Sheep Mountain 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. It can be hiked as an out-and-back, or as part of the Clark Traverse.
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.
Sheep Mountain can be climbed from the Mt. Roberts Trail off Basin Road. The trailhead is on the right side of the road right before the seasonal yellow gate. The old way of getting to Mt. Roberts trail from downtown Juneau is from the top of 6th street. (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 follow the Clark Traverse .gpx file.
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.
The standard route to the summit of Sheep Mounatin leaves from the Mt. Roberts Trailhead on Basin Road. The trail climbs steeply up a very well maintained trail for 1,750' untill the Mt. Roberts Tram is intersected. From here , continue uphill on either trail (therer is a fork in the trail, but both get you to the right place) and make your way to the saddle between Gold Ridge and Gastineau Peak. From here, follow the ridge to the summit of Gastineau, then Roberts, and eventually Sheep. This can be done as an out-and-back or as part of the Clark Traverse. See the Clark Traverse Route page for a detailed description of the route.
There is no red tape involved to climb this mountain
June-September as weather permits. It is an excelent winter hike and backcountry skiing location as well.
Permits are not needed to camp.