The capital of Alaska, Juneau has a rich history and magnificent scenery – so it’s no wonder that it attracts droves of visitors every year.
Located in Alaska, between the Gulf of Alaska and British Columbia, the Juneau area is almost as large as the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
Whether you’re just visiting with friends or working as a professional tour guide in town, a few helpful facts about the area will make you sound like a local expert.
Here are ten interesting tidbits that will make you sound like you grew up in Juneau—even if you just got off the boat.
It’s a hiker’s dream: It’s 45 miles end-to-end, but the area has over 130 miles of hiking trails.
You can’t drive to Juneau. The famous ALCAN—or Alaska-Canada Highway—can only take you so far. You will need to board a ferry to reach your final destination.
The Juneau area experiences an extreme weather phenomenon, usually three or four times a year, called the Taku Winds.
Usually between October and March, these winds – which can gust up to 100 miles per hour – form when the temperature is super cold. Air flows perpendicular to the mountains with a stable layer of air in the mountains preventing the cold air from rising higher.
At a certain “critical level”, the cold air piles up so high that it overturns, causing the famous Taku winds.
Juneau Alaska stands on one of the largest wilderness areas in the United States. Here you can spend your time viewing wildlife, taking the fishing trip of your life, exploring atop glaciers, or enjoying the city’s shops, restaurants, and artistic flare.
It’s truly a city of both mountains and ocean. It’s sandwiched right between 3,800-foot peaks and the sea.
Less than 15 miles from Juneau lies a glacier that covers nearly 37 square miles.
The Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long river of ice that ends in Lake Mendenhall. The glacier is a small piece of the Juneau Icefield, which covers 1,500 miles.
Recently, stumps and logs with roots and bark have appeared under the retreating glacier. Preserved by a protective gravel cover, they are in their original growth position from their preglacial life, perfect for scientists to study.
The discovery of gold in the Juneau area was the first such discovery to result in the establishment of a city in Alaska — and that city became the capital of Alaska in 1906 when the government moved from Sitka.
Today, by far the largest employer in Juneau is government, followed by tourism.
Juneau is home to Alaska’s oldest operating hotel, The Alaskan, which was built the year Alaska became a territory.
Originally billed as a “pocket version of the West Coast’s best hostel,” the hotel has been renovated to reflect its historic Queen Anne-style glory.
One of the world’s most vertical trams – the Mount Roberts Tram – brings visitors nearly 2,000 feet from Juneau’s cruise ship dock in just six minutes. The tram’s two 60-passenger cabins can move 1,050 people up the hill per hour, giving visitors stunning bird’s-eye views of the area and access to hiking trails from the top.
Juneau may be one of the best places in the world to see a bald eagle. In fact, some estimates put the Juneau area at between 15,000 and 30,000. That’s a lot when you consider that there are only about 32,000 people.
Whether you’re just in town for the weekend or working as a guide for the season, a little basic knowledge about Juneau will make your stay more enjoyable.
And it will give you confidence with all the visitors you take around town. It’s a place worth visiting, both culturally and environmentally – and a few fun facts make it even more fun.
Read more: https://www.amazon.com/LIVING-WORKING-BOARD-CRUISE-SHIP-ebook/dp/B07XP9KYW9