|View to Juneau from the Mt Roberts Trail|
There are some absolutely fabulous trails near Alaska’s panhandle boroughs. From late spring to early fall there are actually more tourists in this region than residents. Not that I ever like to think of myself as a tourist, but in this case, it’s appropriate. I’ve never been anywhere else before where you can find such dramatic and pristine landscapes within walking distance from a town. In our local area where we live, we have a great many trails to choose from, and I never get tired of getting outside to spend the day at some wild space preserve or another. But if you really want to experience awesome inspiring scenery, and have a world class hiking experience, you really need to get away for awhile. At the very least, you would need to drive for hours just to get clear of the sprawling anthill that is the bay area metropolis. However, in Juneau, for example, you can be walking down a city street past shops, restaurants, hotels, homes, etc; hang a right, and climb a flight of stairs; and there is a trail head heading up into the temperate rainforest at the base of the steep alpine terrain of the mountains that loom above the city. In this neighborhood, the wilderness areas begin right at the doorstep of the largest center of human habitation for hundreds of miles. It’s enough to make you want to miss your ship, and stay lost until your money runs out.
We began by walking out of town on Basin Road to the lower trail head of the Mt Roberts Trail. Many people skip this section by taking the tram from the harbor area up to the Visitor’s center located about 1750 feet up the mountain. There are some nice view points up there, and some short nature trails. You can even have a meal at the restaurant and enjoy the nature center up there before heading back down. The tram tickets have gone up in price to $27. Hikers have another option though. You can pay $10 for a down only pass on the tram. Or if you make a purchase at the gift shop, you can use your receipt as a down only pass. The lower trail has some steep and muddy sections, but hikers are more likely to enjoy the rain forest hike more than wimping out on the tram.
|Rainbow in Silverbow Basin|
Click here to see my photos on flickr
Click here to see my trip report and GPS track on Every Trail