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Best Time to Visit Juneau

Are you looking for a vacation destination where you can explore the outdoors and discover cultural sites? Look no further than beautiful Juneau, Alaska. There are stunning glaciers, lush forests, and plenty of wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature and get away from it all. But when is the best time to visit Juneau?

View of Juneau from above on a sunny summer day

Generally, the best time to visit Juneau is during the summer months. In the summer season, you'll experience the best weather and have the opportunity to attend a range of local events. But there are many things to consider when picking your travel dates. Fortunately, we've done all the research for you. At Canadian Train Vacations, we help travellers plan their vacations to Canada. Alaska cruises are an easy add-on to many of our Rocky Mountain train trips. Here is our comprehensive guide on the best time to visit Juneau, Alaska.

This guide will explore the best time of the year to visit Juneau, Alaska, and the reasons why. From the bright sunny days of summer to the cold, snowy days of winter, we'll break down everything you need to know about Juneau. After reading this, you'll be able to plan the perfect trip.

The city has lively cultural events and festivals throughout the year. From the popular Alaska Folk Festival (1) to the Juneau Jazz and Classics (2), there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in Juneau during your stay.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, our curated content will help you make the most of your time in this incredible destination. So, let's dive in and discover the best time to visit Juneau.

#1 Travel tip: Alaska cruises

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Discover remote islands and glacier-carved fjords as you sail between Juneau and Sitka on a small expedition-style ship. The best time for an Alaska cruise is May to September.

Katherine Foxcroft
Product Manager, Tours and Vacations

Discover the Best Time to Visit Juneau

Juneau city next to the water with mountain behind

Juneau is the capital city of Alaska and has an approximate population of 31,685 people (2022). It is located in the panhandle of Alaska, on the Gastineau Channel. Juneau is an important port and the gateway to many of Alaska's attractions, including the Mendenhall Glacier and the Alaska State Capitol. It is also known for its native culture and Gold Rush history, with many buildings and landmarks dating back to the 1800s.

The best time to visit is during the summer months. The summer months in Juneau are from May to September, and the temperatures range from highs of 60 degrees Fahrenheit to lows of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is peak tourist season and the most popular time to visit the city. During this time, the days are longer, with around 18 hours of daylight in June and July. Visitors can take advantage of the extended days and explore more of the city and surrounding areas.

Most of Juneau's attractions and activities are open year-round. Opening times might vary. For example, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center has shorter opening hours in the winter and longer opening hours in the summer. The best time to visit the glacier is during the day when the sun is shining, and the views are the most spectacular.

The average time spent in Juneau is around 2-4 days. The length of stay depends on your interests and the activities you want to experience. Our Essential Rockies with Alaska Cruise trip ends in Juneau, so you could extend your time here after the cruise.

The city's popularity has been increasing in recent years, with around 1.3 million visitors in 2019. Overall, Juneau is a destination that should not be missed, and with its diverse range of activities and attractions, it's a great place to visit year-round. 

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Summer Weather in Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is particularly beautiful in the summer months. From June to August, enjoy warm temperatures, long daylight hours, and outdoor activities.

  • One of the must-see attractions during the summer is the Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long glacier located 12 miles from downtown Juneau. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and a must-see for visitors to Juneau. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is open year-round and allows visitors to view the glacier and learn about the landscape. The best way to get to the glacier is by car. It takes approximately 15 minutes to drive from downtown Juneau to the glacier. There is also a public bus route that takes visitors to the glacier.  The best time to visit the glacier is in the morning when the sun is just beginning to rise. This is the best time to get a clear view of the glacier and take pictures without many people around. Exploring the glacier and the walking trails usually takes about two hours. The Mendenhall Glacier is a hugely popular tourist attraction, with over 700,000 visitors each year. It is one of the most visited glaciers in the world and is a must-see for anyone visiting Juneau in the summer months.
  • Fishing is a popular summer activity in Juneau, with salmon being the main catch. Visitors can book a guided fishing tour or try their hand at fishing from the shore.
  • Nature lovers can take a short boat ride to the nearby Taku Glacier Lodge, where they can see the Taku Glacier, take a floatplane over the ice field, go bear viewing and fishing.
  • Hikers can explore the many trails in the surrounding Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. The forest is home to various wildlife, including black bears, wolves, and eagles. It covers 16.7 million acres of pristine wilderness. The forest is open 24 hours a day and there are no fees for visiting. It typically takes about three to four hours to explore the trails. The popularity of the Tongass National Forest continues to grow as more and more people become aware of its beauty.
  • Looking for a more relaxing activity? Juneau has a variety of cultural and historical sites to visit, such as the Alaska State Capitol building, the Governor's mansion, and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Summers in Juneau offer a range of outdoor activities, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. It's a perfect destination for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Mendenhall Glacier and snow-capped mountains

Winter Weather in Juneau, Alaska

Juneau may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a winter vacation. If you enjoy winter activities, then winter may be the best time to visit Juneau, Alaska. From November to April, visitors can expect cold temperatures, snow, and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.

  • One of the must-do activities in the winter is dog sledding. Visitors can take a tour with a dog sledding company and experience the thrill of mushing through the snow-covered wilderness.
  • Another popular winter activity is skiing or snowboarding at the Eaglecrest Ski Area. The ski area offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.
  • For those who prefer a more leisurely winter activity, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also popular options in the surrounding Tongass National Forest. Visitors can take a tour to see the Mendenhall Glacier, which is a beautiful sight in the winter.
  • Winter is a great time to see the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Visitors can book a tour to see the lights. The Northern Lights are a spectacular sight and a must-see for any visitor to Juneau. They can be seen from late September through mid-April and are best viewed between 10 pm and 2 am.
  • The Northern Lights are most visible on clear nights with little to no moonlight, so it’s best to check the forecast before heading out. You can book a tour to see them.
  • There are a variety of indoor activities for those looking to escape the cold. Visit the Alaska State Museum, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, and the Sealaska Heritage Institute to learn about the history and culture of the area.

So, don’t let the winter weather keep you from exploring Juneau. With its incredible outdoor activities, cultural events, and cozy accommodation options, you’ll have the perfect winter getaway. Experience the beauty and excitement of an Alaskan winter.

Downtown Juneau covered in snow

Beyond Summer and Winter: the seasons of Juneau the rest of the year

Alaska is a land of extremes, with some of the most intense temperatures and conditions on Earth. While many travelers associate Alaska with only summer and winter, there is much more to explore in the Great Land. From the short but vibrant fall and spring to the extended days of the midnight sun, Alaska offers a range of distinct and diverse seasons to explore.

  • Fall (September-October) in Juneau is marked by changing colors and cooler temperatures. It’s the perfect time to explore the state’s vast forests and take in the views of the changing colors. The crisp air is a reminder of the winter to come, but it’s a wonderful time to enjoy outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and hiking.
  • Winter (November-April) in Juneau is cold, but the snow and frozen landscapes create a beautiful Juneau in winter. Along with the famous aurora borealis, this is the perfect time for wildlife watching and winter sports. Ski resorts open up around the state, and snowmobiling, dog sledding, and snowshoeing are all popular activities.
  • Spring (May-June) is the best time of year to visit Juneau, Alaska, as the weather begins warming up and the wildflowers bloom. It is a time of transition. The snow begins to melt, the days are longer, and the arrival of new creatures signifies the beginning of a new season. It is also the time when bears emerge from hibernation, making it a great time for bear viewing.
  • Summer (July-August) is a time of long days and abundant wildlife. From fishing and kayaking to hiking in the state’s national parks, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy in the Juneau Alaska summer. The midnight sun is a phenomenon you won't experience in many places, and the midnight sun parties are fun events.

What month is the best to go to Juneau, Alaska? July is the best month to go to Juneau. But no matter the season, Alaska offers various activities and experiences for visitors to discover. From its rugged wilderness and stunning natural beauty to its unique culture and rich history, there's something for everyone in Alaska at all times.

Boats docked in Juneau with trees in the background

#2 Travel tip: Search for whales

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Between April and November, hundreds of humpback whales visit the northern Inside Passage, making it an excellent time for whale watching near Juneau. Look for orcas, too.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Juneau, Alaska

Are you planning a trip to Juneau, Alaska? If so, you’re in for an unforgettable adventure! Juneau is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, offering stunning views of glaciers, mountains, and wildlife. Before you book your trip, there are a few things you need to know.

  • Juneau is only accessible by boat or plane. Flying into the city's airport and using the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system are the two main ways to reach the city. Juneau International Airport is the main airport serving the city, and it has regular flights to and from major cities in Alaska and the Lower 48 states. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system is another way to reach Juneau, and it provides a unique way to explore the Inside Passage and the Alaska coastline.
  • Juneau is home to the Mendenhall Glacier, a must-see attraction for visitors. Visitors can hike to the glacier or even ice-skating on the glacier's surface.
  • The Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States, surrounds Juneau and offers a variety of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Juneau offers a variety of cultural and historical sites to visit, such as the Alaska State Capitol building, the Governor's mansion, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
  • Juneau is also an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and even bear and whale watching.
  • Be prepared for any type of weather since the weather in Juneau can be unpredictable. Pack warm layers, rain gear, and good walking shoes.

Finally, it is important to know the bear safety guidelines when exploring the wilderness. Always carry bear spray, make noise while hiking, and be aware of your surroundings.
By keeping these things in mind, you'll be well-prepared for your trip to Juneau and able to make the most of your time in this beautiful and best time to visit Juneau AK.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do you need in Juneau?

It depends on what you want to do and see during your visit. Generally, two to three days in Juneau is enough time to explore the city and visit the local attractions. However, if you plan to include a day trip to nearby areas such as Glacier Bay National Park or the Mendenhall Glacier, you may want to plan for four or more days.

Is Juneau worth visiting?

Absolutely! Juneau is an amazing city with plenty to offer. It has a vibrant culture, stunning scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers. From whale watching and glacier trekking to exploring historic downtown, there is something for everyone in Juneau.

What is the warmest month in Juneau, Alaska?

July is the warmest month in Juneau, Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from a high of 65°F (18°C) to a low of 51°F (10°C).

What is the rainiest month in Juneau, Alaska?

October is the rainiest month in Juneau, Alaska, with an average of 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) of rainfall.

About the author: Hannah Poaros-McDermott is the Senior Content Coordinator at Fresh Tracks Canada. She has previously written for and shared her local knowledge in Where Vancouver, Where Whistler, and Essential Vancouver magazines. Originally from the UK, Hannah travelled... Read more

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