This is a 7-9 hour 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 3,950’ while hiking about 10 miles roundtrip or you can hike to the top of the tram adding about 3 1/2 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.
Waterproof boots are a good option since you may be crossing some snow patches.
This mountain can be climbed from downtown Juneau and is reached by the old 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, but after you cross Gastineau Peak the trail drops about 400’ to a saddle between it and Mt Roberts. If one continues beyond Gastineau Peak another 1 1/4 miles, the summit of Mt Roberts can be reached. Due to the loss of elevation after crossing Gastineau Peak, the elevation gain approaches 4,612’ Continuing on the ridge you will reach Sheep Mountain after another 1 1/4 miles approximately.
The climb from the ship to Sheep Mtn via the Basin Road trailhead required 7 1/2 hours at a good pace with no snow travel at the end of summer with a ride down the Tram at the conclusion. A word of caution…there are numerous trails across this area and it would be very easy to get lost if you encounter a typically cloudy day. Be sure to use a GPS and ample waypoints or take time to build ducks along the way as an aid for your return.
While one can ride the tram up and back to save some 1,750’ elevation in each direction, the cost is about $35. A one way ride down can be purchased for the expenditure of $10 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.