Mendenhall Glacier is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Juneau – but there’s more to this area than a simple glacial overlook. There are several Mendenhall Glacier hikes worth taking, some of which are popular and easy to access and others that take a little more effort.
One of the best things about Mendenhall Glacier is how easily accessible it is. It’s only about 12 miles from downtown Juneau, and you can get there by driving, public transit, and even by bike. It’s one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska, which makes it a top attraction in the state. The Mendenhall Glacier is part of the massive Juneau Icefield, which you can learn more about at the Visitor Center.
Mendenhall Glacier hikes are only one part of a great visit to Juneau. From our downtown Juneau hotel, you can quickly launch yourself into incredible adventures in the stunning wilderness of southeast Alaska. Book your room with us today!
Try These Mendenhall Glacier Hikes This Summer
Mendenhall Glacier is found in the stunning Tongass National Forest and is one of many glaciers in the Juneau Icefield, encompassing a massive 1,500 square miles. The glacier is approximately 13 miles long, stretching from the coastal mountains to Mendenhall Lake. Though you can admire the glacier from a distance, there are several Mendenhall Glacier hikes that will get you closer to this icy giant.
The most frequently trafficked Mendenhall Glacier hikes start at the Visitor Center. Inside the Visitor Center, you’ll find many state-of-the-art exhibits and a 15-minute film that offers a brief overview of the glacier and surrounding areas. From there, it’s time to get outside and see this massive glacier for yourself. Here are the top Mendenhall Glacier hikes to consider this summer.
- One of the most trafficked Mendenhall Glacier hikes is the Photo Point Trail – and we bet you can guess why! This short 1/3-mile trail is quick and accessible, and it takes you to one of the best overlook views of the Mendenhall Glacier. It’s a great place to get those iconic unobstructed views that likely brought you here in the first place.
- The Trail of Time is another popular choice for Mendenhall Glacier hikes, as this one demonstrates the various impacts glacial movement has on the surrounding environment.
- If you want to meet some locals (i.e., wildlife), then try Steep Creek Trail. It’s actually a great place to see bears, but only if you time your hike during salmon spawning season. The best time to see bears in the area is from late July through mid-September.
- One of the more challenging Mendenhall Glacier hikes is the East Glacier Loop Trail. You will enjoy sensational glacier views on this hike, but you’ll have the opportunity to walk through some of the beautiful forests, too. The trail is moderate, with steep sections and stairs in some areas, and you’ll even get another view of Nugget Falls!
- The Nugget Falls Trail is our favorite place to get closer to the massive glacier – and it has a bonus waterfall, too! The trail is less than one mile long, but it’s beautiful. It takes you down to the shores of Mendenhall Lake, where you’ll also enjoy a closer view of the glacier.
- Finally, one of our favorite Mendenhall Glacier hikes to take is the West Glacier Trail. This trail is a little more off-the-beaten-path, making you less likely to encounter busy crowds here. It also offers access to the fantastic glacial ice caves in the winter!
Are you looking for more? We have even more ideas and ways to enjoy your time visiting Mendenhall Glacier!
More Great Juneau Hiking Trails to Consider
While we love these Mendenhall Glacier hikes, and they offer a wonderful experience at Alaska’s most accessible glacier, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring the spectacular wilderness of Southeast Alaska. There are plenty more Juneau hiking trails worth taking – some of which are accessible from right here at our downtown Juneau hotel.
Here are some of the off-the-beaten-path Juneau hiking trails that we love to recommend to our guests.
- Visit the Last Chance Mining Museum to learn about Silverbow Mine history, and then see this history in person as you hike the Perseverance Trail System.
- Walk the Treadwell Ditch Trail and learn about Juneau’s mining history.
- Skip the crowds at Mendenhall Glacier and take the Herbert Glacier Trail to Herbert Glacier – a local’s only spot worth visiting!
- Visit and enjoy a picnic at Jenson-Olsen Arboretum, where you’ll find some international award-winning primroses.
- Instead of taking the tram to the top, hike the Mt. Roberts Trail, enjoy a beer while soaking in the views at the top, and take the tram down.
The Best Place to Stay in Downtown Juneau
Hiking in the Tongass National Forest is certainly a must-have experience while you’re in Juneau. So, too, is staying at our top-rated hotel, located in downtown Juneau. We’re within walking distance to downtown Juneau, where you’ll find all the best restaurants, breweries, and shops. More importantly, from here, it’s easy to get to the city’s top attractions, including Mendenhall Glacier.
We also offer an unbeatable range of guest rooms, each unique and designed for a broad range of guests, from solo travelers to families and groups traveling together. Your stay always includes plenty of terrific amenities, too, including a delicious and satisfying breakfast, midday treats, complimentary high-speed wireless internet, daily housekeeping services, luxurious 450-thread count sheets, private bathrooms with soothing bath salts, Direct TV, a private rooftop garden with hot tubs, and so much more.
One stay here is all it will take for you to see why we’re rated as the best place to stay in Juneau! Our location is the perfect launching point for any adventure, including those once-in-a-lifetime Alaska experiences. Book a stay with us today!