We love road trips all across America! But one of our favorite destinations, Juneau in Southeast Alaska, is not accessible by car, truck or SUV.
Visitors to the city must arrive by airliner, seaplane, boat or cruise ship. The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city.
The trip is worth it!
|Alaska ... the 49th State
It is situated at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. The Juneau-Douglas Bridge connects the Juneau mainland with Douglas Island.
Juneau shares its eastern border with the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is the only U.S. state capital to border another country.
There are no roads connecting Juneau to the rest of North America, although cars can use the ferries to connect to the road network. The longest road is Glacier Highway, Alaska Route 7, which extends 40 miles north of downtown.
Leaving downtown, the route is known as Egan Drive until the airport. The extreme southern end of Egan Drive is known as Marine Way. Beyond the airport, AK-7 continues north as the Glacier Highway, past Auke Bay to its northernmost point near Berners Bay.
Thane Road run to the south of Juneau until it dead-ends in the Thane community about 6 miles from downtown Juneau.
|Welcome to Juneau ... Alaska's Capital City
The population is about 32,000 residents, making Juneau the second most populous city in the state, after Anchorage,
As the capital of Alaska, the primary employer in Juneau is government. This includes the state government, federal government (which has regional offices here, especially for resource agencies), municipal government (which includes the local airport, hospital, harbors, and school district), and the University of Alaska Southeast.
The fishing industry is also still a major part of the Juneau economy.
Another large contributor to the local economy is the tourism industry, which generates most income in the summer months.
Alaska is a premier cruise ship destination in the United States, with stops in destinations like Anchorage, Sitka, Ketchikan, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Hoonah and Juneau.
|The Celebrity Infinity docked in Juneau
During May through September, cruise ships from Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Carnival, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Viking and other lines dock in downtown Juneau and provide a variety of shore excursions.
Passengers enjoy the area's waterways, glaciers and wildlife, and visit glaciers, ride zip lines, photograph wildlife, and whale watch. Juneau typically see upwards of 11,000 cruise ship passengers a day in a given week during the summer season.
Juneau International Airport (JNU) serves the city and borough of Juneau. Alaska Airlines services the airport year round, operating upwards of 11 daily departures. Alaska also connects Juneau to other cities in the country through connections in Seattle or Anchorage.
We have visited Juneau and and have enjoyed the many sights and attractions in the city, and surrounding natural areas.
Spend a day, ideally many more, and enjoy and explore the beauty and attractions of the city!
|Map showing the location of Juneau relative to other Alaska cities, parks and preserves
|The harbor and skyline of Juneau, Alaska
|Discover Historic Downtown Juneau
There is lots to see and do in downtown Juneau, and it is easily walkable. It includes the Historic Downtown Juneau District, lots of shopping opportunites, great views of the harbor and plenty of dining options.
Four welcome centers are located in the area where visitors can pick up brochures and tour maps. Watch for the blue three-sided historic signposts throughout the downtown area that describe the highlights of the immediate area and add a little more interest to a walking tour.
Front Street was the water's edge at high tide before the Alaska-Juneau mine tailings became the foundations of the streets closer to today's waterfront.
Explore Saloon Central, starting on South Franklin. Some of Juneau's oldest establishments are bars - remnants of the early gold mining era. The town sported 30 saloons around 1914.
South Franklin is Juneau's most famous street, and features attractions like these:
|Port of Juneau seen from a docking cruise ship (Staff Photo)
|Port of Juneau looking south from the Wings Airways seaplane terminal toward the cruise ship docks
|Wings Airways Float Plane Terminal ... and the Hangar on the Wharf restaurant in Juneau
Shopping in downtown
|Homes near downtown Juneau
Built in 1894 by newly baptized Orthodox Natives and Siberian gold miners, the church has been refurbished and is a national historic landmark.
Saint Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church at 326 Fifth Street, with its gold onion dome, is a reminder of the Russian presence in 19th-century Alaska.
The octagon-shaped structure houses 18th-century Russian icons and religious relics.
Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway
The Mount Roberts Tramway is an aerial tramway is located just south of downtown Juneau. In operation since 1996, the tram makes a six-minute ascent of 3,819-foot Mount Roberts from the cruise ship docks to a height of about 1,800 feet.
Loading area for the Tramway
A restaurant, theater, nature center and retail shops are located at the top of the tramway, as well as connections to trails leading both up and down the mountain.
|View of downtown Juneau and the cruse ship port from atop the Tramway
The Alaska State Museum in the Andrew P. Kashevaroff Building is one of the easiest ways to experience the history, art and culture of the many diverse regions of Alaska. The museum features seasonally changing fine art and historic exhibits, and world-class permanent exhibits about the history, art, and cultures of Alaska.
Located at 395 Whittier Street. For information or opening times and admission prices, phone 907.465.2901, or visit the website of the Alaska State Museum
Alaska State Capitol
The building was completed in 1931, and housed the federal government until Alaska statehood in 1959. Visitors are welcome to explore the Capitol at their leisure, between 7:00am - 5:00pm Monday-Friday.
Free guided tours are available seasonally May through September. The building is located at 120 4th Street downtown.
|The Seawalk to Downtown Juneau, seen here near the cruise ship docks
|The Gastineau Channel just north of Juneau ... here the channel becomes shallow and forms a large, fertile intertidal wetlands complex. (Staff Photo)
|Sign for the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Mendenhall, one of the most beautiful and accessible glaciers in North America, lies just 13 miles north of downtown Juneau and a few minutes from the airport.
Leaving downtown Juneau, take Egan Drive north and turn right at Mendenhall Loop Road, which turns into Glacier Spur Road and ends at the Visitor Center. There is ample free parking on site.
The Glacier Shuttle is another quick and convenient option to reach the glacier, with one leaving from town every 30 minutes. Pick up and drop off is located at the cruise ship terminal.
A trip to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center provides fascinating information as well as excellent views of this ever-changing wonder. To access the Visitor Center, stroll up an easy-walk ramp, climb the stairs, or ride an elevator. Inside you can watch a movie "Landscape of Change", view the glacier from the observation area and browse a well-stocked bookstore.
Mendenhall is part of the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield.
|Mendenhall Glacier in early summer (Staff Photo)
|The Nugget Falls Trail
There are many ways to get up close to this majestic glacier. Hiking trails run along surrounding terrain, including a moderately easy and well-marked trail to the 377-foot high Nugget Falls.
Other hiking options include the 1/3 miles easy, paved Photo Point Trail, Steep Creek Trail, Trail of Time and the East Glacier Trail.
While the Mendenhall Glacier is accessible all year, the best time to visit is May through October.
|The falls at the Mendenhall Glacier
A river rafting tour offers visitors a different view on Mendenhall Glacier, and an exciting ride down Juneau's Mendenhall River! On the trip visitors see deep green forests, wildlife, and enjoy the beautiful Alaska scenery.
|River rafting on the Mendenhall River (Staff Photo)
|Enjoying a fun day on the Mendenhall River! (Staff Photo)
|Whale watching boat near Juneau
|The power and elegance of a whale breaching ... close to Juneau in the summer! (Staff Photo)
There are two main species of bear found in Juneau: black bears and brown bears. One of the best places to observe brown bears is at the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area on Admiralty Island. The absolute best place to see brown bears is on Admiralty Island National Monument. Admiralty Island is home to an estimated 1,600 brown bears.
Bears are plentiful in the area
|The majestic Golden Eagle
|Tracy Arm Fjord
Juneau offers a wide variety of accommodations, including hotels, B&Bs, wilderness lodges and resorts, cabins, RV parks and campgrounds. Rooms book quickly in summer and reservation are recommended.
Juneau has an extensive variety of dining and culinary options available, from local restaurants to pubs and breweries. Seafood is king! Salmon, halibut, and crab make up the Alaskan seafood trifecta. Don’t forget about regionally caught scallops, spot prawns, and Dungeness crab! Don’t forget to take home a gift of smoked salmon.
Other cuisines can be found, including Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, sushi, burger, pizza and more!
For more local dining experiences, head out to the Valley, Auke Bay, or over to Douglas Island for some of the tastiest food in Alaska.
|One of the popular eateries in downtown Juneau: Tracy's King Crab Shack
More Alaska Destinations
More Information and Resources about Juneau