Up Gold Creek
Some of the finest hiking around Juneau is found in the old gold mining areas up beyond the end of Basin Road, a pleasant half-hour walk from town. The area is amazingly quiet and scenic, particularly given its proximity to hectic downtown Juneau. You’ll hear birds singing, see waterfalls, and feel the land enveloping you. One could easily spend several days exploring this scenic area.
In Last Chance Basin, 1.5 miles up Basin Road, are the fascinating remains of the AJ Mine. A number of paths lead around the compressor building (which houses the Last Chance Mining Museum), a locomotive repair shop, and a variety of remains from the heyday of gold mining. For more details of the area, pick up the Last Chance Basin Walking Tour brochure from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum (4th St. and Main St.).
Perseverance Trail leads past Last Chance Basin to Silverbow Basin, site of the Perseverance Mine, three miles away. The Mt. Juneau Trail branches off from Perseverance Trail 0.5 miles up. It’s very steep and only suitable for experienced hikers, but offers unparalleled vistas across Gastineau Channel. Plan on seven hours round-trip. Directly across from the Mt. Juneau trailhead is a short path down to Ebner Falls. Continue another mile out on Perseverance Trail to the Granite Creek Trail (1.5 miles each way), which follows the creek up past several waterfalls into the alpine area.
Just before Silverbow Basin, yet another side trail leads right to the Glory Hole, which is connected to the AJ Mine by a tunnel. Old mining ruins are at the end of the trail, but signs warn of potential hazards from toxic tailings at the mine site.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition