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Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

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southampton
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Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

Hi

We are a couple in our 60's, not well travelled and on our first cruise with Juneau being our first port of call. We are not keen to take the organised excursions that include Mendenhall Glacier but are anxious that if we use public transport we may get lost or miss the last bus and be left behind when our cruise moves on!! Is it quite straight forward and is the public bus reliable?

We will arrive at 1pm and leave at 10pm the 25th August. Can anyone help us with timescales please?

How long does the bus journey take and how long should we allow at the Glacier roughly? We would like to take a walk down to Nugget Falls and have enough time not to have to rush. Any suggestions of what else to see if time permits, would be welcome. Bear sighting would be a real bonus?

Many thanks

haines, alaska
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1. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

You will not take the public bus......There are Blue MGT buses that pick up right at the dock every 30 minutes to take you out to Mendenhall Glacier and back.....no need to reserve, just pay the driver.....it was $8 pp each way last year, probably the same this year......the Glacier is about 10 miles from downtown and you can stay as long as you like out there, returning on one of the other buses.....they operate 9am to 6 pm......

You just might see bears in the river that comes out of the lake......the salmon usually run there during August......there are viewing platforms at the edge of the parking lot.....

The trail to Nugget falls is mostly flat and even walking slowly will take no longer than an hour......the Visitors Center is quite informative, with displays and a movie that will take you no longer than an hour, as well......ask the ranger there about recent bear sightings.....

fti
MN
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2. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

If you are not interested in renting a car (which would give you options to drive further north for scenic views and a couple of sites), you could take the blue bus to the glacier and back, then maybe take Mt. Roberts Tram up and back down again (don't buy this ticket in advance - only go if it is a clear day).

Juneau, Alaska
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3. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

Just to clarify. Juneau does have a public transit system, Capital Transit, but it does NOT go to Mendenhall Glacier. There are 2 companies running glacier shuttles, MGT (blue busses) and Juneau Tours (white busses) and they charge $8 each way. They leave from the parking lot near the Mt. Roberts Tram.

Taxi fares to the glacier are about $42 out and $35 back. If you have more than 5 in your party a taxi costs less than the discount busses.

southampton
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4. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

Thank you JuneauCabbie for that helpful information.

Gretna, Nebraska
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5. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

When did the city buses stop going to Mendenhall Glacier? According to the city website map they still go there??

haines, alaska
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6. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

No the city buses stop about a mile short of the glacier.....has been that way for at least 15 years that I have been going to Juneau.....

The ONLY buses that actually go all the way out to Mendenhall Glacier are the MGT tour buses.....they go there directly with no other stops.....back and forth from the ship dock, up until 6 pm......

The city bus stops frequently and (if you are familiar with the route) you could get off about a mile away from the glacier, but it would take at least an hour longer and of course you would not be at the glacier........

Look closely at the map.......there is a red arrow in the upper right corner that says "to Mendenhall Glacier".....the bus drops you off before you get to that area

Edited: 15 March 2014, 20:57
Gretna, Nebraska
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7. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

Well that's not to bad! We can walk/hike a mile :-) We are a family of four so the cost savings would be worth it!

haines, alaska
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8. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

The city buses have several stops near the docks.......the pick up time is posted and the bus should come around every hour at that same time.......

The buses are often crowded and you might have to stand.....please do offer, if there are older or handicapped folks who get on the bus.......

Just be sure to mention to the driver that you want to get off at the closest bus stop to Mendenhall Glacier and you should be okay.......that one mile walk is not steep and there are paved bike paths running next to the road, so that would be a safer place to walk......

We are backpackers and avid hikers.....on one of our first visits to Juneau we took the bus, thinking it was "only a mile" walk......we were bushed by the time we toured the glacier and were on our way back......must have looked tired, we had one of the MGT drivers stop and pick us up.....he said it was his last trip for the day and took pity on us.......

City Bus for Family of 4 = $1.50 pp x 4 people x 2 trips (out and back) = $ 12.00......

MGT bus for family of 4 = $16.00 pp round trip = $64.00, so yes you will save some money, but you definitely won't save time and you may find some of the stops like the Lemon Creek Prison, the soup kitchen (or even some of the bus riders) a little unsavory and might not want to expose your kids to that situation......then again, it could be an excellent learning opportunity.......at any rate, I am trying to give you an idea of what to realistically expect.....

9. Re: Mendenhall Glacier Independently?

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