This is a half day hike which is easily accessed from the city of Juneau whether you are visiting on a cruise for a day or spending time in Juneau. From the top of the tram, the hike gains about 1,916’ while hiking over 2 miles or you can hike to the top of the tram adding a 2-3 miles and 1,750’ from the port via the Mt Roberts trail which starts at the edge of town. Much of the year you will likely encounter snow in the upper sections so summer is the best time to hike up. While I did the climb in running shoes, waterproof boots would be a better option since you may be crossing some snow patches.
This mountain can be climbed from downtown Juneau and is reached by the Mt Roberts trail that starts at the top of 6th street and goes up to the top of the Mt Roberts tram.(Note: as of June 2017 this part of the trail is no longer being maintained, however it was still in very good condition. The main trailhead is now reached by hiking NW up Basin Road via Gold Street and heading up to your right after passing around the base of the ridgeline where Basin Road heads east) From the tram station, continue up in the direction of the tram around the right side of the Mt Roberts Nature Center where a well used trail heads up the mountain. The peak is about 1,866’ above the top of the tram. If one continues beyond Gastineau Peak another 1.1 miles, the summit of Mt Roberts can be reached. The first time I was there, in 2009, the mountains were in a heavy cloud cover and not being able to see Mt Roberts, I opted to turn back rather than face the prospect of getting lost without visual bearings, compass or GPS.
The climb only required 4 hours at a good pace with a ride down the Tram at the conclusion. While one can ride the tram up and back to save some 1,800’ elevation in each direction, the cost is about $35. A one way ride down can be purchased for the expenditure of $5 ($10 as of June 2017) in the gift shop/restaurant at the top. A third option is to just join in with the many visitors heading down since the tram operators do not seem overly concerned with checking for tickets.
The tram operates May – September; M-F 8 am – 9 pm and S-S 9am – 9 pm; Roundtrip fare in 2009 was $27.(June 2017 rate is $33)