Basin Road and Gold Creek as seen from Perseverance Trail on Sept. 22, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Basin Road and Gold Creek as seen from Perseverance Trail on Sept. 22, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

In time for the long weekend, a look at some of Juneau’s favorite trails

What’s No, 1?

As Memorial Day weekend brings us the unofficial beginning of summer, how will you spend the long weekend?

Through considering publicly available data and consultation with locals who make heavy use of the trails, Juneau Empire staff developed a list of Juneau’s most-loved trails. ]

The list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, and it isn’t an exact science. It draws from a recent City and Borough of Juneau survey alongside reviews from trail review website and application AllTrails as well as interviews with some people involved in maintaing or walking the Juneau area’s fifty-plus named trails.

5. Treadwell Ditch Trail

Last on our list but far from least, the Treadwell Ditch Trail clocks in at 14 miles according to the U.S. Forest Service. Stretching from Blueberry Hill in Douglas northward before looping back in on itself and ending near Eaglecrest, it’s a long walk in the woods with many trails branching off.

Lauren Verrelli, recreation and public services manager for Juneau parks and recreation, called the Treadwell Ditch Trail a fan favorite in an interview.

4. West Glacier Trail

It’s wild, it’s weird, it’s wonderful: West Glacier Trail. Beloved of both avid outdoors recreationists and Capital City Fire/Rescue when it’s obliged to occasionally rescue one of those hikers, West Glacier also offers the quickest route to the ice caves of the Mendenhall Glacier.

West Glacier is also AllTrails’ top-reviewed trail in Juneau, with more than 200 reviews on the site.

The ice caves and by extension West Glacier are local favorites, according to Trail Mix Inc. executive director Ryan O’Shaughnessy. The initial length of West Glacier’s four-mile span can be quite muddy. The route to oft-reviewed Mount McGinnis is a spur off of West Glacier as well.

“I think the ice caves are certainly a unique site that we can visit in Juneau,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I think they’re also a little bit seasonally unstable.”

3. Airport Dike Trail

Best beloved of bird-watchers in both the avian and aircraft sense, the Airport Dike Trail is a low-impact stroll through the serene swampiness of the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge.

The site is one of the most-visited birdwatching sites in Juneau, according to the Audubon Society, with about 230 species reported.

It’s also a fabulous place to walk dogs, and an easy walk, said Deborah Rudis, a retired wildlife biologist, in an interview.

2. Outer Point Loop Trail

Located just shy of Where the Sidewalk Ends in North Douglas, Outer Point Trail is an easy jaunt and a worthy view. It’s an easy walk for those not looking for a life-or-death struggle as a component of their nature walk, O’Shaughnessy said.

“It’s about a mile and a half long and it crosses through all different kinds of terrains,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s very flat also.”

Trail Mix partnered with a number of local organizations to improve accessibility recently, O’Shaughnessy said. They’ve also got a number of improvements to deal with nature’s hydropower specialists.

“There’s been a lot of beaver activity out there over the last couple of years,” O’Shaughnessy said. “We’ve been trying to elevate the trail and build some boardwalks to compensate for beaver flooding.”

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Basin Road and Gold Creek as seen from Perseverance Trail in September 2019.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire Basin Road and Gold Creek as seen from Perseverance Trail in September 2019.

1. Perseverance Trail

You know it, you love: according to both a City and Borough of Juneau survey and AllTrails data, Perseverance Trail is one of the most-travelled trails in town.

Running east from Basin Road, Perseverance is named after the gold mine that used to run in the hollows east of downtown Juneau. It’s easily accessible and a good walk.

“Perseverance has a lot of ups and downs, but it really gives you a feel for what it’s like to be in the mountains,” Rudis said.

It’s also the root for a number of other trails.

“We get lots of communication about Perseverance Trail,” Verrelli said. “It’s one of the most used ones since it connects to the four trails that spur off that trail.”

Mt. Juneau, looming above downtown, seen here on April 21, 2021, is a brisk hike with a good view from the summit. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Mt. Juneau, looming above downtown, seen here on April 21, 2021, is a brisk hike with a good view from the summit. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Other favorites

While those five trails stood out when considering reviews, popularity and input from local aficionados, they weren’t the only trails to be mentioned as among Juneau’s best.

Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei (Brotherhood Bridge) Trail and Horse Tram Trail are popular trails for those easing into things.

O’Shaughnessy called the Point Bishop Trail his favorite: a muddy, rooty walk that needs a little love, but nevertheless has a nice long walk with good beach views. He also suggested the Lena Point Trail as an underrated gem for its view of the cold ocean.

“Not that many people hike on it and it’s one of the most scenic overlooks of the Gastineau Channel and the Lynn Canal,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s in town and we’re going to be doing a lot of work to get rid of the muddy sections.”

Rudis said one of her favorites was the Spaulding Meadows Trail.

“It’s a great ski in the winter, there’s a lot of board walking,” Rudis said. “It’s well maintained and repaired by Trail Mix.”

Mount Juneau also offers a brisk trot with a “high” payoff, O’Shaughnessy said.

“Mount Juneau is great. It’s a steep trail with a lot of switchbacks,” O’Shaughnessy said. “You can summit Mount Juneau in a relatively short period of time. The route is not maintained and can be hazardous in adverse conditions.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
The Airport Dike Trail is an easy walk and a great spot for watching birds.

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire The Airport Dike Trail is an easy walk and a great spot for watching birds.

More in News

In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Appeals court panel orders review of EPA decision in Alaska

Review concerns decision to withdraw proposed restrictions on large-scale mining near Bristol Bay.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, June 18, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A former Juneau chiropractor who was indicted for multiple sexual assault charges in April was charged with more assaults in early June. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Former chiropractor faces additional sexual assault charges

The former Juneau resident was indicted for five more felony charges early in June.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senators press Interior Secretary Haaland on oil lease pause

Murkowski said she was flabbergasted that Haaland did not address the court ruling.

I have flies with barbell eyes, jig heads, cone heads, bead heads and no heads. I have flies with stinger hooks that trail and long-shanked salmon hooks that don’t. I have red, pink, salmon, fuchsia, cerise, purple, orange, flesh, green, olive, chartreuse, white and black flies made of feathers, chenille, hackle, marabou, flashabou and silicone. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: One good fish

Three is the magic number.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Wednesday, June 16

The most recent state and local figures.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday, June 15, 2021, by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. Doughty’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction to those states said his order applies nationwide. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

The decision is a blow to Biden’s efforts to rapidly transition the nation away from fossil fuels.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read