Embrace the Edge: Extreme Sports and Activities in Juneau

04 December, 2023

Juneau is an outdoor wonderland with plenty of ways to get your adrenaline pumping. If you enjoy extreme sports or activities that put you on the edge of your seat, you’ll want to experience Juneau.

Some think of Juneau as a quiet, peaceful town. And while downtown certainly has plenty of ways to slow down and enjoy learning about the culture and state history, you’ll also find many opportunities to test your personal limits.

Extreme Sports and Activities in Juneau

Review these ways to explore the more extreme side of Juneau through tours and excursions.

1. Mountain Biking

With so much untouched terrain, Juneau is thrilling for mountain biking. These natural trails won’t be anything like what you find in other areas of the country where trails are manicured and carefully cared for. These are wide open spaces where you should expect to need to stop or slow down due to tree branches or wildlife interruptions.

If you can’t bring your bike with you, know that you can rent bikes once you arrive. Before going out, review maps carefully. Many trails are close to downtown Juneau, making it easy to get there from bike rental locations.

Review the best mountain biking trails in Juneau and check out photos and reviews from past riders who share their experiences and provide insights as to who the trails are for based on ability levels.

2. Skiing and Snowboarding

If you enjoy winter sports, Juneau is a must-visit city. Eaglecrest Ski Resort provides fresh powder from December through April. You’ll find both downhill skiing as well as cross-country skiing options on the Nordic trails.

The mountainside only has four chair lifts, which provides a more authentic mountain skiing experience because as you look out at the terrain, you won’t see major signs of commercialism.

These trails are also a bit more extreme because they are more natural than other ski resorts. While there’s still a maintenance team that oversees the resort and its slopes, the snow tends to be fresh instead of man-made, which creates a more unique experience. And because the resort is a mountainside, you also have to know a little more about staying safe on more advanced trails.

3. Ice Trekking

Ice fields cover a great deal of Juneau’s wilderness. You can go on an ice trek to enjoy a unique hiking experience. Juneau features many glacier hike excursions to help you customize your trip to meet your adventure-seeking needs. 

Some excursions feature a helicopter ride to help you reach the glacier as most icefields are not accessible without taking to the skies. That way, you can enjoy the awe and wonder of Juneau from the skies as you enjoy the helicopter portion of the tour and then take the trek across the ice field.

It’s best to explore ice fields with a skilled and knowledgeable guide as the area can be treacherous if you don’t know where you are and what you’re doing. You’ll be exploring changing glaciers where terrain is unpredictable. You’ll also get to see deep crevasses and frozen rivers on most tours.

These tours are somewhat extreme and require a strong fitness level. But they are also a great way to see unique views of Juneau, so come prepared with plenty of space on your phone or camera to capture the moments. 

Many tours pick up from the cruise docks to make it simple for tourists staying at local hotels or just arriving from the cruises.


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4. Ziplining

Move through the rainforest at a fast speed as you enjoy the wide-open spaces in Juneau. Tours go through Tongass National Forest and take you over the treetops. Many tours offer the chance to pause and take photos on various platforms along the way. You’ll also get all the necessary equipment for the experience.

While you’ll have safety equipment and undergo a safety meeting before you start your adventure, it will still get your adrenaline pumping.

Some tours also include rustic axe throwing or other adventure sports. As most excursions do in Juneau, the tours move forward in all types of weather conditions. So pack your bags wisely with water-repelling layers and insulating layers to stay comfortable.

5. Jet Ski

Dangerous Water Adventures puts you on a jet ski with endurance rider Steven Moll who has circled the planet with other jet ski mariners. His adventures include a trip from Seattle to Juneau by way of a jet ski. It’s a 1,500-mile ride that will put you close to incredible wildlife, including bears, orcas, humpback whales and more.  

Extreme Sports and Activities in Juneau

These extreme tours offer everything you need to complete the trek, including lodging, a mechanic, a wildlife naturalist and a guide. At first glance, an experience on a jet ski might not seem all that extreme. But as you dive deeper into what’s included, you’ll start to see what makes this experience so extreme.

6. Canoeing and Kayaking

For many people, a day in a canoe is a relaxing adventure instead of a thrill-seeking experience. But when. If you hop in a canoe alongside whales or other marine life, it can suddenly become much more adrenaline-filled.

Many kayaking and canoeing experiences get you close to nature in a unique way. Some tours take you to salmon runs where bears feed and other animals come to play and explore as well. 

There are plenty of kayaking or canoeing adventures that will take you to safe, calm waters where you won’t have to worry about adrenaline activities. But others get you close and personal to wildlife and their wild natural habitats.

Staying Safe During Extreme Activities in Juneau

While Juneau is a great place to visit for extreme sports and activities, you should also play it smart and safe. 

It’s best to go on guided tours when you are unfamiliar with the area and terrain. While that can take some of the thrill out of it, it’s safer and smarter to engage in these activities with the right gear and local know-how.

When hiking or mountain biking, always stay on marked trails. This will make it easier to find your way back when you are done and avoid getting caught in the wilderness after dark. 

Travel with another person and always carry water and a snack in case you end up being gone longer than you think you will. 

Never approach animals in their natural habitat. While you might want a close-up photo or Instagram-worthy moment, it isn’t worth the risk. These animals are wild and not in a resort or other safe setting where they’ve been trained to interact with tourists. Keep your distance and know what to do if you encounter a bear or other dangerous creature.

Where to Stay for Fast Access to Extreme Sports in Juneau

An airport hotel puts you closer to hiking and mountain biking trails than a downtown hotel does. That way, you can get to adventuring faster and easier. Frontier Suites offers a full kitchen in every room to help you get the nutrition you need when you’re engaging in extreme sports or adventures. When you’re ready to relax after a day of adventure, Frontier Suites offers quiet enjoyment with an on-site hotel when you’re too tired to cook in your room. Book your stay now to start planning your trip.  

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