Berners Peak is a rarely visited off trail mountain. Accessing the mountain requires a boat (kayak or motorized), route finding, and the summit has 3rd class scramble. From the summit (if you climb on a clear day) you can easily see onto the Gilky Glacier, look down on Antler Lake, and to the Fairweather Range. Depending on the time of year, bears activity can be a concern on the approach. If you're looking for something different, zero people, a boat ride, and a LONG day climb, this mountain is for you.
To access the route to Berners Peak from downtown Juneau, Drive out Glacier Hwy to Echo Cove boat launch. From there boat or kayak 6 miles North to the cove past Sawmill Creek.
The Berners Peak Standard Route starts by walking up the beach and plunging into thick woods 6 miles north of Echo Cove boat launch. From here continue generally East favoring a bit Northward until you hit a creek. Head uphill following the creek generally East. Eventually treeline is broken and the route steepens into a scramble up a valley to the pass at 4300' and continues North along the backside of the ridge. Turn to the the West and climb to the top of the ridge after some time on the Antler Lake side. Once on the ridge, generally follow it to the summit. Some 3rd class rock encountered, but nothing to serious.
See the route page for more details and for the map and Garmin .gpx files.
There is no red tape here, so please use LNT principles.
June is probably the best time to climb since it’s the sunniest summer month, though there tends to be more snow around. I personally prefer late summer when the most rock is exposed, but the approach will be very bushy. Early Spring ascents would be reasonable as well, though there will be avalanche danger on the highest slopes.
Permits are not needed to camp in the Tongass National Forest. Camping spots can probably be found in the basin near treeline in the summer months.