For raw beauty, Juneau is hard to beat. In addition to the waterways of the area, and the lush rain forests on the surrounding mountain sides, there are high mountain lakes and the 1,500 square-mile Juneau ice fields. You will also find the sprawling mountain range between Juneau and Canada, some 25 miles to the east.
Juneau isn’t a place for sightseers alone; excellent gift shops, theatres, musical events and plays can all be found here. Juneau has no shortage of bars and restaurants, including the famous Red Dog Saloon. Juneau is also famous for Mendenhall Glacier, a “drive to” glacier that sprawls between mountains for some 13 miles before showing its ice face across Mendenhall Lake.

Juneau is a jumping-off place for trips to many nearby attractions: Famed Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is but a 30 minute flight, Admiralty Island is within sight of Auke Bay, and a number of Forest Service cabins are close to Juneau. There are several Native villages nearby that are served by daily air service.

When all is said and done, however, it is likely to be Juneau’s first impression that will be the most lasting—a picture book community nestled along the base of the mountains with winding streets, totem poles, brightly painted store fronts, and more than 32,000 friendly people who wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world!

Travel Juneau operates four info centers at Juneau International airport, the ferry terminal, cruise ship terminal and an Information kiosk downtown, beside the public library on Marine Way. 907-586-2201 or 888-581-2201

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is 13 miles from downtown. Has an excellent short film and great information about the Glacier and surrounding National Forest. 907-789-0097

Juneau was incorporated on October 4, 1880, not too long after Chief Kowee led prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris to what seemed to be a very promising streak of gold in nearby Gold Creek. The promise was fulfilled as  that strike and others in the general area eventually turned out more than $150 million in gold. And that was when the price of gold was $30 an ounce.

Although Juneau was founded on gold, government began its takeover in 1906 when the state capital was moved from Sitka. By the time the last gold mine closed during World War II, it had taken over as the mainstay of the economy.  Today it is estimated that 75 per cent of Juneau’s economic base can be directly traced to government—city/borough, state, and federal.

But gold is not forgotten and those who visit Juneau today still gaze in awe at the remains of the old A-J mine complex on the flanks of Mt. Roberts near the edge of the downtown area. The A-J mine operated until 1944 when rising prices and a pegged price of gold made the mine fail. The Treadwell Mine, which was on Gastineau Channel in Douglas—across from downtown  Juneau—closed in 1917 after the under-channel mine tunnels flooded and collapsed.

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