Clouds are hanging low over Juneau on this morning in June. No roads lead to this city and it can only be accessed either by plane or boat. I am not a large cruise ship fan and this particular cruise aboard the Crown Princess represents a means to an end. It gets me where I would like to go. As soon as we disembark, I am determined to lose as many co-cruisers as possible. I had researched hiking trails in Juneau and originally thought we would take the cable car up to Mount Roberts. However, once they started promoting this particular idea to the 3,500 passengers on board, I quickly made up my mind. Instead of taking the cable car, we would actually hike the trail leading up to Mount Roberts. Just before noon we disembark and our first stop is the post office. Juneau’s post office looks like a gift store. You would never recognize it, if it wasn’t for the official sign. The girl behind the open, wooden table counter, is super smiley and welcoming. She points us to The Rookery, a local favorite, famous for its house made burgers. Yes, you might argue that eating burger in Alaska doesn’t really make sense, but when you are trying to escape the other tourists in the area, one is willing to compromise. The Rookery was packed with local people, no tourists in sight. People here were mingling, chatting. The restaurant/coffee bar appeared to be Juneau’s conversation melting pot. The food was outstanding and the service super friendly. After lunch we head off uphill to the Mount Robert’s trail head. We are “alone” except for the local people that are going for a run or are walking their dogs. The walk uphill to the trailhead takes us along colorful houses, beautiful and lush gardens. We also see the old Russian Orthodox church. Just as we are about to get to the trail head we pass a young man. He curiously asked us if we were locals (I guess we did not quite look the part, but then again our gear wasn’t all that off). As we decline he suggests we continue wwalking on straight, as there are waterfalls and a black bear to be seen. On the hunt for the black bear we give up the idea of climbing Mount Roberts and instead embark on the Perseverance Trail. The Perseverance Trail is historically one of Alaska’s most significant trails during the Gold Rush. We had no idea what to expect, but what we found was absolutely stunning. Steep mountain sides, waterfalls, lush and versatile nature, offering a new surprise around every corner. Nature at its purest. We filled our water bottles in the streams that we crossed and continued our way far beyond what we had originally planned. The Perseverance Trail makes for a wonderful do it yourself shore excursions. Here are a few things you will want to watch out for:
- Weather changes constantly. Be prepared for rain as well as sunshine, it can change in minutes.
- Bring some empty water bottles so you can fill them up with fresh water from the streams
- Your shoes need good tread. The terrain goes up and downhill, there are rocks, gravel, water to cross. Make sure your shoes snug tightly to your feet and your gear is adequate
- About half way into the trail you lose cell phone signal, meaning you are on your own
- If you see a bear, don’t run. Instead, curl up on the floor in a ball and pretend to be dead.
- The trail requires a certain level of fitness. You do not need to be a professional athlete, but it is steep at times and can be a bit challenging.
- You can do the trail with your children, however they need to be old enough to hike on their own and you need to feel comfortable to let them run a little risk every now and then
- Bring bug spray, just in case
- It takes about 45 minutes to walk from the cruise terminal to the trail head. By the time we made it to a spot called “Glory Hole” and back to the ship, we had walked about 8 miles.
Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT Stefanie Pichonnat is a Princess Cruise Lines Certified Expert at AAV Travel. With her personal experience in Alaska she can help you create and customize a personalized travel itinerary. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org