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Short easy hike in Juneau

Appleton, Wisconsin
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Short easy hike in Juneau

We are planning on doing some longer hikes around the Mendenhall Glacier area but are looking for some short, easy hikes that we can do as after dinner strolls just to relax and take in the beauty of Alaska. We would probably pick a starting spot and just do some short out and back hikes. We love to hike in the woods and/or near rushing water or lakes. Looking at the map, these are some of the possibilities I came up with:

Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei(Mendenhall River)- We would probably start at the trail head off what looks to be River Road rather than starting at Brotherhood Bridge to avoid the crowds.

Auke Lake

Montana Creek Trail either between a)Brotherhood Bridge and the Loop Rd, or b) between Montana Creek Rd and Loop Rd, or c) go to the end of Montana Creek and start hiking there.

Rainforest Trail on Douglas Island

Does anyone have any recommendations between these choices or have any other suggestions?

Thanks!

Juneau, Alaska
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1. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

Hi Irongrl! Any of those choices should be great short hikes. Depending on where you are staying, and if you have a car, some will be easier than others to get to. For example, the bus runs right past the trailheads for both the Kaxdigoowu and Auke Lake trails. The trails on north Douglas are going to take some driving time to get to since the only bridge is down town, and then you have to drive north. I don't know how often, or if, the bus runs out that way.

Another couple of trails that you might enjoy are:

1) The airport dike trail (although this is neither in the woods or very quiet, but it is a very nice walk through wetlands).

2) The Nugget Falls trail at the glacier is only about 45 minutes round trip, but is also the most popular trail up there.

3) Any of the trails up Perseverance are fun, in the woods, and often near rushing water - unfortunately you really do have to drive up there.

4) If you happen to have dinner at the top of Mt. Roberts, any of the trails around the top of the mountain would make for pleasant postprandial strolls.

Cheers!

Juneau, Alaska
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2. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

I second NomeMan's recommendation of Perseverance trail system; it offers lots of great scenery and is not a difficult hike. You could do an after-dinner hike to Ebner Falls, for example, and get plenty of great views.

Also trails at the top of Mt Roberts--very nice area. Watch for marmots, black bears, coyotes, and ptarmigan.

If you can get out to Douglas Island fairly easily (i.e. if you have a vehicle), Rainforest Trail system is definitely great. Goes through a lovely forest and down to a beach, with excellent sunset views. It's a great picnic beach, too.

Drive up Fish Creek Road on Douglas (locals call it Eaglecrest Road) and you can hike the road up the ski slopes. In midsummer, they're lush and green and filled with birds, deer, bears, and--later in summer--with blueberries.

Montana Creek is a nice hike, but the different sections you mention have very different characters. The first section (Brotherhood to Loop Rd) varies from paved trail to muddy rainforest root-fest (quiet and pretty, though). The section between the Loop Road and Montana Creek Road is, in my experience, pretty rough--mostly used by fishermen and rarely walked the whole length, and some sections can flood during warm spells or rainy spells.

The Montana Creek Trail section that starts from the end of Montana Creek Road would be my recommendation: for the first couple of miles it's on an old roadbed, following the creek very closely, then turns into a smaller trail, still paralleling the creek. If you like walking beside rushing water, this is a very nice trail--and it's usually quite quiet.

Heads-up: the end of Montana Creek Road is a bit of a dive. Lots of feckless youth (and adults, I'm sure) like to dump all kinds of garbage out there, have bonfires, throw beer bottles in the woods. It's often kind of trashed--but once you get going on the trail, it gets better. Another heads-up: during salmon season (mid-July through September or later), this is definitely bear territory, and it's one of the few places near town that brown bears still hang out. Not to deter you, but just be bear-aware as you hike.

Juneau, Alaska
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3. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

A lot of us hikers are avoiding the Montana Creek Trail as a thru hike to Windfall lake due to a lot of trail damage, and part of the trail in the 'canyon' has collapsed into the river. The Brotherhood Trail (along the Mendenhall River) is a fairly well used trail and the noise keeps some bears away (note: not ALL, but most). I would *STRONGLY* urge you to avoid the Montana Creek Spur (where the Brotherhood trail crosses Montana creek) as it gets a lot of bear action, they are out in the meadow (my backyard) quite a bit out there digging up roots and eating berries. The creek also provides them with fish later on in the summer... so unless you are prepared for a possible bear encounter, I would avoid this portion of the trail. Yes, it is pretty, but its not used as often and you will likely run into some type of wild life (deer, bear, porcupine, etc).

Auke Lake trail is a nice easy hike, dike trail is really cool, especially if/when an Alaska Air 737 is landing.

Enjoy your hikes!

Juneau, Alaska
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4. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

DD's points about the Montana Spur are good to heed. Last time I went through there it was pretty intense, no easy stroll... and it's definitely bear central.

I agree, too, about the thru trail from Montana Creek to Windfall, though I think the old roadbed (first couple of miles) still makes a very pleasant creek-side hike.

As for the airport dike trail, it's got some nice views of the wetlands (and exciting views of landing 737s). If you like dogs, you'll meet plenty: that's one of Juneau's most popular dog-walking trails.

Appleton, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

Wow, thanks for the excellent information on the trails everyone. That really helps us decide where we want to go. We will probably take the advice about avoiding areas with lots of bears. Even though we have hiked in Banff, Glacier and Yellowstone, we usually have bear spray but since we are flying in we won't be carrying it with us. We will also have two smaller teenagers with us that will likely look like bear bait. We'll save the bear viewing for our trip to Pack Creek!

We'll have to check out the airport dike trail. That's one that I didn't think of.

Thanks again!

England, United...
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6. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

Regarding Perseverance Trail Hike: we are a couple in our mid 60's and while we enjoy walking, we are not hardened trail blazers. However, we walked from the centre of Juneau to the area of Basin Street and then on to the mining museum before walking the first part of Perseverance Trail. The hardest part was the initial hill out of Juneau to Basin Street (a residential street).

There is a small car parking area near the mining museum and Perseverance Trail which makes life easier but it is possible to do the walk if you are solely on foot as we were.

Edited: 04 July 2012, 19:40
Juneau, Alaska
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7. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

Treadwell Ditch Trail between the top of Pioneer Avenue and Douglas can be a nice hike. And for after dinner walks Treadwell/Sandy Beach is a nice walk after pizza at the Island Pub or burgers at the Douglas Cafe.

San Diego
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8. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

While in Juneau we hiked quite a bit of Perseverance Trail from the parking lot and then after we walked the Flume. I would recommend that for something different and it's just a walk not a hike.. We did have a car so getting to parking lots was easy.

9. Re: Short easy hike in Juneau

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