• Explore the enchanting Mendenhall Ice Caves for a surreal experience beneath a glacier.
  • Uncover Juneau's gold mining history along the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail.
  • Sample local brews and enjoy stunning views at the Alaskan Brewing Company.
  • Hike Mount Roberts for panoramic views of Juneau and its surrounding beauty.

Whispers of the untamed wilderness, the crisp glacial air, and the allure of nature's unspoiled beauty beckon as we delve into the heart of Juneau, Alaska. Far from the well-trodden paths that most tourists tread, this capital city harbors secrets that only locals know, secrets that I'm eager to share with fellow adventurers seeking to uncover the authentic spirit of this remote paradise.

The Enigmatic Mendenhall Ice Caves

Picture this: a surreal world beneath the frozen surface where ethereal blue light filters through a cathedral of ice. The Mendenhall Ice Caves are a marvel to behold, accessible to those willing to trek across Mendenhall Glacier. This journey is not for the faint-hearted but rewards intrepid explorers with an otherworldly experience. As these caves are ever-changing and can be precarious, it's crucial to venture with a knowledgeable guide.

Treadwell Mine Historic Trail: Echoes of Gold Rush Days

The haunting remnants of Juneau's gold mining era lie along the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail. Wander through abandoned mine shafts and overgrown ruins where once fortune-seekers hustled. Interpretative signs tell tales of yesteryears' dreams and disasters—stories that imbue your hike with a sense of time travel.

Local Brews and Views

No Alaskan adventure would be complete without sampling some local brews amidst stunning views. The Alaskan Brewing Company offers just that—a chance to taste innovative beers crafted with pure glacial water and local ingredients. Their tasting room provides not just a flavor journey but also insights into their sustainable brewing practices.

Juneau's Brew Gems

  • Alaskan Amber beer
    Alaskan Amber - A rich, malty beer that captures the spirit of Alaska's wilderness.
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter beer
    Smoked Porter - This robust porter, infused with a touch of alder smoke, is as mysterious as the northern lights.
  • Alaskan Icy Bay IPA beer
    Icy Bay IPA - A hop-forward IPA with a crisp finish that echoes the freshness of Juneau's coastal waters.
  • Alaskan Freeride APA beer
    Freeride APA - An American Pale Ale that's as adventurous and free-spirited as Juneau's own extreme sports enthusiasts.
  • Alaskan White Ale beer
    White Ale - A Belgian-inspired brew with a hint of spice, perfect for contemplating the vast Alaskan skies.

A Hidden Haven for Hikers: Mount Roberts

Mount Roberts is often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts, yet it stands as a testament to Juneau's rugged charm. The trails here cater to all levels of hikers, offering panoramic views that stretch over Gastineau Channel. For those who reach its summit, Mount Roberts presents an eagle's eye view of Juneau—a reward well worth the climb.

Conquering Mount Roberts: A Hiker's Chronicle

hiker preparing backpack with gear
Prepare for the Ascent
Before you embark on the Mount Roberts trail, ensure you're well-prepared. Dress in layers to adapt to the changing conditions. Pack plenty of water, high-energy snacks, a map, compass, and bear spray. Remember, the weather can change swiftly, so waterproof gear is a must.
entrance of a forest trailhead with sign
Trailhead Triumph
Start your journey at the Mount Roberts Trailhead, just a short walk from downtown Juneau. With every step, let the lush rainforest invigorate your spirit. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, and remember to leave no trace behind to preserve the beauty of the trail.
hiker ascending a mountain trail with switchbacks
Conquer the Climb
As you ascend, the incline will challenge you, but your adventurous heart won't falter. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed. The switchbacks are your stepping stones to incredible views, so turn around occasionally to witness how far you've come.
subalpine meadow with wildflowers and panoramic view
Alpine Achievement
Upon reaching the subalpine meadows, the landscape transforms. Wildflowers and marmots may greet you, and the tree line falls away. Here, the real magic of Mount Roberts unveils itself, with panoramic views of Juneau, Gastineau Channel, and Douglas Island.
hiker reaching the summit with expansive views
Summit Glory
The final push to the summit is the most exhilarating. Your heart pounds, not just from the climb, but from the anticipation of the summit's reward. As you stand atop Mount Roberts, breathe in the success and the crisp Alaskan air. Let the majestic views etch into your memory—a true hiker's triumph.
hiker descending a mountain trail carefully
Safe Descent
What goes up must come down. Descend with care, as the trail can be tougher on the knees. Take your time and enjoy the changing perspectives of the landscape. Once you're back at the trailhead, congratulate yourself on conquering Mount Roberts trail, a hidden gem in Juneau's crown.

Juneau’s allure extends beyond its natural wonders; it’s also steeped in rich cultural history which can be felt at every turn. The Shrine of St. Therese, a peaceful retreat located about 22 miles north of downtown Juneau, offers serenity amidst stone chapels and lush gardens—a spiritual respite from adventurous pursuits.

For those looking to capture their own slice of Alaskan magic without breaking the bank, planning is key. Check out these essential money-saving tips for your road trip to Alaska or test your preparedness with this fun Alaskan Road Trip Adventure Quiz.

Juneau's culinary scene is an adventure in itself—think fresh seafood straight from icy waters, reinvented comfort foods, and indigenous flavors that tell stories of survival and tradition. To navigate this gastronomic landscape like a local, embark on a culinary tour where you can savor dishes like wild salmon bisque or reindeer sausage amidst rustic settings.

Traditional Alaskan Wild Salmon Bisque

You will need:

  • wild Alaskan salmon fillet1 lb wild Alaskan salmon fillet
  • olive oil bottle2 tablespoons olive oil
  • diced onion1 medium onion, diced
  • minced garlic2 cloves garlic, minced
  • white wine for cooking1/4 cup white wine
  • fish stock3 cups fish or vegetable stock
  • heavy cream carton1 cup heavy cream
  • tomato paste can2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • smoked paprika spice1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper shakersSalt and pepper to taste
  • fresh dill herbFresh dill for garnish


  1. Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Pour in the white wine and let it simmer until reduced by half.
  5. Mix in the tomato paste and smoked paprika.
  6. Gently place the salmon fillet in the pot and pour the stock over it.
  7. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook the salmon for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the salmon, flake it with a fork, and set aside.
  9. Blend the soup mixture until smooth using an immersion blender.
  10. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the heavy cream.
  11. Add the flaked salmon back into the pot.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve hot, garnished with fresh dill.


For a thicker bisque, you can add a tablespoon of flour after cooking the onions and garlic, stirring it into the fat to create a roux before adding the liquids. If you prefer a dairy-free version, substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk for a different but equally delicious flavor profile. Always taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary before serving.

Dive deeper into Juneau’s hidden gems by exploring its vibrant art scene at unexpected venues like the rotating exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum or street art murals that splash color onto historic buildings—a visual feast for culture aficionados.

If you're feeling inspired by Juneau's call to adventure but are wary about unexpected expenses, don't miss this rundown on hidden costs you might forget when budgeting for your Alaskan road trip.

In crafting this narrative about Juneau’s lesser-known tourist attractions, I invite you not just to visit these places but to immerse yourself in them—to listen closely as they whisper their stories through rustling leaves and lapping waves. Stay tuned as we continue our journey through Alaska’s hidden treasures in part two where more local secrets await discovery.

Trailblazing Through the Tongass National Forest

As you journey beyond the well-trodden paths, the Tongass National Forest awaits with its lush rainforests and awe-inspiring glaciers. It's not just a forest; it's a sanctuary where the silence is only broken by the whisper of ancient trees and the distant roar of waterfalls. For those willing to embrace the wild, guided hikes through these dense woods can lead to serene spots rarely witnessed by others. Imagine capturing the perfect shot of a hidden waterfall or spotting wildlife in their natural habitat—these are moments that define an adventurer's spirit.

To truly appreciate Juneau's majestic wilderness, consider kayaking in the fjords carved by glaciers millennia ago. The tranquility of paddling through these icy waters, surrounded by towering cliffs, is an experience that resonates deep within one’s soul. Don't miss out on this chance to connect with nature in its purest form.

The Artistry of Juneau: Local Galleries and Workshops


In between your outdoor escapades, delve into Juneau’s vibrant art scene. Local galleries showcase the rich culture and creativity that flourish in this remote corner of the world. From indigenous art to contemporary pieces, you’ll find stories woven into every canvas and sculpture. Participate in a workshop or two; it’s not just about observing art—it’s about experiencing the process of creation firsthand.

Juneau's Art Gems

  1. The Canvas Art Studio Juneau
    The Canvas Art Studio - Where local artistry and community meet, offering workshops and a gallery of unique Alaskan pieces.
  2. Kindred Post Juneau art
    Kindred Post - A quirky post office and gift shop showcasing local artists through small-batch art, crafts, and jewelry.
  3. Alaska Robotics Gallery Juneau
    Alaska Robotics Gallery - A hub for comic enthusiasts and art lovers, featuring work from Alaskan illustrators and beyond.
  4. Juneau-Douglas City Museum art
    Juneau-Douglas City Museum - Not just history, but also a space for contemporary local art exhibitions that tell the story of Juneau.
  5. Sealaska Heritage Institute art
    Sealaska Heritage Institute - Experience the rich culture of Southeast Alaska's indigenous peoples through traditional and modern art forms.
  6. Annie Kaill's Juneau
    Annie Kaill's - Fine art and craft gallery with a focus on Alaskan artists, offering a selection of paintings, pottery, and glasswork.
  7. The Bear's Lair Juneau art
    The Bear's Lair - Go where the locals go for handcrafted Alaskan art, from intricate carvings to unique wearable art pieces.
  8. Juneau Arts & Humanities Council gallery
    Juneau Arts & Humanities Council - The cultural heart of the city, featuring rotating exhibits and an array of events promoting local artists.

For those who find beauty in craftsmanship, Juneau offers an array of artisan shops. Here, you can watch as local artisans transform raw materials into exquisite pieces that reflect Alaska's wild heart. Perhaps you'll find a hand-carved totem pole or a woven basket that calls out to you—a tangible memory to carry home.

The Culinary Journey: Savoring Juneau's Local Eats

Juneau may be remote, but it boasts a culinary landscape as varied as its terrain. From succulent seafood pulled straight from Alaskan waters to foraged delicacies prepared with care, every meal here tells a story of tradition and innovation. Embark on a food tour that will tantalize your taste buds while introducing you to local chefs who are passionate about their craft.

Classic Alaskan Grilled Salmon

You will need:

  • Fresh Alaskan salmon filletsFresh Alaskan salmon fillets
  • Soy sauce bottleSoy sauce
  • Brown sugarBrown sugar
  • Garlic clovesGarlic cloves
  • Fresh lemonLemon
  • Olive oil bottleOlive oil
  • Ground black pepperGround black pepper
  • Fresh dillDill for garnish
  • Grill or grill panGrill or grill pan


  1. Start by making the marinade: combine soy sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, and minced garlic in a bowl.
  2. Place salmon fillets in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them, ensuring they are well coated.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the salmon for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Remove salmon from the marinade and season with ground black pepper.
  6. Grill the salmon skin-side down for about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Flip the salmon and grill for an additional 6-8 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  8. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with dill.


For best results, let the salmon come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before grilling. This ensures more even cooking. Also, be careful not to overcook the salmon; it should be slightly translucent in the center when done. Adjust grilling time if needed based on thickness.

Dining in Juneau is more than sustenance; it's an immersive experience that connects you with the land and sea. Whether it’s enjoying king crab legs against a backdrop of mountains or sipping locally brewed craft beer as eagles soar overhead, each bite is a reminder of where you are—a place where nature reigns supreme.

To test your knowledge on planning an unforgettable road trip through Alaska’s rugged landscapes—including those hidden culinary gems—take this fun quiz!

Alaskan Road Trip Adventure Quiz

Think you know Juneau's hidden gems? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of Juneau's lesser-known tourist attractions!

A Night Under Northern Lights: Unique Lodging Experiences

After days filled with exploration, what better way to unwind than by staying in one of Juneau’s unique lodging options? Imagine sleeping under a glass dome with uninterrupted views of the night sky—where if fortune favors you, the Northern Lights dance across the heavens in an ethereal display. Or perhaps choose a cozy cabin nestled deep within the forest for complete solitude and reflection.

Juneau's Hidden Gems

  1. mountainside eco-friendly accommodation glacier view
    Glacier's Edge Retreat - Nestled on the mountainside, this eco-friendly haven offers panoramic glacier views.
  2. Northern Lights view chalet Juneau
    The Aurora Overlook - A cozy chalet where the Northern Lights dance just outside your window.
  3. lodge with eagle-eye view of Juneau
    Eagle's Perch Lodge - Perched high above the city, this lodge provides an eagle-eye view of Juneau's natural splendor.
  4. seaside cottage Juneau whales
    Whale Song Cottage - A seaside sanctuary where the songs of whales lull you to sleep.
  5. rainforest treetop bungalow Juneau
    The Forest Canopy Bungalow - Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest in this treetop escape.
  6. luxury glamping tent alpenglow
    Alpenglow Luxury Tent - Glamping redefined with this luxury tent boasting stunning alpenglow vistas at dusk.
  7. rustic miner's cabin Juneau
    The Miner's Cabin - A rustic, historical cabin that harks back to Juneau's gold rush era.

No matter where you choose to rest your head, remember that it's not just about finding a place to sleep—it's about choosing an experience that will linger long after your journey ends.

In closing, let me impart this—the heart of Juneau isn't found on any map; it pulses within its hidden trails, local artistry, rich flavors, and under starlit skies. As we wrap up our guide through this remarkable city’s lesser-known attractions, I hope your spirit feels ignited to chart your own course through its wonders.

If my words have sparked wanderlust within you for more undiscovered destinations beyond Alaska’s charm, I invite you to explore further with guides like Rediscovering Montana, or plot your next odyssey through Greece’s hidden treasures at Plotting Your Greek Odyssey. Wherever your travels may lead next—may they be filled with discovery and delight!

Liam Scott
Travel, Photography, Nature, Adventure, Architecture

Liam Scott is a travel enthusiast and a professional photographer. He has been travelling the world for the past 15 years, capturing breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cityscapes. Liam loves to share his travel experiences and photography tips with his readers. He is always on the lookout for the next great shot.

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