Friday, August 14, 2015

All Ashore in Juneau

Because the ship doesn't dock until 11 am the passengers are anxious to get off.  We hang back and relax in the cabin sitting on the balcony until things settle down and head ashore around 11;30 with no wait at all. 

Once ashore we turned left and started working towards town.  You will walk right past a bunch of booths selling every type of tour you may want.  

This bus will take you to and from Mendenhall Glacier

Cute house along Basin Street on the way to the start of the trail

There were a few city maps posted around and we could easily find where we had to continue thru town to sixth street, turn right and follow the signs.  

Quite easy to find, but note if you have a hard time climbing the road to the start of the trail don't do the hike cause this is nothing compared to the actual hike.

The total elevation to the tram is 1,760 feet and you have a darn good chance of encountering mud.  Even at the beginning of August it was quite muddy but locals were saying it had been raining quite a bit lately.  I know in the past when we have been here in May and June the locals said that there is often quite a bit of snow so we never tackled it.  

hot and sweaty at the top

Today it took us just under two hours to get to the top and that was with a few stops along the way to take pictures and enjoy some limited views.  

But the hike is excellent and a nice option.  So glad we brought water cause it was hot, and glad we brought bug spray as there were lots of mosquitos.  

Once at the top we were slammed with tons of people.  I believe there were four ships in port so this explains it.

picture taken from ship showing the top of the Tram

You can take the tram up to the top from Franklin street at a current cost of $33 per person for an all day pass.

We had read that the cost to take the tram down was $10 per person.  When we got to the center we asked about where to buy the tickets and was told all we had to do was spend $10 on food/drinks or from the gift shop and show the receipt.

We did buy some items in the gift shop, which is huge and a huge variety of products.

There are washrooms, a theater showing a movie that ran quite often, but we didn't partake.  There is a restaurant/bar and a small counter selling drinks/snacks.

Outside they had a big bird sanctuary where there was an eagle that had been shot at that now needs to be taken are of.  There was a volunteer there that explain all about the bird and answered questions. There was also a small information center and gift shop.  

There are numerous trails you can take from the top of the tram but again we were tired from the hike and just wanted air conditioning and food.

We had really no wait for the tram and while we waited the attendant there entertained us with drumming and singing.  He continued to talk about the area and drum and thank us for visiting the area.  This was lovely.

Oh I should add that no one every asked to see our receipt to see if we bought $10 worth of product. Not sure is this is normal or just a one off.

Mount Roberts Trail Information 

Once back in town we kept walking towards town.  We walked past Tracey's Crab Shack and thought about eating there but it wasn't cheap and the queue was long and you had to eat at a picnic table.  We just weren't up for that but it sure looked good.  But personally I would go to the Crab Shack on board that is $20 per person and get a ton more crab.

We walked thru town and ended up at Little Toyko restaurant for some sushi.  Some of the crew had recommended it and we did see quite a few crew there.  

The place was busy but we were sat at a booth.  Right away we noticed the prices are certainly higher than what we have to pay at home but that seems to be common here in Alaska.  The food was good, not great but filled our bellies.  
We ended up ordering the bento box cause it was quite reasonable in price.  We enjoyed it and I would go back if I had another Sushi craving.

After lunch we decided to walk around some more and took a look in some stores.  There is a pair of shoes that I bought at home from an Native store that I love that have a beautiful design.  Those shoes have worn out and since then and I saw the same brand in a window and went into see how much. But oh my they are about 50% more here than what I paid at home and in US dollar which is already at 25% more because of the exchange so we didn't buy.

Bernie had to stop and get his Alaskan Fudge.  We picked up a small box that contained three slices of fudge for a price of $25.  There are numerous fudge stores in Juneau and of course there are some in Skagway and Ketchikan too in case you need your fix.

It is now around 5 pm and we are ready to head back and have a shower.  But it has been a great day.


  1. My wife and I did the exact same thing in 2009 (hike up to the top and ride the tram down), we were also told about spending money in the gift shop to get the ride down and were also not asked to produce the receipt. I really enjoyed the hike, and getting to see the eagle up close (just a few feet away).

  2. Thanks for the post. Thought we had run out of things to do in Juneau, even took the helicopter ride to glacier last year. Looking forward to this hike and free ride home for 2016.

  3. Hi Guys. Vickie, thanks for taking us back to Alaska with you. Looks like you had fantastic weather and a great time. Your pictures are wonderful. Safe travels home. S&B