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Joining Juneau's hiking frenzy.

Joining Juneau's hiking frenzy On long summer days, the citizens of Juneau take to the trails with an enthusiasm that borders on the fanatic. No wonder. Within minutes of downtown, paths lead through fern-carpeted forests of Sitka spruce. Marmots whistle, eagles soar, and mountaintop views put you on the roof of the world.

If you're visiting Alaska's capital, set aside some time to sample the trails. Probably no city in the country has so much psectacular hiking so close at hand.

Mountain Hikes: one easy, one tough

One fairly easy climb takes you up 2,500 feet on the Mount Roberts Trail. Walk or drive (parking's tight) to the trailhead at the northeast end of Sixth Street. Climb the stairs and continue 3/4 mile to an observation point, or 2-1/4 miles more to another view point market with a wooden cross.

More strenuous is the 5.2-mile hike up and down 3,337-foot Mount Bradley (often called Mount Jumbo by locals). A muddy trail turns to boardwalk, leading you over a muskeg peat bog, then climbing to show you ptarmigan waddling among wildflowers and, at the summit, 360[degrees] views. From Juneau, take Douglas Bridge across Gastineau Channel; go right on E STreet, then left on Fifth Street to the trailhead, in the 300 block.

Cautions, guided hikes, guidebooks

Brown and black bears occasionally roam here; many hikers carry bells or whistles to make their presence known. Juneau gets an average of 92 inches of rain a year. Carry rain gear and prepare for slick, muddy trails. If you do slip on a trail, watch out for the aptly named devil's club; the plant's spine-ridden stalks look like the perfect means of steadying yourself--a mistake you won't repeat.

From now until October, the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department runs an excellent program of guided hikes. These begin around 9 A.M. on Wednesdays and Saturdays and go for much of the day. Wednesday hikes are for adults only; Saturday hikes allow children with adults.

To sign up, or to get a schedule, visit or call the department at the Marine View Building, 155 S. Seward Avenue, open 8 to 4:30 weekdays; (907) 586-5226.

Alaska Up Close offers nature tours that can include hiking. Half-day tours cost $49. Write or call Alaska Up Close, Box 32666, Juneau 99803; 789-9544.

We found two trail guides useful. Mary Lou King's Ninety Short Walks Around Juneau (Taku Conservation Society, Juneau, 1989; $4.95) and the U.S. Forest Service's Juneau Trails (ANHA, Juneau, 1986; $2) are sold at Juneau outdoor stores and at the Forest Service Information Center, Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive, open 8 to 5 weekdays. The center is also a good place to get current trail information
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Publication:Sunset
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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