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Sistersinlaw

Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier - drive on your own?

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Hi,

 

We are in Juneau on May 13 from 1:30-10pm.  We just want to go to Mendenhall Glacier - no salmon bake, no flight, etc.lol!  Is there a bus that will take you there and back? Or can you just rent a car and do it?  Do you need a guided tour?  

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Sistersinlaw said:

Hi,

 

We are in Juneau on May 13 from 1:30-10pm.  We just want to go to Mendenhall Glacier - no salmon bake, no flight, etc.lol!  Is there a bus that will take you there and back? Or can you just rent a car and do it?  Do you need a guided tour?  

 

 

We are there a week later and have the same question. None of the expensive ship tours seem interesting enough or appropriate for us. Looking forward to seeing the replies to your post...

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We rented a car from Juneau Car Rental when we were there last July.  I think the cost was around $110, which was a great deal since there were 4 of us.  As soon as we got our car, we went stopped to buy lunch items and went directly to Mendenhall.  We were there before the buses arrived and had no trouble parking.  We spent some time at the visitor ctr, then walked the trail to Nugget Falls.  We really enjoyed being on our own time schedule and could spend as much time there as we wanted.  It was getting busy when we left.

 

We then drove out to Eagle Beach and had our picnic lunch. Then we stopped at the Shrine of St. Therese.  Returned our rental car and had a snack at Tracey's Crab Shack.

 

I believe the shuttles to Mendenhall are around $45/person, so we saved quite a bit of money and had freedom to do as we pleased.

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Great advice. I prefer going at my own speed and interests in a port, also. Did you reserve the car rental in advance or at the port?

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We reserved in advance.  People also use Avis and I believe there's a location in town, so you don't have to go to the airport.  We didn't want to risk that there wouldn't be cars available.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sistersinlaw said:

Hi,

 

We are in Juneau on May 13 from 1:30-10pm.  We just want to go to Mendenhall Glacier - no salmon bake, no flight, etc.lol!  Is there a bus that will take you there and back? Or can you just rent a car and do it?  Do you need a guided tour?  

 

 

There is a bus.  You do not need a guided tour.  In the past have been two bus vendors at the port.  You can take the bus to Mendenhall and take a return bus when you are ready to return.  The city bus is not convenient as the stop is a long walking distance to the entrance.  The vendor bus will take you right to the entrance.  It runs all day from the port to Mendenhall and back.  

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We rented a car from Avis, reserve in advance as they only have so many.  We did similar to Bearvet, drove to Mendenhall Glacier, spent about three hours there, walked out to Nugget Falls going the trail that goes along the water on the way out and regular trail on way back.  Drove to Eagle Beach and the end of the road.  Stopped for a few things at Fred Meyer on the way back, parked downtown and did some shopping, easily found street parking.  DH went and returned car as I browsed a fee more shops.  Dinner at Tracey's Crab Shack.  It was a nice, relaxing time, well worth the cost of the car.

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After some research on this topic we realised that the city bus though cheap is quite a walk and often times filled up on return.   Private buses that offer just drop off and pickup are $25 each way . So instead we booked a tour for $60 with the below company https://juneauandskagwaytours.zaui.net/modules/webBooking/index.php?id=10&action=Details&clientId=561793269.1551925376

 

 

here is what they offer in the - Juneau City and Mendenhall Glacier

 

This is a 45 minute tour through own Juneau and across the bridge to Douglas Island, then travel 30 minutes along the scenic highway with a drop off at Mendenhall Glacier. After spending 45 minutes to an hour, your driver/guide returns to the Mt. Roberts Tram. 2 to 2 1/2 hours total time for tour.  

You'll have the option to stay at the glacier a little longer if you want to; just let your driver know! The driver will show you where our shuttle bus back to town boards. Otherwise, after exploring the glacier, meet with driver at the designated time to return to the downtown port. 

If you choose to stay longer - take our white Juneau Tours Glacier Shuttle back to town.  It leaves at the top and bottom of the hour, every 30 minutes. The last shuttle back to town varies from 4-6:30 pm. Check with the driver to confirm on the day you are there.   Please be aware of your all aboard time - it takes approximately 30 minutes to return to town from the glacier. **

 
Full refunds up to 24 hours before departure. Refund requests for health reasons less than 24 hours in advance will be granted 50% value of ticket price.

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We've been to Juneau many times, we cruise up to Alaska every year. The last couple of times we went out to Mendenhall Glacier we bought our tickets on the pier in the general area of the Mt. Roberts tram, they'll be a lot of tour vendors in that area. If you have a National Parks Senior pass bring it, it'll save you and 3 of your best friends the $5 entry fee to get into the visitor center at Mendenhall Glacier.  The National Parks Senior pass will also work in Ketchikan at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center https://www.alaskacenters.gov/visitors-centers/ketchikan

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We took the local bus.  

 

We got off the ship very early just to walk around and we saw the booths with all the vendors.  One vendor told us that the local bus was leaving in a few minutes so we took it to Mendenhall Glacier, the bus was empty. Once there we walked to the falls and back (about a mile each way). We spent less that two hours there. The bus heading back to the ship was also empty, it was late morning. Had plenty of time to  have lunch on the ship and head out to our afternoon whale watching excursion. 

 

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Posted (edited)

When I was in Juneau a few years ago, my husband and I did the tour amisup mentioned above. It was nice to see a little bit of the city - including the completely unassuming governor's "mansion" and the local hockey rink :) -and the driver narrated with some facts about the locale. 

Edited by diarm
typo

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There are 2 companies that provide a shuttle service to Mendenhall.  It's $45 + pp, so if there are more than 2 of you it might be cheaper to rent a car or even take a cab.

Info on transportation options to Mendenhall are in the Tongas Forest web site  as well as a map of the trails at Mendenhall:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/about-forest/offices/?cid=fseprd495443

 

The FS site is included in the resource page I put together.  It has fallen back a few pages now. Maybe it will get bumped to the current page soon.

 

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On 4/1/2019 at 7:05 AM, starfish216 said:

We took the local bus.  

 

We got off the ship very early just to walk around and we saw the booths with all the vendors.  One vendor told us that the local bus was leaving in a few minutes so we took it to Mendenhall Glacier, the bus was empty. Once there we walked to the falls and back (about a mile each way). We spent less that two hours there. The bus heading back to the ship was also empty, it was late morning. Had plenty of time to  have lunch on the ship and head out to our afternoon whale watching excursion. 

 

Do you remember how much it cost one way ? 

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We went five years ago, my husband thinks the local bus was only $2 pp each way.  This did not include admission to the museum.  We walked along some trail to the visitor center and then to the falls.   This is a local bus not the shuttle bus that offers narration.   We caught the bus in the parking lot where all the tour vendor booths are.

 

This was not something I had  planned on doing or researched since our whale watching tour later in the after noon was stopping by Mendenhall Glacier for a quick distance view.   We were just off the ship around 7 - 8 AM wandering saw a sign and asked someone in the parking lot about Mendenhall Glacier and he told us to take the local bus, he said it was leaving in about 5 minutes.   He said it ran often. For us it worked out well.  

 

Our ship was docked close to where the bus parking lot was and we didn't mind walking once to we got to Mendenhall Glacier.

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On 3/31/2019 at 9:18 PM, Eaglecw said:

We've been to Juneau many times, we cruise up to Alaska every year. The last couple of times we went out to Mendenhall Glacier we bought our tickets on the pier in the general area of the Mt. Roberts tram, they'll be a lot of tour vendors in that area. If you have a National Parks Senior pass bring it, it'll save you and 3 of your best friends the $5 entry fee to get into the visitor center at Mendenhall Glacier.  The National Parks Senior pass will also work in Ketchikan at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center https://www.alaskacenters.gov/visitors-centers/ketchikan

 

We were at Mendenhall Glacier last August and never paid a fee of any kind. We drove a rental car and didn't have to pay to park either. We enjoyed looking at the glacier, walked some trails, saw the yurt, and went in the Visitor Center. We were not asked to pay a fee, there was no ticket office, and there was no place to leave a required amount. There was a donation box, and we did make a donation, but there was no required fee to enter the Visitor Center.

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3 hours ago, TwinMamainMN said:

 

We were at Mendenhall Glacier last August and never paid a fee of any kind. We drove a rental car and didn't have to pay to park either. We enjoyed looking at the glacier, walked some trails, saw the yurt, and went in the Visitor Center. We were not asked to pay a fee, there was no ticket office, and there was no place to leave a required amount. There was a donation box, and we did make a donation, but there was no required fee to enter the Visitor Center.

I'd have to say your pretty lucky. In June of last year there was a guy up in the visitor center collecting entry fee's. The only place I've ever seen them collect a fee was in the visitor center. They don't charge to park your car there. 

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Posted (edited)

Why do I remember the shuttle costing about $6 each way not that long ago?  I don't recall the park entrance fee being included then.

 

 

Edited by quack2

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On 3/31/2019 at 11:51 AM, Bearvet said:

We rented a car from Juneau Car Rental when we were there last July.  I think the cost was around $110, which was a great deal since there were 4 of us.  As soon as we got our car, we went stopped to buy lunch items and went directly to Mendenhall.  We were there before the buses arrived and had no trouble parking.  We spent some time at the visitor ctr, then walked the trail to Nugget Falls.  We really enjoyed being on our own time schedule and could spend as much time there as we wanted.  It was getting busy when we left.

 

We then drove out to Eagle Beach and had our picnic lunch. Then we stopped at the Shrine of St. Therese.  Returned our rental car and had a snack at Tracey's Crab Shack.

 

I believe the shuttles to Mendenhall are around $45/person, so we saved quite a bit of money and had freedom to do as we pleased.

We did this same thing pretty much when we were there last September.   The walk to Juneau Car Rental was a little bit of a hike from the port but it was a beautiful day that day.  We went to all 3 places listed above and just took our time.  We dropped off the car and had a late lunch by the port and then did some shopping just by walking.  It was a great day!!!

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On 3/31/2019 at 11:51 AM, Bearvet said:

We rented a car from Juneau Car Rental when we were there last July.  I think the cost was around $110, which was a great deal since there were 4 of us.  As soon as we got our car, we went stopped to buy lunch items and went directly to Mendenhall.  We were there before the buses arrived and had no trouble parking.  We spent some time at the visitor ctr, then walked the trail to Nugget Falls.  We really enjoyed being on our own time schedule and could spend as much time there as we wanted.  It was getting busy when we left.

 

We then drove out to Eagle Beach and had our picnic lunch. Then we stopped at the Shrine of St. Therese.  Returned our rental car and had a snack at Tracey's Crab Shack.

 

I believe the shuttles to Mendenhall are around $45/person, so we saved quite a bit of money and had freedom to do as we pleased.

We pretty much did this exact time line... great to have your own transportation to cruise around the area.  Had a great picnic at Eagle beach.  We rented from Avis, easy walk up and we were at the Glacier before the buses. 

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On 4/2/2019 at 10:53 PM, starfish216 said:

We went five years ago, my husband thinks the local bus was only $2 pp each way.  This did not include admission to the museum.  We walked along some trail to the visitor center and then to the falls.   This is a local bus not the shuttle bus that offers narration.   We caught the bus in the parking lot where all the tour vendor booths are.

 

This was not something I had  planned on doing or researched since our whale watching tour later in the after noon was stopping by Mendenhall Glacier for a quick distance view.   We were just off the ship around 7 - 8 AM wandering saw a sign and asked someone in the parking lot about Mendenhall Glacier and he told us to take the local bus, he said it was leaving in about 5 minutes.   He said it ran often. For us it worked out well.  

 

Our ship was docked close to where the bus parking lot was and we didn't mind walking once to we got to Mendenhall Glacier.

 

@starfish216 - thank you for this information.  We decided today that we would take the local bus to Mendenhall Glacier.  We plan to be off the ship no later than 07:30 AM as we want to go out to the Park early.  Is the bus stop “obvious” at the cruise port, or just simply ask around and we will be pointed to where it is located?

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17 hours ago, hvbaskey said:

 

@starfish216 - thank you for this information.  We decided today that we would take the local bus to Mendenhall Glacier.  We plan to be off the ship no later than 07:30 AM as we want to go out to the Park early.  Is the bus stop “obvious” at the cruise port, or just simply ask around and we will be pointed to where it is located?

The local bus was in the middle of the parking lot.  There was a guy just standing there and we asked him and he pointed to the local bus.  It's the same parking lot where all the vendors have booths to sell tour tickets. We didn't mind having to walk once we got there since we were off the bus early to go for a walk before our early afternoon whale watching excursion.

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