So the time is quickly approaching that life in Juneau will be very similar to life in a fish bowl :) Locals, you know what I'm talking about. The constant sound of helicopters overhead, tour buses going up and down Mendenhall Loop Rd, plenty of tourists jaywalking and of course the return of all the shop owners who make downtown Juneau look deserted over the winter. On May 3rd the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts reopens and with it comes the cruises and backpackers and thrill seekers.
Brotherhood Trail 2.2 miles, all paved very easy walking or running.
So you've decided to come to Juneau, by cruise boat or plane, do you have a car or are you only on foot and tour bus? Trying to get the most of your tourist experience or would you rather get to know Juneau like the locals know Juneau?
I am going to highlight a few areas of interest in order for you to make the most of your time here.
1. If you're going to come to Juneau you need to try to make it to Alaskan Brewing Company. Only in Alaska can you be sitting in church and see a 12 year old boy wearing an Alaskan Brewery hoodie and it not be inappropriate...seriously, only here :) Alaskan Brewery is my all time favorite beer maker. Their Winter Ale with Sitka Spruce tips is amazing. If you make it over there you will enjoy (so long as you don't get sloshed) 8 ounce glasses of beer for free. They have all kinds to sample and will keep refilling your glass as you look at their bottle collection, brewing equipment and souvenirs. The staff is always friendly and laid back. Finding it can be a challenge if you don't have a tour or taxi...but mapquest from your location to the brewery should get you there and when all else fails, stop and ask for directions :)
2. If you like to bike I suggest the Herbert Glacier Trail. Our three kids have done it a few times and lived to tell about it so if a 6 yr old can make (he was 5 at the time) just about anyone can. It gets bumpy in spots due to tree roots so just go slow and you will be fine. It's about a 9 mile round trip bike ride, it is considered a "locals special" because it is not a spot the cruise boat passengers go. It's a ways out the road so if you are on a time schedule you need to calculate in about a 45 min out there and 45 back.
3. If you want to see the Mendenhall Glacier better than just at the visitors center I suggest you hike the West Glacier Trail. It will get you right to the ice caves...however I do not suggest you go in them or climb on it. Just saying. We have done this trail with our kids as well. There are steep rugged parts that require a little bit of work but the rewards are worth it.
So I will give you more spots to see next time, for example my favorite and really only place we eat out at in Juneau. It's good stuff and down home friendly with virtually no tourism except the workers on cruise ship that ask the taxi's to take them somewhere they won't run into passengers :)