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Beautiful Juneau

Number two in the series about sightseeing in the US capitals

By Rasma RaistersPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

The capital city of the US state of Alaska is also known as the City and Borough of Juneau. It is located on the Gastineau Channel and the Alaskan panhandle. Of interest is that there is no road leading to Juneau. This small coastal city can only be reached by air or sea.

Nugget Falls is located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau. The falls tumble into a lake with icebergs. The tongue of the Mendenhall Glacier dips down to the water's edge. The Juneau Icefield feeds the glacier.

On the lakeshore you'll find the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. There are walking trails that lead to the Mendenhall Glacier and to Nugget Falls. You can enjoy kayaking and rafting on the lake.

Tourists enjoy taking the Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Expedition which included a two-hour cruise along the coast.

Tracy Arm Fjord southeast of Juneau is an ice-cloaked glacial fjord. It has amazing scenery with waterfalls that tumble down vertical rock walls and glaciers.

At the head of the fjord are the lovely twin Sawyer Glaciers. The fjord is long and stretches into the mainland through the Tongass National Forest.

Wildlife seen here includes black bears, brown bears, deer, and moose. Whales and seals can be seen and among the birds are bald eagles, arctic terns, and pigeon guillemots.

The Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is part landscaped botanical center and part excursion into the rainforest environment of the Tongass National Forest. You can get a guided walk through the lower landscaped gardens.

An open-sided shuttle takes visitors on tour of the rest of the 50-acre property on Thunder Mountain. There are boardwalks and viewpoints that overlook the Mendenhall Valley, Chilkat Mountains, Gastineau Channel, and Juneau.

Glacier Bay National Park is one of the highlights of the Inside Passage in Alaska. There is fantastic scenery with glaciers, temperate rainforests, secluded fjords, and a rugged coastline.

Glacier Bay sits between two promontories and there are eight glaciers that reach down to meet the tidewaters. Barlett Cove has hiking trails and campgrounds and sea kayaks can be rented.

The bay is a major feeding ground for humpback, minke, and orca whales. Other wildlife in the area include moose, bears, wolves, and mountain goats. You can take day trips and longer cruises and there are flightseeing excursions available.

The Mount Roberts Tramway from a base camp near the cruise ship docks will take you to the mountain top observatory where you'll find are a nature center, restaurant, theater, and gift shop.

Nature trails have interpretive information and great views over the Gastineau Channel. The Mountain House at the top has a live eagle display, a collection of tree carvings, and Alaskan art for sale.

The Macaulay Salmon Hatchery offers saltwater aquariums and tide-pool touch tanks. The hatchery raises chum, chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon. You can get a guided tour of the facility. Among the permanent exhibits is a bear and eagle display and educational exhibits. An outdoor viewing window provieds the opportunity to see salmon swimming upstream from June through early October.

The Alaska State Museum has over 25,000 historical objects about the multicultural heritage of Alaska. You can see Gold Rush and mining memorabilia as well as tools, weapons, and documents about the Russian colonial era of the state. There is also an extensive Eskimo-carved ivory collection.

The State Capitol Building has an interesting Art Deco design. Visitors can see historical photos and artwork. You can get a guided tour. In the lobby is a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Next door is the Juneau-Douglas City Museum with exhibits on the Tlingit culture, early gold mining days, and history of the area. The surrounding streets are interesting to explore with lush gardens.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church dates from 1894. It is a pretty blue-and-white church.

The Eaglecrest Ski Area is located on Douglas Island. The ski slopes feature 36 runs and four chairlifts. The ski season runs from December through April. In the springtime you can go hiking and it becames a downhill mountain biking destination.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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