The bus took us from the tramway to the USDA Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The driver was informative and entertaining. We hiked the 0.8 mi Nugget Falls Trail for some excellent views of the glacier and falls before we had to board the bus for return to the tramway (very close to the dock). The cost was about $13 when purchased with an all day Tramway pass. The bus schedule resulted in a late lunch, but at least the restaurant wasn't crowded. One could easily spend the day at the glacier. To do so, the city bus (Capital Transit blue route, $2 each way, exact fare required) adds a 1.5 mi. walk. Taxi or rental car are also options.
The Tramway ride was just the beginning. A short film outlines the Tlingit culture, introduced by a woman who greets you in the unique Tlingit language and translates as she goes along. A restaurant with a deck providing wonderful views to the northeast offers locally sourced fare and Alaskan draft beer (as well as the other kind). A trail system allows visitors of various fitness levels to obtain even more spectacular views than those available at the tram terminus (which are none too shabby themselves). We saw ptarmigan on the trail to Father Brown's Cross. There is a nature center, rescued bald eagle, and a gift store, which features Alaskan and Native Made items.
The bus ride to the State Park was a little long but the driver/guide made it interesting. She was knowledgeable and informative and she even baked cookies for the group to snack on at the gift store after the tour. The gift store featured Native-made carvings and contained a museum with antique firearms (including a Gatling gun) and cars. After hearing comments from other passengers I'd probably opt for the Saxman Native Village instead.
White Pass Scenic RR
Low clouds limited the otherwise expansive views from parts of this historic route to White Pass. The train passes over trestles and through tunnels along the original route conceived and built at the end of the Klondike Gold Rush. Be sure to sit on the left side if ascending, right side when descending. Pictures are also possible from the platforms so try to sit near either end of the car. The Canadian Customs passport inspection delays boarding of the bus if you're continuing on to Bennett Lake. The bus portion (not included in all excursions) really rounds out the experience and is highly recommended.
With stops at Bennett Lake in Carcross and the Carcross Desert, as well as other scenic outlooks, this portion of the trip made up for the limited views from the train. The lunch stop at the Caribou Crossing Trading Post was nothing special but the separate ice cream parlor was good. The museum featured stuffed indigenous wildlife including a mastodon and a buffalo being attacked by two mountain lions. Carcross had an informative visitor center and I regretted not being able to spend more time here. If there's a next time, I'll rent a car and drive there myself!