The Juneau Ridge Route starts on the Perseverance Trail. After about a mile from the trailhead, the Mt. Juneau trail branches off to the left/north. The Mt. Juneau Trail then climbs rather steeply for more than two miles to the summit of Mt. Juneau. As of 2012 new switchbacks have been added, so the ascent isn't as steep as it once was. 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. The route immediately becomes more rugged once you are on the Mount Juneau Trail. The trail is pretty well maintained, but is very steep and has some tricky stream crossings. At first the trail winds through thick brush. After that the trail traverses a steep slope and crossed the creek at a waterfall. From here on the trail used to be very steep and climbed directly to the summit. In late summer 2012, however, Trail Mix (Juneau's trail building and maintenance organization) added a couple of long, gradual switchbacks to the section between that waterfall you cross and the summit, so the ascent is now easier and not as steep. Take in some Views from the summit!
From the summit of Mt. Juneau, follow the Juneau Ridge mostly East until you intersect Salmon Ridge heading to the north. Juneau Ridge has a fairly well defined trail, the Salmon Ridge does not have a defined path. There are numerous fault lines that cross 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.