Mountain Biking Destination: Juneau, Alaska

Intermediate and Advanced Mountain Bike Trails in Juneau, Alaska

Mountain Biking the Perseverance Trail, Juneau, Alaska
Mountain Biking the Perseverance Trail, Juneau, AK. ©Justin Kline

There are plenty of hidden mountain biking trails in Juneau, Alaska. You just have to know where to find them.

That's where we come in.

Here are a few of the best rides we discovered when visiting The Last Frontier's capital city. 

Intermediate Level Rides

Herbert Glacier Trail: Flat and fast, you can really move on the Herbert Glacier Trail if you want to. Mud holes, tight edges and rocky sections do exist, and hilly singletrack makes up the last quarter mile, making the compacted gravel trail anything but mindless.

A mountain or hybrid bike would be best-suited for the terrain. As you pedal, note the gradual foliage transformation as you make your way closer to the 4.6 mile mark. A magnificent glacial headwall lets you know you’ve come to the end of the trail. The Herbert Glacier Trail is a local favorite, and you’d be hard pressed to find any cruise ship traffic here. Access the trail at mile 27.6 Glacier Highway. (4.6 miles, 300 foot elevation gain)

Eaglecrest Lower Cross Country Loop: This winter cross country ski favorite offers a hardened trail perfect for bikes in the summer. Pedal through the forest to a meadow with beautiful mountain views. Include both the inner and outer track of the meadow loop to cover additional ground. Enter the trail from the parking lot near the ski lodge. (2 miles, minimal elevation gain)

Advanced Level Rides

Perseverance Trail / Red Mill Spur Trail: This scenic, well-used and historically-significant trail starts off with a quarter-mile fire road ascent.

Continue up the trail, which is marked with a sign that denotes you are, in fact, traveling along Alaska’s first road. The initial climbing is steep, but flattens out to a gradual incline over time. Pedal past Mount Juneau through Gold Creek Basin, the old Perseverance Mine site. Plenty of waterfalls, mining ruins and viewpoints dot the trail.

Keep your eye out for mountain goats and black bears. To include the Red Mill Spur Trail (.4 miles, 200 foot elevation gain), take a right after the first major bridge. Rocky, slippery, steep singletrack will keep even the most seasoned mountain biker on his toes. End at the lip of the AJ Glory Hole chasm (the history highlight of the trail). Access at the end of Basin Road. (3.5 mile length, 700 foot elevation gain)

Treadwell Ditch Trail: The trail begins with a moderate climb through meadows of green grasses, puddle ponds, skunk cabbage and bull pines. Eventually, the terrain will become mountainous as the trail climbs, with Sitka spruce replacing the pines and dirt replacing shale underneath your tires. The historic ditch (a singletrack footpath) was built by miners at the turn of the 20th century and parallels a 100 year old rail cart trail that extends north 12 miles to Fish Creek. However, the entire trail is not maintained. Access to the trail is behind House #1005 on 5th Street in Douglas. (3.5 miles, 500 foot elevation gain)

East Glacier Trail: Warning signs for bear activity greet mountain bikers at the the trailhead, so stay alert and react appropriately if you come into contact with one.

Gradually climbing singletrack makes its way into the forest where you will be treated to several bridged stream crossings. When you hit approximately the one-mile mark, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Mendenhall Glacier—this trail has you up close and personal with the dazzling ice formation. Switchbacks and a set of steps keep the East Glacier Trail challenging. Note that this is a popular trail with tourists and wildlife alike, so keep an eye out for other trail users of the human and bear/porcupine/mink/marten variety. You can ride simply the straightaways, ending at the Great White Throne overlook or add the Dredge Lake Trail. Access is near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (3.5 miles 700 foot elevation gain)

Eaglecrest Road to Mountaintop: Ride the mountain access road up to the top of the Black Bear chair lift.

Approximately half way up, take the side road to the Eagle’s Nest at the top of the Ptarmigan chair lift for a beautiful view of Cropley Lake. Along the way, gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and alpine landscape abound. Access is near the ski lodge. (2 miles, 1,400 foot elevation gain)

* Remember, whenever you wander into the woods on your mountain bike, you must be self sufficient. Don't rely on anyone besides yourself to get you out of a sticky situation--bring the necessary supplies to make your outing both safe and enjoyable.

Looking for something a bit tamer? Check out these "easy" rated bike trails in Juneau.