Inside Passage Stories and Tips


Juneau is in a spectacularly beautiful setting, surrounded as it is by mountains and glaciers, and cozied up to the Gastineau Channel. It is very large inland area (second only to Sitka in North America) but quite small in population (30,000). Half of the workforce are government employees, and the downtown area is very small. The surrounding terrain is very steep, and much of the city itself is built on the rubble from gold mines. The most astonishing thing to me is that the highways out of town run for perhaps 40 miles north, 3 miles south, then stop--they do not connect Juneau to any other cities.

There are lots of different things to do in and around Juneau. A visit to the Mendenhall Glacier is a must; we also visited the Alaska Brewery, which makes a fine dark beer, a fish hatchery where we watched the salmon climb the fish ladder (and bought salmon jerky, which was great), and went on a tour that took us panning for gold (lots of fun, but backbreaking work). The tour also took us to the Governor's mansion (nice house, not much land) and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.

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