We took the Glacier Express bus to Mendenhall Glacier. It costs $20 return and runs every 30 minutes. There is also a nice hike up Mt. Roberts that you can access from Basin Road, past the top of Gold Street. It took about 30 minutes to walk from the ship through town, to the beginning of the trail, then just under an hour to hike the trail to the top where the tram station is located – beautiful views! You can either walk back down or take the tram down for $10. If you spend $10 in the gift shop, you can ride the tram down for free.
We spent our first day just wandering around town – I especially enjoyed climbing the stairs up into the hillside residential areas – some really cool neighborhoods. On the second day, we took the public transit bus to Totem Bight State Park. The Silver Line bus runs there once an hour with a stop right across from where the ship docks and it drops you off right at the park. The trip takes about 20-25 minutes each way. The bus is a bargain at $1 each way and entry to the park is free. The park is a very nice setting with a long house and a good collection of totem poles.
If you get tired of all the jewelry stores, I would highly recommend renting a car and driving up over the White Pass to Carcross in the Yukon. It’s about a 90 minute drive each way, but there are lots of places you’ll want to stop. It’s one of my favorite drives and the scenery is amazing. Particularly beautiful spots are the White Pass summit, Bove Island overlook, and Emerald Lake (which is actually about 10-15 minutes past Carcross).