Popular Juneau Shore Excursions
Mendenhall Glacier: The U.S. Forest Service maintains a visitor center and walking trails at the glacier and Nugget Falls. Bears patrol the creek for salmon and are often seen quite close. Not to worry -- rangers are on patrol, as well. Ships offer tours to the area, or do-it-yourselfers can take a shuttle from town. Visitors can also raft to the glacier on a guided tour with Alaska Travel Adventures (800-323-5757).
The most exciting way to see the glacier is by helicopter. Temsco Helicopters (877-789-9501) offers a basic tour with about 30 minutes in the air and 20 to 25 minutes on the glacier; upgrade to the "pilot's choice" tour for two different glacier landings. Advance reservations are advised, and don't forget to factor in transportation costs to the airport if they're not included.
Mount Roberts Tramway: The tram whisks travelers up to a 1,800-foot-high station on Mount Roberts. Visitors will find hiking trails, a cafe, a gift shop and a captive, injured bald eagle from the Juneau Raptor Center. (490 S. Franklin Street; 888-461-8726; open noon to 9 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday May to September; $34 for an all-day pass)
Red Dog Saloon: This kitschy wild-western-nostalgia bar comes complete with sawdust floors, mounted wildlife and swinging doors. A piano player typically can be found tickling the keys on afternoons when cruise ships are in port. (278 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-3658; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council has a community calendar on its website that is jam packed with events, so you easily can find out what's happening while you're in port.
Glacier Gardens: Have you seen an upside-down tree? You will at Glacier Gardens, where the owners turned massive trees on their tops and used the roots as giant flower baskets. The gardens flourish in a rain forest setting. Guided tours are by golf cart. (7600 Glacier Highway; 907-790-3377; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; adults $26.95, kids $15.95)
Macaulay Salmon Hatchery: Learn all about the life of a salmon. In addition to raising and harvesting salmon, the hatchery is an aquarium that displays marine life. Kids will love the touch tank. (2697 Channel Drive, 2.5 miles north of the dock; 907-463-5114; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $5 for adults, $3 for children)
Hiking: Juneau got its start as a mining town, and several leisurely (and fairly short) hikes are available from the city center that wind past old mining equipment. The Flume Trail follows a wooden bridge past numerous small waterfalls. Across the channel (in Douglas), the easy Treadwell Trail runs through the once vibrant mining community adjacent to a beach. The Perseverance Trail is the most challenging of the three but is very popular because of the stunning views.
Shopping: You'll find typical souvenir shops but also a few standouts. Check out the Jade Shop (321 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-5551) for all manner of jade animals and jewelry. The jade is mined in Alaska, about 120 miles east of Juneau. Caribou Crossings (387 S. Franklin Street; 907-586-5008) sells quality, made-in-Alaska arts and crafts. Alaska Fur Gallery (359 S. Franklin Street; 907-463-5588) wins the "tacky" award with its fur-covered jockstraps. If you need a colorful, flower-decked umbrella, pick one up at Glacier Gardens, and for anything else you may have forgotten to pack, head to Ben Franklin (233 Front Street; 907-586-6762), one of the city's most historic shops.