Many cruise passengers arrive in Juneau hoping to savor Alaska's famed local seafood, particularly fresh wild salmon. There are five species of Pacific salmon: King; Sockeye; Coho; Chum and Pink. Local restaurants and lodges serve up these tasty treats, but there are a number of other options for getting your fill of wild Alaska salmon as well.
Here are five great ways to learn about and taste some of Alaska’s best salmon while visiting Juneau:
1. Learn at the Salmon Hatchery Located a little over two miles from downtown Juneau, the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery provides an excellent way for visitors to learn more about Alaska's salmon industry. The hatchery contains museum-like exhibits, displays, a huge saltwater aquarium, and a shop featuring delicious local salmon produce. During salmon spawning season typically spanning from late June through September, visitors have the chance to see wild salmon climbing the hatchery's outdoor ladder from Gastineau Channel. You might see bald eagles in this area during that time period as well.
2. See Salmon and Mendenhall Glacier. Located just 13 miles from the city’s downtown area, Mendenhall Glacier is Juneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This "drive in" glacier is magnificent and the site's Visitors Center offers an informative film, excellent exhibits and superb glacier viewing through its large windows. During your visit to Mendenhall Glacier, take the time to trek along the Moraine Ecology Trail to the Steep Creek Fish Viewing Site. This trail can be an excellent place to see salmon (and maybe even bears) during the salmon spawning season from early July through September. There’s also an underwater “fish cam” for viewing salmon here as well. While tours to Mendenhall Glacier are available through the cruise lines and are often combined with other sights, several local tour operators offer very inexpensive shuttle buses that transport cruise visitors directly to the glacier on a regular basis. Taxis are another good option, especially for larger groups.
3. Go Salmon Fishing If catching salmon is more to your liking, arrange to go sportfishing on one of Juneau's many Coast Guard licensed charter fishing boats. The Juneau CVB maintains a list of sportfishing tour operators on its website. Full and half-day excursions are available. An Alaska state fishing license is required and your catch can be conveniently shipped to your home by one of Juneau's fish processors.
4. Try a Tasty Salmon Bake There’s something special about wild Alaska salmon grilled over an alder wood fire. Sampling such a meal is a true Alaska experience. So while you’re in Juneau, head to a local salmon bake and try it out. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake is a popular Juneau attraction and it’s often included on tours to Mendenhall Glacier. Guests can wander along the rain forest creek and take pictures at the Salmon Creek waterfall before sitting down to their all-you-can-eat buffet meal of wild Alaska Salmon, chicken, baked beans, au gratin potatoes, and a variety of other sides and salads. Don’t miss roasting marshmallows over the campfire and the blueberry cake for dessert.
5. Get Some Air – And Salmon, Too. Take a flightseeing tour from downtown Juneau and sample some of the best salmon Alaska has to offer. Guests on this excursion take a 35-minute Wings Airways flightseeing trip on their way to serene Taku Glacier Lodge, located across from a massive glacier in a remote area of the Tongass National Forest. On the way, passengers fly over five huge glaciers flowing out from the Juneau Icefield. After landing on the water in front of Taku Glacier Lodge, there’s time to explore the lodge’s beautiful grounds or do a little shopping before sitting down to partake of an outstanding salmon feast complete with all the fixings. After lunch and the opportunity for a nature walk, a scenic 15-minute return floatplane trip brings guests back to Juneau.
If You Go:
For more information about making the most of your visit to Juneau, visit the Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.traveljuneau.com