The Granite Creek Route starts on the Perseverance Trail. After about 3 miles from the trailhead, the Granite Creek trail branches off to the left/north. The Granite Creek Trail then climbs for more than two miles to Granite Creek Basin and continues off trail on Salmon Ridge to Observation Peak. As of 2017, trail maintenance is being done to improve the Granite Creek trail. Its looking GREAT!
Keep a lookout for hoary marmots, spruce grouse, and wild flowers. Avalanche danger may persist until late spring, and large snow banks may be present on the steep sections of this trail.
To access the trail Mount Juneau from downtown Juneau, you must first access the well known Perseverance Trail. To get there, take Gold Street to Basin Road and follow it to the end
The beginning of the route follows the heavily used Perseverance Trail. The trail originally accessed the Silverbow Mine which operated between 1885 and 1895 when the mill was destroyed by a snowslide. The mine reopened after 1900 and was used sporadically until 1921. The trail features old mining ruins, marmots, warblers, wild flowers, and views of Ebner falls. This trail is popular with bikers and joggers and is within easy walking distance of downtown. The Perseverance Trail follows a gentle grade on the north side of the valley. After a short while there is a view across the canyon to the Alaska Juneau Mine. In the area of Ebner Falls, which is worth a quick side trip, the trail to Mount Juneau branches left, continue another 2 miles till you see a sign for Granite Creek Trail.
Granite Creek trail is (as of 2017) being improved. Follow this trail into the basin and climb up the faint, but observable trail to the saddle of the ridge at the North end of the valley. From here head onto Salmon Ridge. Salmon Ridge does not have a defined path. There are numerous fault lines that cross the Salmon Ridge and it can be rather annoying to cross them all. Eventually the reddish crumbly rock ends in smooth granite before arriving at the South face of Observation Peak.
The South face of Observation is the Class 4 section of the route and starts on climbers right and snakes up the South face. eventually a bench is attained and it should be followed to the North-West. The route is faint, but observable when there is no snow. From here scramble up the granite to the summit. The climber has the option to retreat the same way back, or continue to Camp 17 by crossing Lemon Glacier.
See attached .gpx for an exact route or check out the Juneau Hikes and Summits CalTopo page.
Dress appropriately. The rains are very consistent and can easily penetrate through your gear. I recommend dressing in clothing that can get wet and still keep you warm- wool works great. Then, above tree line, change into dry clothes and rain gear. Waterproof boots are necessary and gators help keep your socks dry. Having a SPOT or InReach is a great idea. Bring extra dry/warm stuff.