08.17.18 | Uncategorized

9 Biking Trails in Juneau That You Must Try! (Lovin’ #3!)

Biking Trails in Juneau

It’s summer, and the biking is easy! If you are a fan of mountain bike trails, Juneau has more than its share of fantastic trails to enjoy.

Whether you are looking for a long, hard trip or a short, easy little outing, Juneau mountain bike trails have something for everyone.

If you have visitors or guests that need a rental, there are plenty of bike rental shops and bicycle shops that offer repairs in Juneau.

Ready to check out this list of must-do biking trails? Keep reading!

Treadwell Ditch Trail

Don’t let the name “ditch” make you think this trail isn’t an interesting one! Treadwell Ditch trail gets its name from the Treadwell Mine complex, which used to operate here.

This 14-mile trail can be accessed from E street. It will return you about a ¼ mile below the Eaglecrest Ski Area. This trail is mostly level and has a very slight climb in elevation.

This trail connects with several others on Douglas Island. You travel through conifers and other pines, along with an old growth rainforest that is rarely found in the US. The trees keep the path from becoming overly muddy or buried too deep in snow. There are several bridges which will remind you of days long past.

When you reach the end of the path, walk over to the Sandy Beach area of the trail’s end. You can learn more about the mine that used to operate there and how the “ditch” served as their lifeline.

The soil here is generally very wet, even in summer. Stay on the trail to avoid trampling the delicate vegetation in the Muskeg Meadow.

East Glacier Trail

This is a short loop trail that is a mere 2.8 miles long, which is perfect for those short on time. Note that there are no restrooms here and no potable water, so bring your own.

This trail starts at the stairs behind the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. This trail will start at the second left, just past a small pond.

You will find that, although not very long, this trail is fairly difficult. It climbs about 400 feet and has some tight switchbacks. It’s worth the ride, however, as you get a great view of the glacier and, if you take the indicated side road, you get to see A-J waterfall, something many tourists miss.

The lower part of the trail has plenty of vegetation, such as willow and cottonwood trees. In some areas, the landscape can be so dense, you feel quite alone on the trail, but don’t let that be deceiving. Bears have been seen on this trail, so keep your eyes open!

Dredge Lake Loop Trail

Dredge Lake Loop Trail

This is another loop trail that follows one side of Dredge Lake. This is an easy ride that is good for children. Be sure to bring water as there is no potable water available.

This trail can be accessed from Mendenhall Loop Road. There are several ways to access the trail, so consult Google for exact driving instructions from your area.

In addition to the lake, one of the highlights of this trail are the beavers, who can be seen making dams along the lake. Occasionally, this causes flooding of the trail, especially after heavy rains. Black bears are also seen here, as well as snowshoe hares.

You can swim in the lake, but most people find it too cold. There are no lifeguards on duty. It’s a far better bike trail than a swimming adventure and families will enjoy this ride.

Perseverance Trail

Less than 5 minutes from Juneau, this 6.5-mile trail has a lot to offer, including a waterfall. This trail was a footpath used by the indigenous people for hunting and later was one of the first “roads” in the state.

This is NOT a loop trail. This is a moderately difficult trail. You can access this trail by following the signs in town to the trailhead.

This trail also follows an old railway built to service the mine that was once here. You can see the Gold River below and breathtaking views of the mountains. Near the top is Ebner Falls outlook, which is quite impressive.

Be careful walking near the falls as there are loose rocks, which can cause you to fall. Bring water with you.

For the very hardy, this trail links to other trails that offer access to the summit of Mount Juneau, Red Mill, Mine Camp Ruins, and Glory Hole Overlook. These trails are very strenuous and are best left for the expert mountain biker or to be tackled on foot.

Peterson Lake Trail

Who doesn’t love a ride around water? The Peterson Lake Trail begins at Glacier Highway, mile marker 23.4. It ends at Peterson Lake Cabin. The trail is only 3 or 4 feet wide and some places have narrow planks to ride over.

This is an outstanding trail for those who like something to see while they ride. Considered to be intermediate in difficulty, for those who are experienced riders, this trail shouldn’t be missed. Note that this trail is NOT a loop.

The beginning of this 4.3-mile-long trail follows the tracks of an old mining tram that used to run in the early 1900s. The trail will then continue through a deep forest, which is often muddy or wet no matter what time of year. The last half mile runs by Peterson Lake, which sometimes floods the trail.

To see Peterson’s cabin, you will need to hike another 2.5-3 hours along a muddy road. Waterproof boots are recommended if you take on that endeavor. Otherwise, you stop at a beautiful outcropping which gives you a view of the Mendenhall Glacier, Mendenhall Lake, and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Herbert Glacier Trail

This is the perfect day ride for almost every skill level except for young children. This trail is just short of 5 miles long. Note that this is NOT a loop trail.

Access the Herbert Glacier Trail at mile marker 28 on the Glacier Highway, just past Herbert River Bridge. There is a parking lot on the right side of the highway where the trailhead begins.

The first 3-4 miles of the trail is an easy 6-foot-wide gravel path. The last 1.5 miles is the only part that is a bit more difficult. Some people prefer to walk their bikes during the last half a mile to see Herbert Glacier.  Look for mountain goats on the hillsides!

Bring water as there is no potable water source. Do not approach the front of the glacier as falling ice blocks can injure and even kill.

Trail of Time

This is the shortest and easiest bike trail, but one that should not be missed, especially for families with young children or visitors to Alaska. This trail is a mere 0.7 of a mile long.

You can access this trail behind the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The trail ends at the parking lots.

This trail is named for the sense of time travel it offers. This trail moves away from the glacier and as you ride along, you see the changes that occur to the landscape depending on the amount of time the glacier left the area.

A short but beautiful trail that is family friendly and offers a terrific glimpse of history.

Gold Creek Flume Trail

Gold Creek Flume Trail

Sometimes referred to as simply Flume Trail, this interesting trail is a short 2.0 miles and is easy for everyone, dogs included.

The trailhead is located at the end of Evergreen Avenue. You will see waterfalls that fill Gold Creek, along with beautiful and lush vegetation. This trail is not suitable for winter biking. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash. For a picnic lunch and a pleasant afternoon ride, this is an excellent choice. Great for kids as well. At the end of the trail, you can try your hand at panning for gold.

The path has wooden bridges and planks to ride on, with the rushing waters from Gold Creek going underneath. Take care when wet as the planks can be slippery!

Also, be aware that black bears are common in this area. While they are not usually seen on the trail, they can appear at any time.  Porcupines, other the other hand, love this little section and are often seen climbing or sitting in the trees. These ornery little creatures are another good reason to keep your dog on a leash!

Nugget Creek Trail

This is a 2.2-mile trail that is considered easy for most bike riders. Inexperienced riders might find it more challenging.

The trailhead can be found behind the Mendenhall Glacier visitors center. Start off on the Trail of Time, then follow the sign to the left.

Nugget Creek connects to other trails around Dredge Lake. Most of the trail is 4 to 6 feet wide. The trail ends at the Vista Creek Shelter, which was built in the 1930s by the CCC. The area is covered in wild blueberries, which are inviting to both humans and bears. There are multiple side routes which go off to a variety of points of interest, usually about the mining operations that used to be here.

Don’t forget to look up along the mountainsides where you can usually see mountain goats walking on what looks like impossible cliffs.

Nugget Creek Trail

Honorable Mentions

Lost Lake Trail (Seward)

While technically not in Juneau, this biking trail is so fantastic, it deserves a special mention.

Seward is next door to Anchorage, so if you make a trip to Anchorage or if you are flying out of the airport for your vacation, try to find the time to check out this exciting trail.

This is a fairly easy trail, rising in elevation, but flat once you reach the top. If you bike on the weekends, you should have no difficulty with this trail, however, you should note that it is quite long. There is a campsite at Lost Lake.

This is NOT a loop trail and if you bike the entire length, it’s 15 miles round trip. If you take the Lost Lake trail, you will end up in Primrose. If you start in Primrose, the trail ends at Lost Lake. Ideally, you can have someone drop you off at Primrose, bike down to Lost Lake and meet your friend who has hopefully made camp for you.  

In the summer months, blueberries and salmonberries line the path but remember that these are also the favorite foods of bears. Marmots are also plentiful, as are biting black flies, so bring insect repellent.

This biking trail has plenty of secluded spots for picnics and views of the glaciers and mountainsides are breathtaking.

Kincaid Park (Anchorage)

Kincaid Park is such an outstanding mountain bike ride that we feel it deserves special mention.

This park is 1500 acres that include more than 45 miles of trails. Located right up against the Cook Inlet, this hilly terrain is perhaps the perfect workout. Some have dubbed this “rollercoaster park” because it seems as if you are either going uphill or downhill. Be aware that while these trails are not steep, they tend to be strenuous because there are so few flat areas to rest.

Almost all the trails are double width and are maintained pretty well. You will find very dense forests here but there are plenty of signs so if you stay on the trail, you can’t get lost.

One of the best (or is it worst?) thing about Kincaid Park is that it is one of the favorite stomping grounds for moose. While they are accustomed to seeing people, it can be a bit unnerving to find a big male moose staring at you from the bushes.

Don’t ever approach a moose or come between a female and her calf. Also note that bears love moose meat, which means bears can be close by. If you encounter a moose on the path, stop and wait for it to leave.

Kincaid Park Mountain Bike Trail

We know that there are dozens of other trails and bike paths in and around Juneau. If you have a favorite that wasn’t mentioned here, leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Feel free to pass this on to friends and family who love bike riding or who might be visiting Alaska this summer.

Author: Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.

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