Juneau is the only state capital in the USA that is inaccessible by car. The city of about 30,000 residents is perched on the southeast coast of Alaska on the Inside Passage, and you need a ship or a plane to get to Juneau.
With the Mendenhall Glacier, Douglas Island, and many spectacular mountains and waterways nearby, Juneau offers many excursion opportunities for Alaska cruises. Active visitors can go hiking, zip-lining, fishing, or sea kayaking. They can also go on helicopter or float plane sightseeing tours or ride a tram to the top of Mount Roberts. If the weather is rainy, the town has many excellent shops, or you can tour the Alaskan Brewing Company and sample the beers made from crystal clear Alaska waters.
Most ships on Alaska cruises from Seattle, Vancouver or Anchorage ports visit the city each day during the busy summer cruise season, and a few small ships either embark or disembark in this capital city of Alaska.
Riding the tram up 1800 feet above sea level to the side of Mount Roberts is a terrific activity in Juneau on a clear day.
Hang Glider Parachutist over Juneau
Watching hang gliders from one of the Mount Roberts' trails is a fun thing to do on a sunny day in Juneau.
Father Brown's Cross Overlooks Juneau from Mount Roberts
After taking the tram up to Mt. Roberts, many Juneau visitors hike the trail to Father Brown's Cross. It's about a half mile from the Alpine Loop Trail.
Mount Juneau in Alaska
Hiking is a popular activity in and around Juneau, Alaska. The trail to the top of Mount Juneau is only for the very fit.
The Mount Juneau Trail is very challenging. It begins about 1 mile into the Perseverance trail and then rises more than 3,500 feet in about 2 miles.
Bald Eagle in Juneau, Alaska
Although the raptor rehabilitators were able to save this injured eagle's life, he could not be returned to the wild, so lives at the Juneau Raptor Center.
Hiking the Rainforest Trail on Douglas Island near Juneau, Alaska
The Rainforest Trail is a loop trail of about 1 mile long that passes through amazing rainforest and down to the beach of Douglas Island near Juneau.
Fungus on Tree on Rainforest Trail
The large fungi growing on this tree almost looks like a turtle.
Skunk Cabbage on Rainforest Trail
Skunk cabbage loves boggy areas like this one on the Rainforest Trail near Juneau.
Mushrooms on Rainforest Trail
The very wet rainforest trail is lined with mushrooms (fungi) of all types. Many are beautiful like this one.
Alaskan Brewing Company Storage Vats
These huge stainless steel vats are used to store beer at the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau.
Alaskan Brewing Company - Nine Beers to Taste!
Samples of nine different beers are available for tasting at the Alaskan Brewing Company brewery and headquarters in Juneau.
Proper Zipline Form with Alaska Zipline Adventures
Keeping the knees up at the end of the zip is very important to prevent hitting your legs.
Walking Across the Swinging Bridge at Alaska Zipline Adventures
The kids in our group (and some of the adults) loved crossing this swinging bridge, making it sway back and forth and go up and down.
Ready for Kayaking!
Julie and Linda are all suited up and ready to kayak in Auke Bay on Alaska Travel Adventures' Glacier View Sea Kayaking excursion
Kayaking in Auke Bay
The views of the Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau ice fields are fantastic from a sea kayak.
Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau
View of the Mendenhall Glacier in the late afternoon sun from Douglas Island.
How many state capitals have float planes parked right downtown?
The three small cruise ships at the dock are the Cruise West Spirit of Yorktown, Cruise West Spirit of Discovery, and the National Geographic Sea Lion (Lindblad).
Float Plane Takes Off in Juneau, Alaska
While sitting on the balcony of our Regent Seven Seas Mariner cabin, we enjoyed watching the float planes taking off and landing right in front of our view!
Alaska Governor's Mansion in Juneau, Alaska
We were in Alaska when Governor Sarah Palin was selected to be John McCain's running mate. We weren't the only tourists checking out the mansion.
The Alaska Governor's Mansion was completed in 1913 at a cost of $40,000. It is located about 2 blocks from the State Capital and sits high on a hill overlooking Juneau. The Governor's Mansion has a very small lot, and we were able to walk right up to the home and take a photo. Security may have tightened now.
Backyard of the Alaska Governor's Mansion in Juneau
The backyard of the Alaska Governor's mansion was filled with toys for Governor Sarah Palin's children.
Stairs Connecting Streets in Juneau, Alaska
Juneau sits between the Gastineau Channel and the Coast Mountains. The town is very hilly, and stairs are sometimes used to connect the streets.
Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau, Alaska
The Goldbelt Hotel is located across the street from the harbor and within easy walking distance of downtown. It is clean and has great views of the mountains and the harbor. Cruise West uses the Gold Belt, as do other cruise lines, for pre- and post-cruise extensions.
Goldbelt Hotel Room in Juneau, Alaska
The rooms at the Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau are spacious, with cable TV and an Internet connection. Cruise West has an information desk in the lobby.
View from Room at Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau, Alaska
We had a gorgeous mountain view from our room at the Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau.
Patsy Ann Statue in Juneau, Alaska
A statue of a stray dog named Patsy Ann greets cruise ship passengers to Juneau. The "real" Patsy Ann was a fixture on the docks in the 1930s.
Alaska State Capital in Juneau, Alaska
The State Capital in Juneau has free guided tours during the day on Monday through Friday. It's interesting to see where our largest state is governed.
Downtown Juneau, Alaska
Cruise ships can dock right downtown in Juneau, Alaska. Much of the historic city can be seen on foot.
Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau, Alaska
Taking the tram to the top of Mount Roberts is exciting, and the view at the top is beautiful on a clear day. Numerous hiking trails criss-cross the summit.
Flowers Along the Cruise Ship Dock in Juneau, Alaska
The cooler summer days lead to magnificent flowers in Alaska, like these that adorn the cruise ship pier in Juneau.
Gastineau Channel and Douglas Island at Juneau, Alaska
Some of the first gold mines near Juneau were on nearby Douglas Island. The Treadwell mine produced $66 million in gold in its 35 years of operation.
Floatplane Landing in Juneau, Alaska
The first few floatplanes we watched landing on the bays and channels of Alaska were amazing. After watching a few dozen, they seemed almost commonplace.
Juneau Icefields in Juneau, Alaska
We stopped for this gorgeous view of the Juneau icefields on our short drive to the Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau. A visit to the Mendenhall Glacier is one of the highlights of a trip to Juneau. The glacier is very busy during the day, so we visited late in the evening after all the cruise ships had sailed. The days are very long in Juneau in the summer, so you can still get a great look at the Mendenhall Glacier after the cruise ships sail if you are spending the night in Juneau.
Another reason to go to the Mendenhall after the crowds leave is to see the bearswho come out to do a little fishing.
Black Bear at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska
Black bears gather near the Mendenhall Glacier to enjoy the salmon run. It's an easy meal for them!
View of Auke Lake from the Chapel by the Lake
The views of the Juneau Icefield from the log Chapel by the Lake at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau are spectacular.
Ronnie Garrison Fishing in the Gastineau Channel in Juneau, Alaska
My husband Ronnie is an outdoor writer and tries to fish every day. He bought a fishing license online and managed a few casts in Alaska whenever possible.
Ronnie Garrison and Salmon at Juneau, Alaska
Ronnie loves to fish whenever he can.
Ronnie caught this salmon in the bay near our hotel in Juneau. Its distinctive hook nose and color changes demonstrate that the fish was on its way to spawn (or had already spawned and was waiting to die). Salmon don't normally feed after they undergo this drastic transformation. This one probably hit the lure instinctively.
Sorting the Day's Catch in Juneau, Alaska
Commercial fishing boats unload their day's catch next to the cruise ship pier. It's fun to see them sort the different species of fish.
Spirit of Yorktown at the Dock in Juneau, Alaska
The Cruise West Spirit of Yorktown docked immediately across the street from the Goldbelt Hotel where we stayed the night before our cruise.