Area: 2716.7 square miles
The city of Juneau was official established on October 4, 1880 by Joe Juneau and Richard Harris. It was on this day that a “Code of Local Laws” was written down, officially establishing the town.
Juneau is Alaska's capital city. It's been called America's most scenic state capital. For raw beauty, Juneau is hard to beat. In addition to the waterways of the area, and the lush rain forests on the surrounding mountainsides, there are high mountain lakes and — a different form of water — the 1,500 square-mile Juneau icefield capping a sprawling mountain range between Juneau and Canada, some 25 miles to the east.
This is a world of stark beauty, visited each year by several thousand people taking advantage of the icefield flights offered by Juneau charter operators.
Juneau isn't a place for sightseers alone, however. There are excellent gift shops, theatres, musical events, and plays. Juneau has no shortage of bars and restaurants, including the famous Red Dog Saloon (sawdust-on-the-floor). There are now more churches than bars in Juneau, and three of them must be rated as world class from the visitors standpoint: The Russian Orthodox Church downtown is a house of worship unlike anything most visitors have ever seen. The Chapel by the Lake, on Auke Lake some 12 miles northwest of downtown has a spectacular "living stained glass" window view of the lake, the forests, the mountains and Mendenhall Glacier. And the Shrine of St. Terese, 23 miles from downtown on Glacier Highway, has a unique island setting and a notable history.
Juneau is famous too, for Mendenhall Glacier, a "drive to" glacier that sprawls between mountains for some 12 miles before showing its ice face across Mendenhall Lake from the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center. Several trails provide access to stunning overlooks of Mendenhall and the valley beyond. We do not encourage people to approach the face of the glaciers. The two trails on each side provide scenic overlooks, and access onto the glacier from the end of West Glacier Trail is for experienced climbers with the proper equipment.
Juneau is a jumping-off place for trips to other nearby attractions: Famed Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is but a 20 minute jet trip away, Admiralty Island is within sight of Auke Bay, a number of Forest Service cabins are within an hour's flight in a chartered aircraft, and several nearby Native villages are served by daily air service. See nearby attractions in the following pages.
Daily jet flights connect Juneau to the rest of the state and beyond.
The Alaska Marine Highway System connects with all of the other points in Southeast and Bellingham, Washington.
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 30,396 friendly people who wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world!
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.
Lost in Alaska Adventures7701 North Douglas Highway · Juneau · Alaska · 99801 · 907-321-1405
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Adventure Bound Alaska76 Egan Dr · Juneau · AK · 99802 · +1 907-463-2509
Our vessels have stable, smooth riding, ocean going hulls for the best cruise to Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. A full walk-around deck and large cabin windows assure unobstructed views and great photo opportunities. Personal attention is unsurpassed.