SAMPLING THE MARINE HIGHWAY

When planning our route to Alaska, we considered taking the Marine Highway, but in the end we decided driving was a better option for us given our budget and desire to set our own pace. Even so, we were curious about what were missing. When we found out Alyssa’s Uncle Don and his girlfriend Jane were in Juneau, we decided to take a detour there so we could get a small taste of the inside passage.

From the start, we saw that we had made the right choice. The views of the snow-covered mountains, glaciers and Brian's hair were amazing.

On the way, one of our wiper blades jumped ship, but we tracked him down and reassembled. This gave us an excuse to stop and appreciate the landscape.

EARLY ARRIVAL

When we arrived at the ferry terminal in Haines, we learned that the next ferry to Juneau wasn't for another 2 days. Our disappointment quickly turned to excitement when we realized we had that much more time to explore Haines.

We set up camp at glacier-fed Chilkoot Lake, which turned out to be a great spot for kayaking.

At this point in the summer it stayed light well into the night, so we hit the water at 10pm to relax and take in the scenery.

JUNEAU

After two days spent mostly in our kayak and hammocks, we headed to the ferry terminal to start the two and a half hour trip to Juneau. During the ride, we watched dolphins and birds play in the water and speculated on what we’d see when we arrived.

To keep the cost down, we left our rig, Red Zeppelin, behind in Haines and traveled by bike while in Juneau. 

We checked out popular spots, like the Mendenhall Glacier, but Don and Jane also took us to places off the beaten path, like the Herbert Glacier and a great beach for salmon berry picking. 

On our last night, Don and Jane prepared a feast of crab legs, salmon, and ice cream topped with the salmon berries we’d picked earlier that day. 

When we landed back in Haines, we rode to where we left our rig to continue the journey north.


FINAL THOUGHTS

We thought that Juneau was going to be the highlight, but Haines really surprised us. The drive from Haines Junction was beautiful, and once there we loved the small town, mountains, glaciers and lakes. Getting around was easy, we found everything we needed in town—groceries, gas, beer.

The people of Haines were especially hospitable! Piedad Storage let us store our rig for free during our time in Juneau and the ferry terminal attendant helped us save money on the fare by loading our bikes in the back of another riders truck bed!

While we were in Juneau the first days were sunny and warm, which Don assured us in not the norm. The later part of the trip was gray and rainy, so bring rain gear and get out there!

CAMPING

Chilkoot Lake $15
[59.33428, -135.56845]

HIKING

Herbert Glacier Trail
4.9 miles
[58.5247119, -134.795423]

Nugget Falls Trail
1 mile
[58.4178126, -134.545146]

KAYAKING

Chilkoot Lake
[59.35353, -135.6019]