The Top Outdoor Adventures Via Public Transportation: Juneau

Hiking to the Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier and frozen Mendenhall Lake.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

West Glacier Trail

Season: April to August
Length: Four miles

Not many cities can boast glaciers in their backyard. Even fewer can boast glaciers along a public bus route. Except, that is, Juneau, Alaska. A 45-minute bus ride from the Juneau Public Library will land you at the base of the West Glacier Trail, a 6.8-mile round trip hike to the stunning Mendenhall Glacier. Rising up through misty Tongas National Rain Forest, the trail is well maintained and marked and has several bridge crossings of clear glacial fed streams. The hike is intermediate and ends with incredible views of the glacier, Mendenhall Lake, and the surrounding rain forest region. For those looking for an added thrill, there are a few spur trails that lead right down to the glacier to explore ice caves and other natural features created by the ice flow. This is not advised due to the shifting nature of the ice, but for those that take proper precaution, the experience is unforgettable.

GETTING THERE: From the Juneau Public Library, take bus route 3 to the Montana Creek Road stop. From there you should be able to see the West Glacier Trailhead.

TRAVEL TIME: About 45 minutes.

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