In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans."
From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital
of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.
Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau's 3,248 square miles.
Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.
This amazing glacier is 12 miles long, a half-mile wide and from 300 to 1,800 feet deep. Stretching from the Juneau Icefield to Mendenhall Lake, it has been slowly retreating since the mid 1700s.
Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman's paradise, with activities you won't find anywhere else. Go for a ride on a dog sled, whale watching, hiking, nature watching, flightseeing, ziplining and more.
You're virtually ensured a whale sighting from April to November when hundreds of humpbacks feed and frolic in the waters of the northern Inside Passage. Orcas are also common sightings in Juneau.
Fly over the massive Juneau Icefield and get a front-row seat to awe-inpsiring glaciers, spectacular icefalls and majestic rock formations - accessible only from the air.
Salmon swim up a 450-foot fish ladder from late-June to October. Watch the hatchery process from the deck. The aquarium inside showcases local marine life in their natural saltwater environments.
This 50-acre garden features species native to this temperate rainforest. Guided tours provide insight into a self-sustaining ecosystem and lookout points on Thunder Mountain are spectacular.
Meet professional mushers and their amazing canine companions in an introduction to Alaska's state sport. Take a flight to a glacier to experience flying over the snow, or visit the summertime training grounds for a ride in a wheeled sled.
One of the finest museums in the state, this facility houses Native, mining, fishing and Russian displays, as well as traveling art and cultural exhibits.