Juneau Alaska cruise tours can be one of the most memorable parts of your Alaskan cruise. But you don’t have to break the bank to see some of the best Juneau has to offer.
Juneau is a quaint, historic little city of some 30,000 residents, located on the magnificent Inside Passage of lower Alaska. The city itself is situated on a narrow straight known as the Gastineau Channel.
One either side of the channel Alphafysiotherapie fysio fitnes are lush, magnificent Alpine peaks, often capped in snow, and still being carved by glaciers. Many of the glaciers connect to the Juneau Icefield, the largest icefield in North America.
The slopes of mountains themselves are covered with amazingly verdant temperate rainforest. Waterfalls are everywhere, and frequent rainfall keeps the city and its surroundings lush and green.
Juneau on a Budget
Many Alaska cruise tours out of Juneau can run in the hundreds of dollars, and some are well worth every cent. But if you don’t have the budget for that kind of extravagance, you can still see some of the most spectacular sights in Juneau.
In fact, I have created an agenda that will cost under $35 for an adult (about $25 for kids) and which will take you from the highest peak in town to the most amazing sight in the city.
Your adventure begins right as you exit your cruise ship at the Juneau docks. Look for the kiosk marked “Mt. Roberts Tramway”. It is located at 490 South Franklin Street, immediately adjacent to the docks.
Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk for $24.95 per adult, and the tram departs every ten minutes from the same location. The tram travels up a cable some 1,800 feet from the waterfront below, dropping you off in the middle of beautiful and lush temperate rainforest.
The top of Mt. Roberts boasts a restaurant, nature center, theater, live bald eagle exhibit, and miles of amazing hiking trails. Take in a free film about native culture entitled Seeing Daylight at the Chilkat Theater, then check out the nature center and gift shop before departing on one of the many available hikes, which offer stunning views of Juneau, the Gastineau Channel, and the seemingly endless array of snow-capped peaks that spread out as far as the eye can see.
Finally, descend the tram right back down to your ship and have lunch onboard, enjoying a view of the city and mountains as you eat.
Mendenhall Glacier: See it Up Close
The massive and magnificent Mendenhall Glacier is the only glacier within the city limits of any North American municipality.
Busses depart from the cruise ship docks to and from the glacier throughout the day, leaving every 30 minutes or so. Look for the blue busses marked “Mendenhall Glacier Express”. Fares are around $5 each way, and take you directly to the glacier visitor center. (Make sure to check with the bus driver to confirm when the return busses will be leaving.)
From the visitor center, you can walk directly to the small lake in front of the glacier. It is a stunning and beautiful sight, and probably the closest you will ever get to a glacier
There are several hikes to choose from that run from the visitor center, but note how long you have until your cruise ship departs. If you have time and are in decent shape, the East Glacier Trail is about 3.5 miles long and takes you past waterfalls, through rainforest, and by some amazing views of the glacier, looking down on the massive river of ice.
If time is a factor and you have to choose one hike, I would advise taking in the view from the top of the tramway, then heading to Mendenhall glacier for the hike. The hikes from Mendenhall can afford you absolutely stunning views of the glacier, offering a perspective of a glacier that is far different from those you will have aboard your cruise ship.
Also, watch for brown (grizzly) bears feeding in the stream beneath the visitor center, especially in later summer, when the salmon have returned to spawn.
Seeing the grizzlies at Mendenhall is a truly amazing sight, probably the closest you will ever get to a grizzly outside of a zoo.
Finally, catch one of the blue busses back to the cruise ship docks, enjoying the tour of downtown Juneau on the way back. Thus ends perhaps the most memorable day of an amazing Alaska cruise, and all for under $35.