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What to do at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center

Published: Jan 01, 2021
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is a hub for exploring Juneau’s wildlife and nature via scenic walking trails, endless information from knowledgeable U.S. Forest Service Rangers, and stunning views of the Mendenhall Glacier itself. Located about 30 minutes from downtown Juneau, this area is not be missed on a visit to Alaska’s state capital.

During the Summer (May 1st - September 25th) the Visitor Center is open every day 10a.m. to 6p.m. Upon your arrival there will be several places to purchase your daily pass to explore the entire area. Guests 16 years and older will be required to pay a $5 day use fee, anyone younger is free of charge. 

Learn from the Experts: U.S. Forest Service Rangers located around the facility have lots of information to share with everyone.

The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is accessible for everyone, making it a great place to learn a lot! The facility itself features state-of-the-art exhibits, a 15-minute film showcasing the interplay between the Tongass National Forest and the surrounding glaciers, and visitors can also explore the Discovery Southeast bookstore. 

U.S. Forest Service Rangers are stationed around the area to help visitors get the most out of their experience. They are extremely knowledgeable and are able to offer a lot of insight about the landscape around. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions, big or small, they’re happy to help with it all!


Explore the Hiking Trails: There are several short walks and hikes around the Mendenhall Glacier.

Photo Point Trail: This trail is about ⅓ mile round trip and is highly accessible with it being paved. It’s a short walk to get to the turn around point where you’ll have magnificent views of the Mendenhall Glacier located across the Mendenhall Lake. Keep an eye out for small icebergs floating in the lake!

Nugget Falls Trail: Is it worth it? Yes! This 2 miles roundtrip trail will take you out to the gushing Nugget Falls. While the trail is rated moderately difficult due to its length and the trail being gravel, if you can make it, we highly recommend the trek.

Trail of Time: This trail will take you back through time as you explore various vegetation and landscapes which vary based on how long ago the glacier originally retreated from the area. Just under a mile for the entire loop, this trail will take you through time in about 30 minutes.

Steep Creek Trail: With raised boardwalks and and paved trails, this one is great for the entire family. It’s also the best trail to observe wildlife, including bears, in the area! Because of the trails proximity to salmon running grounds, bears are often seen. This ¼ mile trail is a quick adventure that you don’t want to miss!

East Glacier Trail: This 3.5 mile loop is perfect for the visitor who is looking for adventure and has a decent amount of time to explore. The loop will take the average visitor about 2.5 hours to complete but will offer guests an escape from the crowds and different views of the Mendenhall Glacier. We recommend using bug spray as the dense forest can often be full of mosquitos!

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