More than two dozen hikes are described in a nicely made book with detailed topographic maps of each, "Juneau Trails" (www.alaskanha.org, $8), which you can find at visitor centers. "In the Miner's Footsteps", a guide to the history behind 14 Juneau trails, is available for a nominal price from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. The Juneau city Department of Parks and Recreation (tel. 907-586-5226; www.juneau.org/parksrec) leads hikes (and other activities) through the year; check the website or call the 24-hour hike line at tel. 907-586-0428.
The Perseverance Trail climbs up the valley behind Juneau and into the mining history of the area it accesses. It can be busy in summer. The trail head is about 1 1/2 miles from town on Basin Road. The trail is four miles of easy walking on the mountainside above Gold Creek to the Perseverance Mine, at the Silverbow Basin, a mining community from 1885 to 1921. Use caution on icy patches, as there are steep drop-offs. A well-documented historic pamphlet is for sale at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.
Two trails start from points along the Perseverance Trail. The challenging Mount Juneau Trail rises more than 3,500 feet over about two miles from a point one mile long from the Perseverance trail head. Go only in dry weather to avoid disastrous falls. The Granite Creek Trail, starting two miles in on the Perseverance Trail, climbs 1,200 feet over 1.5 miles to an alpine basin. Both are quieter than the Perseverance Trail.
Another hike right from downtown climbs Mount Roberts — just follow the stairway from the top of 6th Street in a neighborhood called Star Hill. The summit is 4.5 miles and 3,819 vertical feet away, but you don't have to go all the way to the top for incredible views and alpine terrain. At the 1,760-foot level, you come to the restaurant at the top of the Mount Roberts tram. Of course, it's easier to take the tram up and hike down, or start from the tram stop to hike to the summit.
The Treadwell Mine Historic Trail, on Douglas Island, is a fascinating hour's stroll through the ruins of a massive hard-rock mine complex that once employed and housed 2,000 men. Since its abandonment in 1922 big trees have grown up through the foundations, intertwining their roots through rails and machinery and adding to the site's exceptional power over the imagination. A well-written guide to numbered posts on the trail is available from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. This is a great hike for kids. To find the trail head, take 3rd Street in Douglas, bearing left at the Y onto Savikko Street, which leads to Savikko Park, also known as Sandy Beach Park. The trail starts at the far end of the park.
Another great family outing is to the Outer Point Trail, 1.3 miles on a forest boardwalk to a beach with good tide pooling, lots of eagles, and possible whale sightings. Nowhere else I know do so many different kinds of lovely spots present themselves in such a short walk: the mossy rainforest, the stunted muskeg swamp, a glassy little creek, and the pebbled beach and bedrock ocean pools. From there, on the western point of Douglas Island — the opposite side from Juneau — you can see Auke Bay to the east, Admiralty Island to the west, and the tiny islands of Stephens Passage before you. The trail's only drawback is crowding, especially when tour groups tromp through; avoid them by going early or late. To get there, drive over the bridge to Douglas, then right on North Douglas Highway 12 miles to the trail head.
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