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suralottie

Do you have any favorite Juneau and Skagway excursions you'd recommend?

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Hi-In less than 2 weeks we are headed on our first cruise! Do you have any nonship booked excursions you loved in Juneau or Skagway? We are looking into a whale watching tour in Juneau with either Harv and Marv or Jayleen. Not sure yet if we should go to the Mendenhall glacier as we plan on doing a glacier walk on the land portion of our trip. What were your experiences there? The leave is from 10am to 10pm so that gives us lots of time to explore Juneau and we would love to hear about your experiences.

 

We have a full day in Skagway as well (7am to 9pm) and were planning on hiking. Were there any trails you especially liked? We are in our 60's and early 70's but have hiking poles and are fine on moderate hikes. Other activities you loved? We are interested in nature, wildlife, history and culture. Like to hike and kayak. Thanks!! 

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In Skagway we have done a couple different variations on the trips to the Yukon Territory. I would recommend one of those. The different landscapes involved in the drive alone are worth the price of admission. 

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It's pricey, but I really enjoyed the bear watch out of Juneau. I forget HAL's specific name but you fly to an out island on a float plane and visit some spot where the bears have been spotted recently. It's about 3-4 hours onsite without bathroom facilities (so my wife opted out) and it took about 90 minutes for the bears to begin appearing but after that it was really fantastic.

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There is a national park site off the main street in Skagway that documents the history of women in Alaska's early days. Really enjoyed visiting.

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Thanks! We are going to check out the national park site. I think we are at our excursion limit-we booked four for our total trip and are now looking for more low key activities-walks, hikes, cultural, kayaking in a lake or river. We are going whale watching with Harv and Marv -but that is scheduled for 1:30 to 5. The Noordam docks from 10am to 10pm in Juneau-any other ideas for when we are not on the whale watch? Thanks again! 

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9 hours ago, suralottie said:

We have a full day in Skagway as well (7am to 9pm) and were planning on hiking. Were there any trails you especially liked? We are in our 60's and early 70's but have hiking poles and are fine on moderate hikes. Other activities you loved? We are interested in nature, wildlife, history and culture. Like to hike and kayak. Thanks!! 

 

We did the Dewey Lake hike last time we were there.  It was ok.  We turned around at Lower Dewey Lake because we got a late start and were running short on time.  Had we started right away in the morning, we probably would have made it to Upper Dewey which I'm told was much more scenic.  

 

Otherwise, we once did a White Pass Train and mountain bike tour that was really good.  We rode the train up and biked down the Klondike Hwy.  The bike company was called Sockeye Cycle.  I would do that tour again in a heartbeat.  

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Harv and Marv for whale watching. They are the best. Imo. Orcas and grays. A friend just got back from Alaska and she saw tons of whales and there was only 6 people on the boat. 

We have hiked in skagway. Google hikes near downtown and you will find where they are. We hiked to a lake. Very beautiful. Walking sticks will be very useful. 

I love Alaska. Enjoy your cruise. 

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Hi, 

 

In Juneau the Alaska State Museum is an easy walk from the docks and you can easily spend a couple of hours there. Another option is walking through town to the State Capitol Building and doing the self-guided tour. Then go across the street to the Juneau Douglas Museum. From there keep walking to Cope Park. We do a lot of exploring and walking in Juneau!

 

Karen

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We just got back in June from an Alaskan cruise, our first.  In Juneau, we were there for two different days.  One day we booked the Mendenhall Glacier explorer which took us to the MG Park and we walked around on our own and it was a beautiful day.  The second day we booked the whale watching from Cunard and that was a great day too.  After both of our excursions, we walked around the town to see the local sites.

 

In Skagway, we first thought about doing the train but after hearing about the hair-raising turns and such we decided on another experience.  Rather than book with Cunard we booked with Dyea Dave and his full day tour to Emerald Lake and boy what a great idea that was!  It was more in depth than cruise line tours and we got to stop where we wanted to plus we were on an 18 person van and only had 6 people!  They were very informative and accommodating.  They showed us the usual spots plus others that the cruise line did not.  It was the best full day tour at half the price!  They have great reviews and we were glad to try it.

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In Skagway we rented a jeep and did a self guided tour from the rental place.  They had an iPad with numbered tracks to play to listen to (the narrator is your tour guide) as you drove.  We drove all the way up to Lewes Lake, which is a little bit farther than Emerald Lake), stopping along the way, at our leisure, to take pictures.  We stopped at a suspension bridge for a snack and rest spot and Carcross for lunch.  The scenery is absolutely incredible and the narrated tour was perfect.  We could start and stop or replay the tracks as needed.  It was ideal and fun to rent a purple jeep for the day.

 

image.png.74ede47bc556b1622f23dc7f977f67c5.png 

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Juneau:  the Seaplane excursion that flies over 5 glaciers, lands on Taku River opposite Hole-in-the-wall Glacier, a delicious Salmon meal at historic Taku Lodge often including a visit by a bear to clean up the drippings from the outdoor grill, time for a short nature hike if interested, and a return flight to Juneau.  Simply a magnificent, memorable experience!

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One disadvantage with renting cars and/or jeeps -- the driver sees very little of the beautiful scenery.

 

Juneau -- definitely whale watching.

 

Skagway -- we have done the train ride a few times and loved it.  Nothing scary about it.

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We hiked Upper Dewey Lake on June 3. It was a steady climb - 3,000 vertical feet in 3 miles. I had read that we should plan for about 6 hours round trip but we did it in 5. It was a wonderful hike and my favorite of our Alaska hikes. It is a short walk to the trailhead from the ship where the trail system that includes the lower lakes and some other destinations begins, but if you have the whole day and energy head I'd say go for it! You have plenty of time. We are in our early 60's.

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Oh I wish we could do that upper Dewey Lake hike but I don't think we are in shape for it this year-we would try except for the time frame of having to be back on ship before it sails. We go slow-have back and knee issues-but have our hiking poles and are patient. If we take our time we get there :). Hopefully the fires will be out when we are on the land portion of our trip so we can do our more serious hiking without the time constraint. Good for you-glad you liked the hike!

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We used Harv and Marv for whale watching and the Mendenhall Glacier.  Well worth seeing the glacier!  Saw many whales and other wildlife. 

 

One of our favorite things to do was to walk around the towns and explore.  We also liked dining outdoors and trying the local clam chowders.

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Skagway: Helicopter landing on a glacier with a glacier hike. Spectacular.

 

Juneau: Photography tour that also included whale watching. I prefer photography tours when available because a) you learn some tricks for pictures (even my iphone) and b) it's small. We were in a boat with only 10 other people for the whale watch. Humpbacks bubble net feeding. 

 

I'll remember both trips forever. 

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A hearty second on Dyea Dave. I had one of the best tours of my life with him, and there were 6 of us in the van!! 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2019 at 2:02 PM, 1025cruise said:

Have you asked on the Alaska ports of call forum?

 

 

 

I  really enjoyed our tour to Mendenhall followed by a salmon bake lunch.  (salmon is one of my favorite meals).

  etc 

 

 

 

I thought the  Park Rangers at Mendenhall very interesting and willing to intearct with any tourists who had questions   etc.

 

 

 

image.png.f343877088f944035a6aae53cee4049a.png

 

 

 

sail.noordam@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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