Explore the most popular lake trails in Tongass National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
8 days ago

My favorite trail in Juneau!

Beautiful views. Go early to avoid crowds

walking
21 days ago

Nice hike to view a waterfall. Well maintained trail. Actually saw a family pushing a wheelchair on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail with access to Mendenhall glacier at the end.

The trail is great then view at the end is ok.

Easy hike. Breathtaking scenery!

Easy, Gorgeous after first big snow of the season!

Moderate++ in the rain for this 57 year old (who's in decent shape). Unmaintained is the key word here, but trust the ribbons - they will guide you. The views are fantastic!

Great views on the maintained trail. We hit a dead end. Not marked well for the loop. We then took the less-traveled and unmaintained trail to the ice caves. Much more strenuous hike! Trust the ribbons to guide you.

hiking
3 months ago

Uphill the whole way. Oof. Great views from the top, of course. Did round trip in 6-ish hours, including summiting, visiting shelter, eating lunch, and taking photos.

Nice trail! the last section of boardwalk was all icy & packed down by lots of hikers so it was a bit sketchy.

4 months ago

Hiked this trail in August 2017. Just being in Alaska with boots on the ground soaking it all in is enough for me. What an amazing place. Great hike!

Beautiful easy hike. Great views of Mendenhall Glacier. The waterfall is huge and you can get up close to it. There is also a nice visitor center at the head of the trail. I know this trail can be crazy busy. We hit it just right in the middle of September and hiked it before the cruise ship came into port. We saw maybe a total of ten people the whole time. Worth the hike, just plan around the cruise ship schedule so it's not to crowded.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a great hike! Make sure you bring good hiking boots because the paths get really rocky and there is some climbing involved. It was a rainy day, so the climbing was challenging because it got slippery in some areas. I'm from Florida, so this definetely felt like a hard hike for me! But well worth every ounce of effort becase the views were absolutely breathtaking.

On our way there, other visitors told us that a piece of the cave collapsed and we saw a chunk of the glacier fall into the water ourselves :( this hike is a must do!

hiking
9 months ago

It's almost gone! I was there a week ago and there was only about a 30 yard section still there. I heard from some locals that a portion has collapsed the week prior. I didn't realize this, but the cave is created by a river that enters the glacier from the side. The glacier has now almost retreated past that rivers path. We were able to walk in the mouth of the cave from both ends (where the river goes in and where it goes out. I wouldn't expect the glacier cave to last another month.

As far as the hike goes... our group laughed at some of the comments posted. The trail is actually marked quite well with neon ribbon tied to trees and bushes along the trail. If you stay on the trail anyone with half of an adventurous spirit and able to jog a half mile without stopping to die should be fine. No you do not need special gear. You can do it just fine in tennis shoes. We did it in the rain and loved it. No, you do not need a guide. My in-laws each paid $300 per person for a tour guide to take them by canoe/kayak across the lake to the glacier. We beat them to the glacier. They were pissed to have paid so much. Their guide didn't even let them go inside the cave due to the risk of it caving in. We paid $20 per person for a van to take our hiking group to the trailhead and back. I walked on the glacier for about 10 yards (slippery... duh) The hardest part is climbing up a steep rocky section where you will need to use your hands, but there are plenty of foot and hand holds. Be careful and you'll be fine.

walking
9 months ago

Easy trail with nice views of Nugget Falls and Mendenhall Glacier. Only downside is the large number of other people on the trail.

on Deer Mountain Trail

9 months ago

It's not easy.

Cool Trail

hiking
9 months ago

I just came back from a hiking trip near Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. I heard about the ice cave under Mendenhall Glacier for a while and wanted to visit it before it melts away. Juneau’s summer temperature is like late October in north FL (about 50-60), where I live. Another thing to note is that it rains constantly in Juneau, mostly sprinkles, sometimes pours. So I brought waterproof gears just in case. I began hiking from the West Glacier trail (trail head located on Skater’s Cabin’s road, a hand written board points to the direction of the trail). This trial is well maintained clear marked.

After about 1.2 miles, I got off West Glacier trail and turned to the West Glacier Spur trail. The next 1.3 miles was pretty challenging. This trail was very poorly marked, very muddy. I started following the neon ribbons tied by previous hikers from this point on. There were couples of creeks without bridges and some places were flooded. I tried to go through the creek with bear foot, so my shoes don’t get wet (above-ankle high; flooded area was Knee high. You could go around the flooded area but very muddy). The water came from the Glacier, it was COLD! After 2 miles, I encountered another challenge --- I needed to climb over an 5-story-tall rocky hill. The suffice of the hill was very steep (about 80-85 degrees) with loose rocks and was slippery from the rain. Thankfully I brought my crampons!

Once I climbed over the steep hill, I got the first close-up glimpse of the glacier. The glacier was powerful and majestic, lying in the arms of mountains like a silent giant. The next step was to some how get down to the bottom and go find the entrance of the ice cave. It didn’t look as steep as the other side but loose rocks were dangerous. The ice cave is unearthly beautiful! It is cold as a freezer with dripping ceiling. The glacier appeared to be blue, because the ice filtered all spectrum of light but blue.

I went back the same way I got here. A guide is not necessary, I went by myself and found the cave just fine. Keep your eye out for the ribbons. I did got lost couple of times because the rocky hill looks similar all the way around but got back on track quickly. At one point on top of the rocky hill, you may feel that there is no way down. Just follow the ribbon and inch close to the edge, then you will see some spots that you can step on. There is no "right way" to climb this hill; making sure stepping stones are not loose or slippery is very important. Total distance was 5 miles out and back; it took me 5.5 hours. Not a long hike but the climbing part can be dangerous. Crampons/micro-spikes and hiking poles are recommended. Water proof shoes or boots are must. The ice cave worth the effort tho! Great hike!!

Amazing hike. Getting to see something that is unique and changing daily.

hiking
9 months ago

great trail with a beautiful waterfall. Great view of the lake. Very wet on a rainy day

Amazing hike!!

hiking
9 months ago

This hike was absolutely breathtaking. It started off in flat, moss covered forest. It transitioned to rock scrambling, a steep climbing section and finally loose rock. The views of the lake, Nugget Falls and Mendenhall Glacier are impossible to describe. While there is nothing too technically challenging, it's a solid hike and helps if you're in moderately decent physical shape.

hiking
10 months ago

It is one of my favorite hike. It is a fun hike with rock scramble, scree, and an ICE CAVE at the end for all your effort.

The most important thing is to find your point of entry to the ice cave trail that splits from west glacier trail. The first view point sign that you see, turn right and then make a left down a rocky terrain. There should be a "1940" glacier retreat sign in front of the trail. After defending that rocky terrain, that is where the fun starts.

The trail is well mark with ribbons and the glacier retreat year sign. The trail is well traveled so you can spot the trail. Coming back might be a little trail searching in the beginning. Since there is a good proportion of the trail is rock exposure, wear good traction boots and watch out for rain. A little rain is find but a down pour might have you slipping.

I hiked a lot and was able to carry my 2 year son on a carrier and use my hand once on a upclimb rock scramble. So it is doable for every hiker and even the beginner. Just take some time and don't get intimidated.

hiking
10 months ago

I'm an avid hiker and this trail is definitely not moderate. A few things to help y'all, where there's a sign and fork in the road, take the scenic route to the right. Don't try to hike this in tennis shoes at all. Be prepared to free climb a canyon, and be really really careful if it's suppose to rain or if it just rained. A lot of the trail was flooded out and when climbing down the canyon it started raining rendering small waterfalls and made it really difficult and slippery. There is no easy way to do this. On top of the canyon/ mountain follow the signs or stacked rocks. The red trail markers not always visible. Overall it's well worth the views. Absolutely gorgeous. But make sure you follow what I listed above and it will go smooth.

10 months ago

fantastic hike! great views of the glacier that are better than the visitors center imho. I prefer to take the cairn trail, which has the ice extent markers - about half way through to the ice on the trail, you'll see the an ice extent marker on your right and then another small trail that'll take you over the rocks and right down to the foot of the glacier. I recommend this route if you're trying to get to the foot and ice caves.

hiking
10 months ago

Great day hike! Beautiful up close views of the Mendenhall glacier and ice caves. Only downside is there can be a lot of hikers up there particularly on a nice day. Bring an extra layer or two as well - its colder than you think, especially if the wind picks up.

Great trail for a nice walk. Been here a few times and keep going back.

hiking
10 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous. Easy trail with beautiful views!

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful trail.

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