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torybruno

Mendenhall and Mt. Roberts Tramway on our own, seeking advice!

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We've previously taken a whale watching excursion in Juneau, so this time I'm thinking hubby and I would like to do Mendenhall and Mt. Roberts Tramway.  While HAL does offer the excursion for this, it only gives us 90 minutes at Mendenhall, and I think we would enjoy more time at the visitor center and hiking.  What's the logistics of doing these two things on our own?  We are in port from 1-9pm.  Thank you in advance!

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The logistics for doing Mendenhall on your own is to figure out how you are going to get there. You need transportation. Your options are:

 

1. Use the shuttles. There have been two companies in the past. The blue buses and the white buses. You pay for a round trip ride to and from the piers / downtown to Mendenhall. The buses run every however long (30 minutes?). Convenient, but can be expensive. I think they are charging $45 pp? I did see some sales for one or the other...$35 pp? I think the cost includes admission to the areas that charge admission, which include the visitor center, the restrooms, and specific trails. (Not all areas require admission...but still, I think the cost is $5 pp?)

 

2. Taxi. There are at least a couple taxi services.

 

3. Public Bus. Juneau has a public bus system and for cheap you can hop on one of the bus lines that will take you sort of close to Mendenhall. I believe that the bus stop is at least a mile? from Mendenhall. Also, because it is a public bus, making stops along the way, the ride isn't exactly short or direct like the shuttles. However, I believe the cost is more around $2 pp.

 

4. Rent a car. There are two car rental agencies that are considered to be in the port area. And more at the airport. The walk can be over a mile to get the port rental locations depending on which dock your ship is docked at. Dock has Avis and Juneau Car Rental.

 

I believe the shuttles and the taxi will include the $5 admission pp in the fares...if you do on your own with a bus or personal car rental, you will need to be prepared to pay that admission if you go where admission is charged. Look at the Mendenhall website for current details on what features charge admission.

 

I didn't ride the tram when we visited Juneau, so no knowledge of that, but I do believe that it is walking distance from the port area.

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We did Mendenhall Glacier on our own when we went a couple of years ago.  We used a taxi.  It was cheaper than the shuttle bus for us because there were 4 of us.  I think even for 2 the taxi might be a little bit cheaper.  We got a card from the one that dropped us off and then just called them for pickup about 30 minutes before we were ready to leave.  I think we went to Mendenhall around 5 or 6 pm, maybe even later.  We didn't go to the visitor center.  We did the mile or so walk to Nugget Falls.  We really enjoyed walking around and taking pictures.  It was super easy to do on your own.  No need to pay extra through the ship.  Plus it's nice to be totally on your own time schedule.

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We took the shuttle to the glacier. They have kiosks on the dock so you can buy your tickets there. The film at the visitor's center is worth your time. I think R/T is $45 each.  

Mt. Robert's tramway is within walking distance of the dock.  I'd wait until you get to Juneau before you buy tickets since the tramway is often rained or fogged in.  We've been to Juneau 3 times and it was only the last time (June 2018) that it was clear enough to go up.  Once there there are nice hiking/walking trails. 

Also plan a bit of time to walk around Juneau. You can visit the State Capitol and the oldest cabin in the city as well as the Red Dog Saloon.  Enjoy!

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1 hour ago, MommyCPA said:

We did Mendenhall Glacier on our own when we went a couple of years ago.  We used a taxi.  It was cheaper than the shuttle bus for us because there were 4 of us.  I think even for 2 the taxi might be a little bit cheaper.  We got a card from the one that dropped us off and then just called them for pickup about 30 minutes before we were ready to leave.  I think we went to Mendenhall around 5 or 6 pm, maybe even later.  We didn't go to the visitor center.  We did the mile or so walk to Nugget Falls.  We really enjoyed walking around and taking pictures.  It was super easy to do on your own.  No need to pay extra through the ship.  Plus it's nice to be totally on your own time schedule.

Do you remember how much the taxi was and where they drop you off?  Does anyone know how far the drop off point for the $45 shuttle is?  I am trying to convince my husband to visit on our own so we can hike and see everything.  I am assuming we do not need to pay the entrance fees because we both hold the lifetime senior National Park Pass.   Thanks for your help.

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20 minutes ago, Midwest Sunseeker said:

Do you remember how much the taxi was and where they drop you off?  Does anyone know how far the drop off point for the $45 shuttle is?  I am trying to convince my husband to visit on our own so we can hike and see everything.  I am assuming we do not need to pay the entrance fees because we both hold the lifetime senior National Park Pass.   Thanks for your help.

 

When in doubt, I go directly to the source. Here is a link to one of the companies that operates three different taxi services in Juneau. We usually just call for a taxi when we arrive, but it looks like you can even reserve in advance if you prefer. I would contact them directly to get your questions answered just so you know you are getting completely accurate information.

 

http://www.evergreentaxi.com/ 

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The Mendenhall shuttle drop off at Mendenhall is right in the parking lot at Mendenhall. It's the public bus that has a route that isn't on site.

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Would you not  rent a car ?   It's only about a 20-30 minute drive to Mendenhall.  With a car you could drive to the coast; visit Eagle Beach, Shrine of St Therese, Endof the Rd.  There's less than 100 miles so no way to get lost.

 

Contact info for the 2 shuttles, taxis, and bus:

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

 

Info on trails :

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd604841.pdf

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38 minutes ago, mapleleaves said:

Would you not  rent a car ?   It's only about a 20-30 minute drive to Mendenhall.  With a car you could drive to the coast; visit Eagle Beach, Shrine of St Therese, Endof the Rd.  There's less than 100 miles so no way to get lost.

I have to concur. Renting a car is one of the best options if you want to play it by ear. We've rented a car in Juneau a few times and it's been a great experience.

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Thanks everyone!  We really want to maximize our time at Mendenhall with several hikes and the visitor center.  We will either taxi or look for the shuttle.  

 

Thanks for the tip of not to prepurchase our Mt. Roberts Tramway tickets, we will wait on the weather! 

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I second the idea of waiting to get the tram ticket once you're in town... it's a great view of the area on a clear day. Another cool place with a great view on a clear day is the Glacier Gardens. We did it on an icky, rainy day and still enjoyed the trip on the tram up the mountain to the lookout.  http://www.glaciergardens.com/

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