Can you Drive to Juneau Alaska?

Despite being part of the Alaskan mainland, it is not possible to drive to Juneau as there are no road connections to the city. The terrain surrounding Juneau is extremely rugged, with numerous mountains and glaciers, which are impassable by vehicles. The closest a major road gets to Juneau is the Haines Highway, which is over 50 miles away.

Most visitors to Juneau choose to fly or take one of the ferry services that link the coastal communities in this part of Alaska. These ferry services carry passengers and vehicles, so bringing your vehicle to Juneau is possible, albeit with the aid of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service. Some visitors take the short ferry journey from Haines, the closest town on the main overland route, while others travel from Bellingham in Washington. 

Where is Juneau Located in Alaska?

Juneau, Alaska, is located in the state’s panhandle on the coast of the Inside Passage. It is situated on the Gastineau Channel, a narrow waterway that separates the city from Douglas Island. Juneau is Alaska’s state capital and one of the most remote state capitals in the United States. The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, with towering mountains and glaciers visible from many parts of town.

How to get to Juneau Alaska

Despite its relatively isolated location, there are several different options for traveling to Juneau.


It is not possible to drive all the way to Juneau from Alaska, Canada, or the Contiguous United States. The nearest major road to Juneau, Alaska, is the Haines Highway, over 50 miles away in Haines. However, there is no road connection between Haines and Juneau, so visitors must travel the rest of the way by boat or plane.


Alongside flying, taking a ferry is the most common way to reach Juneau. The city’s location makes it a popular port of call for both cruise ships and ferries alike. Juneau is well served by the Alaska Marine Highway System. The Southeast Alaska and Cross-Gulf routes stop at Juneau, making it one of the easier Alaskan destinations to reach. All ferry services arrive and depart from the Juneau ferry terminal (JNU) at Mile 13.5 Glacier Highway in Auke Bay.

The ferry service runs throughout the year, with the 13-strong fleet offering regular sailings. You must book ahead to get the best fares and ensure you reserve a place on the ferry. Sailings can get very busy during the summer and fill up well in advance. The best place to check sailing dates, fares, and availability is on the Alaska Marine Highway System website. Popular sailing routes include departures from Bellingham in Washington, Ketchikan, close to the Canadian border, and Haines, the closest road-accessible town to Juneau. 


You can fly to Juneau in Alaska by using Juneau International Airport. Located just a few miles north of downtown Juneau, it is the primary airport for the city and surrounding areas.

Several airlines offer regular service to Juneau from other parts of Alaska. Sitka, Haines, Hoonah, and Anchorage are particularly well connected with multiple daily flights. The airports also facilitate flights to Seattle in the Contiguous United States. There are occasional international flights between Juneau and destinations in Canada.

Wildflowers and mountains in the surrounding areas of Juneau
Juneau is surrounded by spectacular and beautiful scenery.

Best Things to see in Juneau Alaska

There’s a wealth of attractions and things to do in Juneau. While some of the activities are seasonal, there are still plenty of year-round attractions to enjoy.

Here are 10 of the best things to see and do in Juneau, Alaska:

  1. Mendenhall Glacier: This stunning glacier is a must-see attraction in Juneau. Visitors can hike, kayak, or take a scenic flight tour to get an up-close view of the glacier.

  2. Whale watching: Juneau is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales. Take a whale-watching tour to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

  3. Mount Roberts Tramway: Take a scenic ride up Mount Roberts on the tramway for breathtaking views of Juneau and the surrounding wilderness.

  4. Alaska State Museum: Learn about Alaska’s rich history and culture at this fascinating museum that features exhibits on Alaska’s native peoples, art, and natural history.

  5. Gastineau Channel: This beautiful waterway offers amazing views of the mountains and is a great place for a stroll or bike ride.

  6. Alaska Zipline Adventures: Get an adrenaline rush by ziplining through the Alaskan rainforest.

  7. Salmon fishing: Juneau is known for its salmon fishing, and visitors can charter a fishing boat to try catching salmon.

  8. Hiking: Juneau has miles of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness, including the Perseverance Trail and the Mount Roberts Trail.

  9. Alaska Brewing Company: Tour the award-winning brewery and sample some of their delicious Alaskan beers.

  10. Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure: Explore the beautiful botanical gardens and take a guided tour to learn about the local flora and fauna.

Best Time to Visit Juneau Alaska

With wildly fluctuating temperatures and conditions through the seasons, the best time to visit Juneau in Alaska largely depends on what activities you want to do and what kind of weather you prefer.

The summer months of June through August are the peak tourist season in Juneau, as the weather is at its most comfortable. Days are generally mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to low 70s Fahrenheit. This is also when most tours and outdoor activities are available, such as whale watching, hiking, fishing, and kayaking. However, as it is peak season, the prices for accommodations and tours are higher during this time of year. Popular attractions can also be more crowded.

To avoid the crowds and peak season pricing, consider visiting during spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the weather is still mild. Spring is a great time to witness the blossoming of wildflowers and the return of migrating birds, while fall offers the chance to see the stunning fall foliage and the annual salmon run.

One of the big attractions of visiting Juneau and Alaska is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. If you’re interested in seeing the Northern Lights, the best time to visit Juneau is during the winter months of December through February. Although temperatures can be cold, ranging from the low 20s to high 30s Fahrenheit, the clear, dark nights provide optimal viewing conditions for the Aurora Borealis.

In summary, the best time to visit Juneau, Alaska, depends on your preferences and interests. The summer months of June through August offer pleasant weather and a wide range of outdoor activities, while the winter months provide optimal viewing conditions for the Northern Lights. Spring and fall are also great times to visit, with mild weather and fewer crowds.

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