Grand Tour of Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier, Hatchery & Glacier Gardens
Savor the rich beauty of Glacier Gardens, see the largest salmon ladder in Alaska and visit the Mendenhall Glacier.
From downtown Juneau it's a short ride to Glacier Gardens. Meet your tour guide and transfer to a covered shuttle for an intimate look at this natural wonderland of colorful plants, trees and flowers. The brilliant palette creates a dazzling contrast to the lush green forest backdrop. You will be amazed at the diversity of the rain forest as you wind along pathways carved into the mountainside, heading toward the upper regions of the forest. Visit a one-of-a-kind Alaska garden featuring towering 'upside-down trees' covered with planted flowers. From the viewing platform at the 580-foot level, capture images of the Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island and the Chilkat Mountains. Explore deeper into the forest on your return trip.
Continue to Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, where you will see an operational hatchery in action. Young salmon can be seen developing from a bird's-eye view (year round), and you can witness millions of adult salmon returning from the wild to spawn (late June-October), while learning about their fascinating reproductive cycle from experienced guides. Eagles and harbor seals are frequently seen from the spacious viewing decks overlooking the channel. You will also have the opportunity to interact with local marine life in the touch tanks and numerous aquariums.
Visit Juneau's grandest monument -- Mendenhall Glacier. This meandering river of compressed blue ice ranks as the largest glacier accessible by road in Southeast Alaska. It is a half-mile wide, hundreds of feet deep and fed by the 1,500-square-mile Juneau ice field. US Forest Service staff offer a wealth of information on glaciers during your 75-minute visit. The Visitor Center features exhibits, interactive videos and a panoramic view of the glacier -- the perfect vantage point for photos of this world-famous attraction. There are also numerous self-guided walking trails from which to experience the special beauty of Tongass National Forest and ever-changing glimpses of the glacier.
This tour operates under a Special Use Permit issued by the US Forest Service. Time at the glacier is approximately 75 minutes.