If you’ve never been to Juneau in the fall, you’re missing out on a great season! Contrary to what you might believe, there are actually a number of wonderful things to do in Juneau in the fall. Though we’re not quite yet to Labor Day, the final days of summer in Alaska are nearly upon us, and we find ourselves wistfully looking forward to a glorious fall ahead. The weather usually stays good here in the Juneau area well into September, and often through the first part of October. But, even so, the crisp, cool nights of fall aren’t too far away. Now is the time to get planning and to make the most of the season ahead!
Juneau may not be at the top of your list of places to travel in the fall, but Alaska’s shoulder season is a surprisingly wonderful time to visit! The season is a short one, and really can be described much more as a transition from summer to winter, more than its own season, but nonetheless, September and October are wonderful times to visit us in Juneau. Stay in comfort at our downtown Juneau hotel, which is walkable to a vast majority of the city’s top attractions. We’d love to share all of our favorite things to do in Juneau with you this fall – book your adventure today!
10 of the BEST Things to do in Juneau This Fall
When we say you won’t run out of things to do up here in Juneau, we mean it! Of course, there are plenty of things to do in Juneau in the outdoors, including things like visiting the glaciers, taking hikes, and exploring the charming downtown, which is walkable from our hotel.
Juneau is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, where the majority of Juneau’s landscape is dominated by spruce and hemlock trees, which lend a year-round green to the stark landscapes. That doesn’t mean there isn’t fall color to be enjoyed, though! Savvy leaf-peepers know where to find the colors. This is the time of year when the cottonwood and willows turn yellow, while the alpine blueberry, nagoonberry, and dwarf dogwood transform into a brilliant shade of crimson.
That’s not all that awaits in Juneau, though! As you begin planning out all of the things to do in Juneau this fall, here are 10 of our favorite ways to spend a crisp fall day:
- Take a scenic drive! Given that Juneau is only accessible by air or water, getting out with a car and exploring the scenery beyond downtown Juneau is an absolute must! Head up Glacier Highway north of Juneau, past Auke Bay, and up to Berner’s Bay. The drive is only about 50 miles roundtrip and includes plenty of opportunities to enjoy the colorful fall foliage, take hikes, and explore coastal beaches.
- Hiking is one of our favorite things to do in Juneau, no matter the season. There are more than 250 miles of hiking trails in the Juneau area, which includes the Perseverance Trail network in downtown, which is accessible from our hotel. Douglas Island offers some great fall hikes as well, including the Dan Moller Trail and Summer Trail, where you’ll enjoy the colorful fall show of wild blueberries.
- Head to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, where you’ll not only get to witness the majestic Mendenhall Glacier, but you’ll also have the chance to witness pops of fall beauty. While your there, consider the trek to Nugget Falls or the 3.5 mile East Glacier Loop Trail, both of which offer more fall views and even some potential black bear and other wildlife viewing along the way.
- Head to Glacier Bay National Park, turn your eyes to the sky, and enjoy the sight of hawks, eagles, tundra swans, and both snow and Canada geese as they migrate to warmer climates.
- Take a peek at the spawning salmon as they come in from the ocean to local creeks! This also happens to be one of your best chances to see bears in the area, as they fill up on fatty salmon for the winter.
- Head to Point Bridget State Park, where you’ll find a mile-long grove of Alaska yellow cedar trees at Cedar Lake. These leaves don’t actually change color in the fall, but they are distinctly beautiful, with their purplish shredded bark and distinctive odor.
- Take a sightseeing flight, where you’ll enjoy a birdseye view of Juneau’s vast wilderness from an entirely different vantage point. These flights are always beautiful, but uniquely so in the fall.
- The Mount Roberts Tram usually offers exceptional views of the Gastineau Chanel and the greater Juneau area, but it’s closed until the spring of 2021. You can still enjoy the views, though, by hiking up to the top of the viewing area. It’s well worth the effort!
- Take a helicopter tour! Not only will you have the opportunity to land and walk around on a glacier, but you’ll enjoy the incredible fall views from above as you fly, too.
- Explore the many attractions of downtown Juneau, which are walkable from our hotel, with far fewer crowds than you’d typically find in the summer.
Get Comfortable at our Downtown Juneau Hotel
More than anything this fall, stop wondering what to do in Juneau and just get here. It’s the perfect opportunity to get outside for some of the best natural medicine we have available to us – Mother Nature! Spending time in nature is absolutely restorative and there’s no better place to enjoy it than right here in Juneau. The short & dreary days of winter will be here before you know it, too – but even then we have some pretty great ideas on how to beat the winter blues and still enjoy this beautiful paradise we call home.
No matter when you visit Juneau, make the Silverbow Inn your home away from home. We’re downtown Juneau’s only boutique hotel, and we offer a lodging experience that is second to none. With all the amenities you crave, including a delicious breakfast each morning, and rooftop hot tub, and delightfully comfortable accommodations, you’ll want for nothing during your time with us. Book your room at our Juneau hotel today!