Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Picture yourself a short drive away from the state capital, trees at your back, and in front of you, across an iceberg-dotted lake, an enormous ice field flowing down the valley in a glacier that ends at lake's edge. Welcome to the Mendenhall Glacier, 13 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska. If you've taken the paved trail to a glacier overlook, you can glance to your right and see the visitor center, set in a cliff above the valley floor. The huge windows that make up the curving wall of the center offer an uninterrupted view of the glacier.The center was built in 1962, the first visitor center in the National Forest System. The original structure was primarily a large observatory where people could get out of the rain and look at the glacier. It was designed to accommodate 23,000 people a year. Over the years a few exhibits were added. Thirty-five years after it first opened, the center was hosting over 250,000 people a year. Between 1997 and 1999 the building was renovated and enlarged to include an exhibit gallery and theater.
Located in Juneau, Alaska's capital city, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center overlooks the Mendenhall Valley. Visitors may reach the visitor center by city bus, taxi, tour bus or rental car. The city bus drops visitors a mile and a half from the visitor center. Those choosing to walk should be prepared for changing weather conditions.From downtown: 12 miles. Take Egan Drive and turn right at Mendenhall Loop Road. Mendenhall Loop Road turns into Glacier Spur Road and ends at the visitor center. From the Juneau International Airport: 5 miles. Turn left onto Glacier Highway. After a quarter mile, the road will curve right and become Mendenhall Loop Road. Follow this road across Egan Drive. Mendenhall Loop Road eventually turns into Glacier Spur Road and ends at the Visitor Center.From the Alaska State Ferry Terminal: 7 miles. Turn right onto Glacier Highway. After a mile and a half, the road splits at Auke Bay. Turn left onto Mendenhall Loop Road. After four miles, it will intersect Glacier Spur Road.www.hobogrill.org