A Hiker’s Paradise

We all have a favorite Juneau hike, sometimes two or three! One for sunny summer days, one good for rainy walks with the dogs, one for winter snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, one for combing the beaches or one for a steep climb and stellar views. There are so many to choose from! With an estimated 100 trails, Juneau is a hikers paradise. While Some trails are short, strolls like the Rainforest Trail or easily accessible, maintained routes such as Treadwell Trail at Sandy Beach. If you are looking to get above tree line and experience the amazing views such trails like Mt. Juneau or Thunder Mountain, are better suited for advanced hikers with a serious set of leg muscles.

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For avid hikers coming off cruise ships or staying at hotels in the downtown area, there are quite a few great day hikes close to the city center. Check these out!

Perseverance Trail
The Perseverance Trail is one of the more popular hikes and you can access other trailheads that fork off from the path such as Mt. Juneau and the ridge trail, Granite Creek Trail, Flume Trail and more. 156613_900047720120_3598133_nThe total length is about 6 miles and aside from moderate-level hiking for the first mile at the beginning, the remainder of the trail is mostly flat.

Nestled in a towering valley, you will cross small 025033_6006286637214f3c82ae38bd80069219-mv2bridges over rushing streams through thickets of blueberry and salmon bushes toward a large waterfall at the end. Perseverance Trail was a historic trail that was used for mining in the Silverbow Basin and the first road built in Juneau!

Mt. Robert’s Trail

There are two ways to connect to the Mt. Roberts Trail, hiking from the base of the mountain located off Basin Creek Road or (the littler easier and shorter way) riding the Tramway up. Taking the tram shaves off a couple miles from the 10 mile total length of this hike and is considered a more strenuous steady climb eventually reaching 3,800 feet 025033_780066349b9a448890cfaf3b5ff5d277-mv2at the peak. With most of the trail out of the trees, enjoy breathtaking views of the city below, ocean channel and surrounding mountain peaks while you work up a sweat! Rest in alpine grasses filled with wildflowers at the top while you snack on a granola bar. Once you’ve descended back toward the Tram, if you wish you can ride the Tram back to town for a quicker option but remember you might have to walk back to Basin Road to get back to your car!

Nugget Creek Falls

This last hike isn’t downtown but because so many travelers visit the Mendenhall Glacier, Nugget Falls is worth the mention. A short gem of a stroll, this easy 1 miler leads you from the National Park’s entrance to an incredible beach and waterfall near the foot of the glacier. Feel the mist from the rushing waterfall and get a closer look of the glacier, be sure stay long enough to snap tons of photos. If you booked a Zip & Glacier tour with Alaska Zipline Adventures you should have time to hike out to the falls, spend about 10 to 15 minutes snapping pictures and trek back in the hour allotted at the glacier. This is a beloved trail because it’s accessible and the perfect quick hike to just get outside and enjoy a sunny afternoon. Also, a little tip, be sure to check in with the Forest Ranger for any bears sightings or if the trail is flooded due to heavy rain and is closed off.

These are just a few of the many extraordinary trails in this hiker’s dream! For more information on these trails, directions to the trailheads and much, much more, check out this great pocket size local Trail Guide, 90 Short Walks Around Juneau.  Don’t let the title fool you, it contains ALL the trails around Juneau and you can pick one up at a downtown book shop.

 

 

 

 

Best of Juneau in 6 hours

Many of you traveling to Juneau this summer are probably coming by a cruise ship. If that’s the case, you only have a limited time to see all that the beautiful city of Juneau has to offer! Therefore, it is best to plan ahead and narrow down your options. Here are some of the MUST SEES for your short visit:

1. Zip through the Alaskan Rain Forest

Most obvious; come zip with the us at Alaska Zipline Adventures! Our crew will pick you up downtown at your cruise ship and take you to Eaglecrest Ski Area on Douglas Island to having you zipping through the beautiful Tongass National Forest in no time. If you have time for more advenures, you can sign up for our zipline and glacier combination tour where you will head out to the Mendenhall Glacier first and finish your day at our Zipline!

2. Visit the Mendenhall Glacier

As mentioned above, you can sign up for our Zip and GlaciIMG_4219er combo OR just hop in shuttle or bus and head out to the the glacier. The Mendenhall Glacier offers a visitor center where you can learn about the glacier and its history. You can also take a short walk to a lookout point or take a longer walk to the waterfall next to the glacier.

See more about the Mendenhall Glacier in a previous post found here!

3. Tour the streets of Downtown Juneau 

If you’re visiting via cruise ship, your ship will dock in the heart of Downtown. From there you are in walking distance to the shops, restaurants and museums of the town!

4. Go on a Whale Watching Tour

Here in Juneau, there are several Whale Watching Tour companies making it easy for you to book a trip for anytime of twhaleshe day! You can book ahead online or book a tour last minute right on the docks of downtown Juneau.

5. Ride the Mount Roberts Tramway

Also located downtown is the Tramway that will take you up the misty mountain of Mount Roberts. At the top you can stop to take a bite in the restaurant, explore the gift shop, see a real bald eagle, take a small hike and/or most importantly; enjoy the view.

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View from the small hike above the Mount Roberts Tramway.

All photos taken by Kelsey Jensen, view her website here.

 

Downtown Juneau’s Tastiest Offers

Although Downtown Juneau may be small, the dining options are not limited. Here are just some of the best rated restaurants including some of the locals favorites.

Listed in no particular order:

1.Tracy’s King Crab Shack
Located in the streets of Downtown Juneau, Tracy’s King Crab Shack is the place to go for Crab! From homemade King Crab Bisque to Crab Cocktails- they’ve got it! You can also enjoy your meal with the choice of two different locations. One, at their indoor restaurant that also offers outdoor seating right on the docks overlooking the ocean or their new “Crab Shack Express” located in the streets of downtown.

Check out their website for more information here!

2. Alaska Fish & Chips Company at the Flight Deck

Alaska Fish & Chips Company at the Flight Deck is located further downtown but right onIMG_4483 the flight deck. You can choose to sit indoors or eat on the dock and watch the sea planes take off and land. Specializing in Halibut Fish & Chips, it is a must go to if you want authentic Alaskan Fish & Chips. However, if you want something other than fish, there is a large variety for everyone you may be dining with!

Check out their website for more information here!

3. The Twisted Fish 

Located next to the Mount Roberts Tramway, is The Twisted Fish. Open for 17 years now, the Twisted has mastered the Alaskan way of cooking. From Salmon Croquettes to Oysters , The Twisted has every Alaskan Seafood option. However the menu does include a section for “LANDLUBBERS” just in case you don’t have a palate for seafood.

Check out their website for more information here!

4. Sandpiper Cafe

Only open from 6:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., Sandpiper Cafe offers the best breakfast and lunch in town. Located on the back end of downtown, come in for an early morning breakfast or a late lunch. However, no matter the time of day, the breakfast menu is always available!

Check out their Facebook page for more information here!

5. Salt 

Last but  not lease, if you’re looking for a high-quality, fine-dining experience, you must head to Salt. The well- experienced chef offers a twist to Alaskan cuisine as well as Juneau’s best wine collection.

Check out their website for more information here!

Alaskan Photography Tips

Do you have an Alaskan adventure planned for this summer? If so, there’s a good chance one thing you’re going to pack is a camera of some sort. Whether they use a cell phone, GoPro, DSLR, or vintage Polaroid, few people can visit this amazing state without snapping a few photos to commemorate their journey. Here are a few tips to help make sure you get the most out your photography on your trip.

Set a few basic goals. This will help you determine what you should bring and how you should plan your trip. What do you want to get out of your camera during your visit?  Do you just want to post some pictures to Facebook and Instagram to make all your friends jealous of your awesome adventure? If so, a cell phone is all you need.Do you want to put together a nice calendar to send out as Christmas gifts? Then you might want to look into a “bridge” or “advanced compact” camera. These cameras are lightweight and easy to use like a traditional point-and-shoot, but allow for more control over exposure settings, and their lenses have a larger zoom range. Do you want to become YouTube famous by posting a video of yourself ziplining (or whitewater rafting, or mountain biking)? Then a GoPro would be a great camera to bring along. If you’re signed up with any adventure tour operators, you might want to contact them and make sure your GoPro will be compatible with their helmets or other gear. Or if you have some more advanced, time-intensive photography goals – shooting wildlife or wilderness landscapes, for instance – then you will want to bring along an SLR camera, a carefully chosen selection of lenses, and all the necessary accessories such as a tripod and remote shutter release. You will also want to spend plenty of time researching the best places and times of day to photograph potential subjects.

No matter what your photography goals are for your Alaskan vacation, a little bit of planning will go a long way towards making sure you come back with some great photos.

Practice makes perfect. A trip to Alaska is a great reason to invest in some new photography gear. But don’t wait until you arrive in Alaska to start using your new camera! You never know when that decisive moment that you want to capture is going to happen, but when it does, you won’t have time to consult your manual to figure what settings you should be using. Even if you have a user-friendly point-and-shoot camera, there are a few things you will want to learn before you actually start pointing and shooting. The best way to learn everything about your camera is to use it in a variety of situations shooting lots of different subjects. Want to photograph bald eagles? Try taking pictures of whatever birds land in your backyard. Want to get a stunning image of an Alaskan sunset? Find a local park or other rural area and try to capture some great landscapes close to home. Even if you think your hometown isn’t as visually interesting as the Great White North, the skills you learn practicing at home will help make your Alaskan images that much  more beautiful.

Bring a CLEAN memory card. So you took our advice and expanded your skills by practicing with your camera at home. Now your memory card is full of pictures of your neighbor’s dog and the sun setting over the local park. Get all those pictures off of your camera BEFORE you come to Alaska. You don’t want to snap a photo of an amazing scene only to see “MEMORY CARD FULL” flash across your LCD. Take a little bit of time to figure out the best way to get all those photos off of your camera. There are a huge number of programs out there to help you catalog and process your photos, but the basic idea is always the same: 1.) Get rid of the photos that look terrible and don’t have any potential, and 2.) Put all the photos that you want to keep and/or work on somewhere you’ll be able to find them later. Whether we like it or not, a lot of photos we take are just not keepers. This isn’t a reflection of our photography skills; you may often take several photos just to figure out the best settings for a scene. As a result, poorly exposed or blurry images can pile up on your memory card. I usually like to delete these directly off of my camera as soon as possible.   Don’t fret about deleting these images. As long as you keep some of the photos that you know are better, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Have fun! This seems like a no-brainer, but the whole reason you’re coming to Alaska is to have the experience of a lifetime, so make sure your photography isn’t getting in the way of that. Everyone has a different definition of fun. Some people might not even want to think about toting a camera around, much less spend a significant portion of their vacation looking through a viewfinder. For others, the thought of waking up before dawn and sitting in the cold for hours just to get that perfect sunrise image is not boring but exhilirating. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Think about how your camera can enhance your own experiences as well as those of your family and friends with you in Alaska or enjoying vicariously from home. And keep that camera on you. You never know when Alaska is going to reveal a once-in-a-lifetime moment!

– Davy Anderson

What Makes Alaska Zip Unique

When visiting Juneau there are so many sights and excursions to choose from. Often tourists come to Southeast Alaska for only a few hours and it can be difficult to pack in everything they want to see and do in one day. At Alaska Zipline Adventures our guests get to experience the scenery and meet some locals in an advIMG_4366.JPGenturous and thrilling way; zipping through the trees. Being located at Eaglecrest Ski Area our guests not only get to take in the mountainous views but also get to see the other side of Juneau, Douglas Island. Our tour is frequently coupled with a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier where our guests can stop by the visitor center,  hike a small trail to get closer to the glacier or catch a glimpse of a black bear fishing for salmon in a nearby stream.

Currently there are other zipline tours located in Southeast Alaska, so what makes our tour different? Alaska Zipline Adventures is not only an amazing tour in a beautiful rainforest but a tour that stands out from other canopy tours! Here are a just a few ways we are unique from other tours:

  1. There are 10 platforms, 7 ziplines, 1 suspension bridge and treehouse platforms.
  2. Unique setting at Eaglecrest, Juneau’s local ski area, surrounded by pristine alpine rainforest with panoramic mountain views and salmon spawning streams below.
  3. No hand braking required (Guides operate a mechanical braking system).
  4. Dual cables for each zipline span. Built and inspected to meet ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) standards.
  5. Certified Eco-Tour, as of 2010, through Sustainable Travel International. We also recycle glass, aluminum, paper and plastic and try to share our “green” efforts with our guests.
  6. The lodge operates on hydro-electric power in the summer.
  7. We provide both child pricing, group discounts and local Alaskan resident price options.
  8. Opportunity to purchase local beers and other refreshments.
  9. Slide show of photos taking during the experience presented after the tour (available for purchase).
  10. As much of our merchandise (t-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags, etc.) as possible are made of organic cotton or material; Alaskan and locally-made products available for purchase in the gift shop too.
  11. Interpretive information given during the tour which includes information on the city of Juneau and fun facts about the rainforest flora and fauna.
  12. Information about the local Native Alaskans, Juneau, wildlife, renewable energy and global warming provided on informational plaques on each platform.
  13. Platforms are decorative and spacious with handrails for guest comfort.
  14. Complimentary snack and beverage provided as part of the tour.
  15. Ice shot glasses at the end of the tour to toast and celebrate their zipping experience.
  16. Axe Throw event for guests to embrace their inner lumberjack.
  17. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and with the friendliest staff and guides on any tour!
  18. Free aluminum water bottle for each guest with our AZA logo.
  19. Contribute to local fundraising efforts and host annual charity events.
  20. We’ve been featured in Men’s Fitness Magazine and National Geographic magazine and on MSN’s Business Website.
  21. Awarded Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.com

Come check us out or visit our website or Facebook page!

 

Hang 10 in Alaska

When you think of Alaska exploring the great outdoors comes to mind either by hiking a trail, camping in the wilderness, kayaking along the coast, fishing from a bank, (ziplining through the trees) or climbing a mountain. Rarely do outdoor enthusiasts or adventure seekers consider Southeast Alaska as a surfing destination. However, one man is bringing surfing opportunities to dedicated surfers who find themselves far from warm beaches with a strong current!

Neil Nickerson, Juneau resident and owner of Blue Nose Surfeagle-bch-surf1, is encouraging surfing all around the Southeast area. In an interview with the Capital City Weekly, Nickerson excitedly reported there is quite the surfing community in Juneau and there are several local hot spots to catch some waves such as Lena Beach, The Shrine of St. Therese, and Eagle Beach. Although the waves don’t compare to those in warmer surfing locations, there are pockets of good surf throughout Alaska and can be as good as any small surf day in California.

Modern technology yields thick albeit wetsuits that provide the possibility for surfers to enter the deathly cold waters year round! Nickerson says latest wetsuits are amazing and that occasionally only his hands and feet get a little chilly! The best surfing conditions occur during the October through March month when the weather is windy. “More people are getting interested and starting to do it!…It gets really cold and most people hate the wind but we get excited when it gets windy like this!”

Neil Nickerson’s Blue Nose Surf shop offers surfing gear rentals, classes and trips. He also wants to add private lessons and organize boat transportation during the summer. Stand-Up Paddle boarding is also a fun alternative to experiencing the ocean! Check out his website for more details and updates on the wind report! And surf’s up Juneau!51949_10151071998727256_1724769656_o

Information taken from Capital City Weekly article.

A Taste of the Sitka Spruce

During the late spring in Juneau, the snow is still covering the mountain tops surrounding the Zipline. However, there are a few plants beginning their bloom such as the skunk cabbage plants. These plants begin to bloom all along side the streams with their yellow buds and fragrant scent! Along with the skunk cabbage, the tips of the Sitka Spruce trees are sprouting new growth. The tender shoots of the spruce trees are edible and used in many recipes. The lemony flavor is excellent in spruce tip syrups, jams, beers, vinaigrette or even a Canadian martini! Besides the tasteful flavor, Spruce tips are full of nutrients for your body such as Vitamin C. The tips are also a great sources for minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

Therefore while you’re zipping through the trees at Alaska Zip or taking a visit to Juneau, be sure to look for the bright green tips on the trees! Try something new and Alaskan by tasting the tips or perhaps Google Spruce Tip Recipes for future reference!

 

Above and Beyond Alaska

Looking for all that Juneau has to offer? Above and Beyond Alaska and is an employee-owned guiding company based in Juneau. They explore the Tongass Wilderness by foot, helicopter or boat and offer day and overnight trips. You can check out their website www.beyondak.com where you find their story, photo gallery and a variety of fun and adventurous ways to experience Southeast Alaska!GUIDES.jpg

Above and Beyond Alaska company graciously has helped Alaska Zipline give their employees incredible kayaking company parties. It is always a treat to get all the crew together and have some food and beer and just do something fun! Alaska Zipline has had several surprise kayaking trip for all our staff on the Mendenhall Lake surrounded by the glacier and mountain peaks or other out on the ocean! Thank you Above and Beyond Alaska company for helping make our kayaking adventure possible!

In light of our kayaking adventures, here are a few cool facts about Kayaks!

1. Kayaks have been used in battle.

Military use of kayaks dates back to WWII when the British military used the stealthy boats for special raiding missions. Even today, the US, British, and Canadian governments still make use of kayaks when they want to approach by sea, undetected–like in 1992 when US forces snuck into Somolia unnanounced and set up a full-force siege!

2. The best way to whale watch is from a kayak.

No surprise here. Kayaks are quiet, which makes it more likely for whales to swim closer to the boats. And generally, “killer whales” don’t see it necessary to bump or flip a kayak.

3. One woman paddled over 200 miles in 24 hours!

I know, right? From paddlinghq.com:

“Robyn Benincasea from the US of A currently holds the Guinness World Record for the farthest distance a woman has ever paddled in 24 hours when she paddled down the Yukon River in Yukon, Canada back in June 2011. Over a 24 hour period, she covered a distance of 371.92km (231.1 miles). Yes, she had the current helping to push her along but I’m 100% confident she went farther than you ever could.”

 

Safety is #1 at Alaska Zip

Alaska Zipline Adventures wants to encourage people to live more adventurously through ziplining. Therefore, safety is the top priority at our company! At the beginning of every season a thorough inspection of our zipline course and all our gear is performed to meet the standards of the Association for Challenge Course Technology. ACCT is an organization committed to promoting the use of Challenge Courses Technology and to setting minimum standards for Challenge Course and Aerial Adventure Course installation, operation and inspection. AZA is currently a member of ACCT (www.acctinfo.org) as well as Professional Ropes Course Association (www.prcainfo.org).Amanda Catch.jpg

Throughout the summer before and after each tour our guides carefully evaluate the guide and participant gear and complete a daily course inspection to ensure that our guests can have a safe and exhilarating zipping experience! All of our guides must complete 40 hours of course training, learning how to send and receive our guests on each platform and pass a skills test. Along with the waist harness, participants must also wear a chest harness and helmet. We’ve also added handlebars for our guests to use to make them feel more comfortable while zipping. Before each tour begins our guides explain to the guests the gear and safety measures taken during their adventure. All through the tour guides are constantly double checking all gear connections on every cable and platform as well as coaching guests on how to stay safe.”Safety first, then fun follows” is what we say!

We take safety seriously and pride ourselves on never having a single incident! Our safety operation and friendly guides are what make our tour so great! If you haven’t already booked call 907-321-0947 today or check out our website for more information. We look forward to seeing you up in the trees!

Throwing Axes in Alaska

Here at Alaska Zipline Adventures, we get a lot of curious looks when we tell our guests that axe throwing is included in their zipline tour. Some guests are immediately excited at the prospect of throdscf6185wing axes at targets in the rainforest while others don’t see the appeal until they’ve got the axe in their hands, aimed right at the bullseye. We include axe throwing in our tour because we think its fun to add a little splash of lumberjack culture into our tour. This is Alaska, after all!

Axe throwing is a popular part of competitive lumberjack events–like sawing wood, climbing poles, and rolling logs. Contestants stand 20 feet away from a thirty-six inch target. The target has five, four-inch-wide rings and each ring has a point value. The outer-most ring is worth one point, and the bullseye is worth five points. Players get five throws for a possible high score of 25 points.Ax throw beautiful backdrop

We enjoy having competition style axe throwing as an addition to the zipline experience. It is fun for both guests and guides alike!

Come out to our tour and give it a try for yourself!