The surrounding grounds contain the Columbarium, the Merciful Love Labyrinth, the Good Sheppard Rosary and Grotto Trail, a lodge, Caretaker’s House and various other cabins that can be rented by guests interested in using the facilities for retreats (at very reasonable rates, but book soon as summers are popular). Pathways and trails are wheel chair accessible.  Free.  For more information visit

 Glacier Gardens These scenic gardens cover acres of reclaimed land from a major mudslide from Thunder Mountain that had blocked the Glacier Highway.  Local landscaping and nursery owners purchased the land and rerouted the water to avoid future slides, creating waterfalls and pools.  The garden's most unique feature is a testament to Steve and Cindy Bowhay's ingenuity.  Tree trunks that had been uprooted during the original mudslide have been replanted, but upside down.  The root-ball of each tree is covered in netting and moss, making a platform for flowering plants.  Each "Flower Tower" has approximately 75-100 flowering plants, creating a beautiful backdrop.  This beautifully reclaimed land is a great location to explore, learn about indigenous plants and wildlife and see breathtaking views of Juneau from 580 feet above sea level. Glacier Gardens in open 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. daily and the $24.95 adult admission includes the guided tour plus all day access to the lower landscaped gardens and the Visitor's Center. Tours are accessible with wide paths, accessible bathrooms and helpful staff. The Gardens are located at 7600 Glacier Highway, near Fred Meyer and about a ten minute drive from UAS.  Check out the slide show here.

2. Popular Hiking Trails

Listed below are a few of the more popular and scenic trails that can be accessed from the Juneau road system. There are dozens more trails. If you're interested in more details, be sure to visit for a wonderful natural and cultural history of some of the options.

Auke Lake Trail
Length: 1 Mile
Elevation Gain: 30 feet
Access: UAS campus
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate, 1-2 hours

Whether you walk one mile or three (if you circumnavigate the lake), this lovely and fairly easy woods walk along the lake shore meanders through tall trees, and offers pleasant views of Auke Lake and campus, with opportunities to see beaver, otter, squirrels, fish, waterfowl, and bird life.

West Glacier Trail                            Mendenhall Glacier photo by John Krumm
Length: 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1430 Feet
Access: 1 Mile Skaters Cabin Road, near Mendenhall Glacier Campground
Difficulty: Moderate to Intermediate; 3-5 hours

Pick up the West Glacier Trail at the end of Skater's Cabin Road off Montana Creek Road. The first part of the trail is a gentle walk in the forest bordering Mendenhall lake. Approximately a mile in, the trail begins to climb. Several great lookout points provide panoramic views of the glacial carved valley, lake and glacier itself. Approximately 2 miles in, the trail will cross a rocky area and stream. At the first viewpoint (that with the covered bench), head down the small auxiliary trail closest to the main trail. At points, the trail may get a bit wet. There are some fairly sheer areas to climb as well. However, the ice caves and close up views of the glacier make the difficulty worth it. The caves change monthly. It is possible to climb aboard the Glacier (crampons, ice ax and gloves a must!) and walk on top of the glacier. However, understand that any activities around the glacier itself are extremely hazardous and must be taken at your own risk. Do not go into or too close to the ice caves, since they are very slippery, lead to no-one-knows-where, and can collapse without warning. Do not walk on the glacier unless you are aware of things to watch for and/or are with someone familiar with glacier trekking. (Photo by John Krumm)

Perseverance Trail
Length: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Access: trail begins at of Basin Road, above downtown
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate; 2-3 hours

Aside from being one of the most scenic and well-used trails in Juneau, Alaska, the Perseverance Trail is one of the three most historically significant trails in our entire state along with the Chilkoot and Iditarod Trails. The original route, used by natives for goat hunting, fishing and berry picking, was later to become the first road in Alaska after Joe Juneau and Richard Harris found gold in the Silverbow Basin in the 1880's. The 3.5 mile trail also serves as access to the Mount Juneau Trail, the Granite Creek Trail and the Red Mill Trail as well as several spur trails that access view points or historic mine ruins. For maps and more information visit:

Boy Scout Beach Trail
Length: 1.5 mile
Access: 25 mile Glacier Highway, to the left just before Herbert River (about a 20 minute drive from UAS)
Difficulty: Easy, 2-3 hours

Trail follows Herbert River along remains of old corduroy road (poles laid next to each other perpendicular to trail to prevent miring in the mud), then runs through meadow and forested areas; further along you will find spectacular views of the Chilkat Range, Lynn Canal and Coastal Range. Curious for a preview? Check out

Sandy Beach and Treadwell Loop Trailssandy
Length: 2 miles
Elevation gain: 40 Feet
Difficulty: easy to moderate, 1-2 hours

At the very end of Douglas Highway on Third Street is Sandy Beach. Sandy Beach also gives access to Treadwell Historic Loop Trails. A 20-minute walk on this historic loop trail to the “cave-in” of the Treadwell Mine's "Glory Hole" takes you through the area of the gold mining operation that began in the 1880’s. Still to be seen are the 300 Stamp Mill Ruins, the main steam power house ruins, the old town of Treadwell’s office building, pieces of metal, and the “cave-in." (Photo by Sarah Ray)

3. More Adventurous Juneau-Area Guided Options

Ice-climbing and Glacier Trekking, with Above and Beyond Alaska
Go ice climbing and glacier trekking in Juneau with a locally owned company!  The trip is a 7 ½ hour hike on the Mendenhall Glacier, only two miles away from the UAS campus.  This trip includes a professional guide for the day, all technical gear, and a hearty snack.  The excursion is 8 miles round trip and provides opportunities to hike through the Tongass National Forest, explore ice caves on the Mendenhall Glacier, and see beautiful vistas of the Mendenhall Valley that the University calls home.  Cost: $189 per person plus 5% local sales tax  Duration: 7.5 hours Bring: Hiking boots, pants, gloves, and a hat.  To book a trip or get more information visit Above & Beyond Alaska

Alaska Canopy Adventures
Spend three hours exploring the historic Treadwell Mine ruins.  At its peak, the Treadwell Mine was the most productive gold mine in the world.  It was composed of four separate mines and used local streams to power one of its mills.  The zip line runs 6,000 feet and parallels the Gastineau Channel between mainland Juneau and Douglas Island.  Rain gear and equipment provided.  Cost: $179 per person Duration: 3.25 hours Bring: Closed toed shoes and warm clothing for more information

Alaska Zipline Adventures
This zip line tour offers you a chance to explore Eaglecrest, the local ski area.  From this tour you are able to look down a glacially carved valley and enjoy views of Auke Bay and the Mendenhall Glacier.  Platforms occurring along the zip line are made from recycled materials into tree houses.  The tour provides raingear, a snack, and equipment Cost: $149 per person Duration: 3 hours Bring: Closed toed shoes and warm clothing. For more information or to book a trip, visit

4. More Adventurous Juneau-Area Unguided Options

Juneau is in a temperate rain forest, but that doesn't mean we don't ride bikes.  Cycle Alaska provides guided bike tours that let you experience great adventure, beautiful scenery, and the unique culture of Juneau. They also offer road, mountain, and cruiser bike rentals at affordable prices. For more information about Cycle Alaska, please visit

 Rock Climbing at the Sea Cliffs
A local favorite, the sea cliffs are a beautiful place to get your climb on! Whales and sea lions are common visitors to the waters below. There are approximately four sports routes bolted with an anchor on top, all around the 5.8 skill level range. The cliffs are accessible only at low tide so plan accordingly (2012 tide table link below). It is suggested to bring extra layers and something comfy to sit on as there are only rocky surfaces. You will also need ropes, harness, climbing shoes, carabiners, a belay device, and any of your favorite must haves. The sea cliffs are somewhat hard to find, so if you can grab a local who has been there, do it, but here are some (hopefully) helpful pointers:

Drive north on Glacier Hwy (from University Dr. make a right on Mendenhall Loop Rd. then a right on Glacier Hwy at the “3-way intersection”) and look for the pull off area on the left at 32 ½ mile (about 15 miles past Tee Harbor and roughly 20 minutes from campus). Look for a somewhat steep path leading into the forest (there is no real trail to the cliffs), which should meander to the right and lead to some rocks you will need to climb down, which can be somewhat difficult so be ready for the challenge!

Helpful links: Visit and search “sea cliffs” or “32 ½ mile” to view route descriptions, reviews, and photos.

Here is a crude map and another description of how to get there:

 Juneau tide table:

5. Guided Trips Farther Afield

 Discovery Southeast Teacher’s expeditions: Explore Southeast Alaska's most stunning places with a group of teachers and expert Forest Service naturalists, earning 500-level continuing education credits along the way. 

  •  Option 1: Bears of Admiralty Island June 4-June 10.  Learn about wilderness area management and Brown Bears.  Lead by Forest Service ranger and naturalist Don MacDougall.  Kayak and hike in Admiralty National Monument's Kootznoowoo Wilderness.  Visit Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area wildlife sanctuary.
  •  Option 2: Glaciers and Climate Change in Wild Alaska June 19-June 25.  Lead by Forest Service back-country Ranger and naturalist Kevin Hood.  Kayak Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness area.  Boat transfer from Juneau included.

For more information and details about the very reasonable rates, visit:  Book soon, as these trips fill fast.

Brown Bear viewing with Pack Creek Outfitters:  View Alaska’s Brown Bears in the managed Pack Creek zoological area on Admiralty Island National Monument.  Operated by experienced wilderness guide Ken Leghorn, former co-owner of Alaska Discovery.  1-day to 5-day trips. Guided trips or self-guided/kayak rental options available. Float plane access from Juneau, AK.

For more information, check out  Pack Creek Outfitters online at

Sea Kayaking in Glacier Bay: 

If you are looking for a quick and remote getaway, Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks is for you.  This company is located in the town of Gustavus, 79 air miles North West of Juneau, and is easily accessible by plane or ferry.  The locally owned and operated concession is located in Glacier Bay National Park and all trips depart from Bartlett Cove.  When you choose to work with GBSK you have many different trip options--half and full-day guided or unguided trips, and multi day/night unguided paddle trips up either the East or West arm of the Park.  If you choose to venture on a half or full day unguided trip you will meet one of the guides in the a.m. to grab necessary equipment, fill out paperwork, and learn a little bit about the area you are kayaking in. If you chose to go on a multi day/night trip, you are required by the National Park Service to go through backcountry orientation.  Prices are as follows.  Guided: full day $150/person, half day $95/person, Unguided: Full day $50/person, half day $40/person  For more information please visit:  For information on how to get from Juneau to Gustavus, please visit: Alaska Marine Highway Ferry's website at or for flights check out  

6. Celebration 2012 (June 7-9)

Sealaska’s Celebration is a festival that is held to honor dance and cultural activities of Southeast Alaska’s indigenous people. It is a major event held every two years. And it is free to attend. Celebration will take place on June 7-9, 2012 in Juneau, Alaska.  The festivities that are going to take place are dance, art shows and markets, lectures and traditional food contests. This year’s Celebration is going to be led by the Xudzidaa Kwáan Dancers of Angoon.

7. Above and Beyond Kayaking

If you are looking for a short get away or are looking to experience a different part of the Juneau lifestyle, Above and Beyond kayak
rentals may be a kayakgreat option.  This local business offers half as well as full day kayak and canoe rentals for a reasonable price.  All necessary safety equipment is provided for you.  Cost: Single kayak half day (less than 4 hours) $40; full day (4-8 hours) $50.  Double kayak half day $60; full day $70.  Canoes half day $40; full day $50. Bring: Snack/lunch, warm synthetic or polyester clothes, and a camera or binoculars are always handy!  For more information, visit: (Photo by Sarah Ray)

8. Fishing Options

The are a several good options for fishing on the Juneau road system in mid June.  King salmon start to come into the terminal pond at Fish Creek on Douglas Island.  The pond itself is a snagging-allowed area but ocean fresh fish can be caught in the estuary on their way in where snagging is not allowed.  Fly fishing is the best in this area during the few hours just after high tide.  I use my 8 weight rod but you can use a ten weight to throw the heavy flies and fight large fish.  Don’t forget your small-mesh bug net to keep the no-see-ums from making you crazy.  I also wear light weight fingerless sun gloves to keep them off my hands.

There is also a small sockeye fishery out the road at Windfall Creek during the month of June only.  It is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays only and it can get crowded when the fishing is good.  Up to twenty fly fishermen in a small area (The Juneau version of combat fishing.)  The fishing area is accessed via the Herbert River trail, about a 3 mile hike each way.  The bag limit is one fish per day.

Dolly varden fishing is good at several estuaries and small streams.  They feed heavily on the salmon fry headed toward the ocean.

Alaska Flyfishing Goods is a locally owned shop located in downtown Juneau.  They have everything you need including a wealth of local knowledge.  They can direct you toward guided or self-guided fishing on the road system, boat, or floatplane access.

 There are also options to charter a boat for a day or half day of salmon fishing or halibut fishing.  See the Juneau Sport Fishing web link below.

9. Fiction Readings by ASLE Members in Downtown Juneau

For those planning to stay a few extra days in Juneau, ASLE Member and conference participant Josie Sigler will be reading from her new book of short stories, The Galaxie and Other Rides, at Rainy Retreats Books in downtown Juneau on Monday, June 18 at 2 PM. Sigler's stories portray the struggle for survival and the resurgence of wilderness in the post-industrial heartland: a young man fears the worst when his best friend is deployed to Iraq; a woman resists a nuclear plant’s attempts to force her off her property; and a man, who believes that Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is a painting of the smokestacks in his hometown, loses his job at General Motors. Despite their losses, these characters maintain a porch-light-left-on love for each other that defies the odds. The reading will begin at 2 PM, followed by a book signing at 3 PM. Rainy Retreats Books, 113 Seward St Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 463-2665