In June 2019, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Alaska to represent one of my clients at the International Food Blogger Conference. Luckily, we also had a few days before the conference to explore our surroundings. This is the second post in a series I’ll be writing featuring the adventures we had during our stay in Juneau, Alaska, this one focusing on our ride up (and down!) the Mount Roberts Tramway.
As I mentioned in my first post, Juneau is unique in that it’s situated between the Alaska Boundary Range and the Gastineau Channel, making it reachable only by boat or plane. The topography sets it up, as you can imagine, for some stunning vistas. There are, of course, hiking trails to help you gain elevation and obtain a change in perspective. For those of us who are less inclined to strap on hiking boots (or those whose hiking boots gave up on them–ha, ha!), there is a tramway that will allow you a shortcut to the same beauty.
The Mount Roberts Tramway can be found at the cruise ships dock, just south of downtown Juneau.
It’s convenient, no matter how you arrive. Operating from May to September, it is the only aerial tramway in southeast Alaska. In about six minutes, you rise 1800 feet through rain forest to the viewing area at the top. It’s a journey that brings you not only to great heights, but also to a variety of plant life you won’t see if you stay at sea level. You’ll find even more when you hike up to the sub-alpine meadows, which are absolutely breathtaking in June.
There are a variety of options once you reach the top.
Feeling outdoorsy? You can take a short hike to a variety of vistas. Grab a trail map to ensure you’re on the right path for your athletic ability (BONUS–there’s a handicap-accessible trail, so the fun isn’t limited to the most agile in your group). Want to learn more? There’s a nature center with displays of local flora and fauna, as well as a cozy gift shop. Looking for products made by local artisans? Then you’ll want to take a trip through Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery, which also has an online shop you can access from home. In the Chilkat Theatre you can watch Seeing Daylight, a short film featuring Tlingit history and culture. At Timberline Atop Mount Roberts, you can grab a bite to eat with an amazing view. (We did not try out the restaurant, so you’re on your own with that one!) It’s not all about boots and woods and exercise, my friends!
Of course, if you are the sort who likes to get sweaty and earn your perspective, you can do that, too. You can buy a $10 one-way ticket at the top, which can be used for some well-deserved rest after all that hard work. Downhill is always rougher on the knees anyway, even if it might seem like the easy way!
The Mount Roberts Tramway operates every day of the week, May through September.
Check their website for hours–especially on the fringes of the season. You’ll want to allow about 2 hours at the top to thoroughly explore it all. The nice thing about buying a ticket to this attraction is that your pass is valid all day. That makes the $35 ticket for adults/$18 ticket for kids 3-12 a real value! Since it’s a relatively quick trip up and down (longer during busier times, of course), you can ride the tram a few times in the same day and take in the view as the light changes. (And there’s a lot of light in Juneau in June! Something like 19-20 hours of it!)
The tramway should be on your MUST DO list for Juneau…
…especially if you’re there on a rare sunny day. It’s a super easy way to breathe it all in and get a handle on just how amazing the landscape is. Standing from the street, looking up that steep mountain, it’s hard to imagine what awaits you at the top. I’ve shared a tiny taste of what you might find. I think you’ll be quite pleased.
Day tickets must be purchased at the tramway base. Season passes can be purchased online at their website. Enjoy the view!
Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway
450 South Franklin Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801