Exploring The Tongass National Forest In Juneau

by | Apr 12, 2023

Exploring The Tongass National Forest In Juneau

The Tongass National Forest is a majestic and pristine natural treasure located in Juneau, Alaska. It is the largest national forest in the United States, covering nearly 17 million acres of land and thousands of miles of shoreline. For decades, visitors have been drawn to this remote corner of the country for its unspoiled beauty and countless outdoor opportunities. From lush rainforests full of wildlife to snow-capped mountains with breathtaking views, there’s something here for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore all that the Tongass has to offer in Juneau during the summer season.

Juneau offers an abundance of activities year-round but it really comes alive during the summer months when days are longer and temperatures warmer. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adrenaline-filled adventure, you can find it among the towering trees and rolling hills of this magnificent landscape. With so much to do throughout the region from fishing to kayaking to hiking, you won’t be able to fit everything into one trip!

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out exploring nature, come discover why so many people have fallen in love with the Tongass National Forest in Juneau! You could spend weeks uncovering all its hidden gems – but these three will give you a taste of what makes this place so special. Read on as we take a closer look at some of our favorite spots within this stunning wilderness area!

Overview Of The Tongass National Forest

They say that Juneau is the place where nature still reigns supreme. Located in Southeast Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is an extraordinary destination for visitors looking to explore miles of untouched wilderness. The largest national forest in the United States, this 17 million-acre area is known for its rugged coastlines and towering ancient trees.

The Tongass offers countless opportunities for recreational activities such as camping, boating, fishing, hiking, berry picking, and bear watching. With over 9 thousand islands along its shoreline and more than 5 thousand miles of rivers and streams, it’s no wonder why one can easily get lost within these wild lands. Ancient glaciers have carved out vast valleys while lush rainforests thrive under a canopy of old-growth cedar and hemlock trees.

A visit to the Tongass will provide unparalleled views into unspoiled ecosystems that are teeming with wildlife including brown bears, mountain goats, and bald eagles. Whether you’re looking to relax by the sea or embark on an adventure through our magnificent forests, there are plenty of ways to experience all that the Tongass has to offer. Taking a trip here promises beautiful landscapes, unique experiences, and lasting memories – so don’t miss your chance! Moving on now from overviewing this incredible site to exploring its location and size…

Location And Size

The Tongass National Forest, located in the southeastern corner of Alaska, is the largest national forest in the United States. Covering an area of 17 million acres, it’s larger than all of West Virginia and more than half of California. It covers most of Southeast Alaska, from Yakutat to just south of Ketchikan.

This immense expanse of land includes mountain ranges such as the Chilkat Range and Stikine Ranges, with some peaks reaching 8500 feet above sea level. The temperate rainforest that blankets much of this area is home to a variety of wildlife including bald eagles, grizzly bears, and salmon. There are vast old-growth forests that contain trees that can be over 800 years old!

A visit to the Tongass would be incomplete without taking into account its unique features:

  •  A diverse array of habitats ranging from coastal islands to alpine tundra
  •  An abundance of recreational activities like fishing and kayaking
  • Over 1,100 miles of trails for hikers and backcountry camping enthusiasts alike

It truly is one-of-a-kind. As well as being a stunning natural wonderland, the Tongass also holds cultural significance for many Native Alaskan tribes who have lived off its bounty for generations. With so much to explore within its boundaries, it’s no surprise that visitors flock here year after year. Now let us take a closer look at accessibility to the Tongass National Forest.

Accessibility To The Tongass National Forest

The Tongass National Forest is like a secret garden, tucked away in the depths of Juneau’s wilderness. Its vastness and beauty are awe-inspiring; but only if you know how to access it. For those who wish to explore this magical place, there are several ways to do so.

By air, visitors can take scenic flights over the region, taking in stunning views of glaciers and lush forests below. If they’d rather stay closer to the ground, ferries provide transportation between nearby towns on both sides of Juneau’s Gastineau Channel – giving travelers an opportunity to witness stunning coastal vistas along the way. Even better, private boats or kayaks offer direct access into the heart of the Tongass for an up-close look at its majestic terrain.

For landlubbers looking for adventure, hiking trails thread their way through dense woods and towering mountains – leading hikers deep into old-growth forests that have been around since before recorded history began. No matter which path one takes, getting lost among these ancient trees is sure to be nothing short of spectacular.

From sea level to summit peak, exploring the Tongass National Forest offers something special for everyone – whether enjoying breathtaking views from above or discovering hidden gems within its ancient forests below. To experience all this iconic area has to offer firsthand is truly remarkable…but also comes with certain risks as no trip here should be taken lightly. With careful planning and consideration though, anyone can enjoy this treasured piece of Alaska’s wild lands safely and responsibly. The climate and weather conditions play a major role in the successful exploration of the Tongass – let us now turn our attention towards these factors next…

Climate And Weather Conditions

Juneau has a temperate climate and weather conditions in the Tongass National Forest vary greatly. Summer temperatures average around 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit, with highs reaching up to 80 on certain days. Winter temperatures range from 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit, with occasional cold spells resulting in subzero readings. Juneau also experiences frequent rainfall throughout the year due to its location near the Gulf of Alaska; it rains an average of 77 inches per year. The snowfall is fairly minimal compared to other parts of Alaska, averaging about 10 inches for an entire season.

The forest’s vegetation benefits from these milder conditions, making it home to lush stands of spruce, hemlock, and cedar trees that are over 200 years old. There is no shortage of wildlife either; species such as black bears, bald eagles, and Sitka deer make their homes here. With all this natural beauty surrounding visitors, they can be sure to have plenty of outdoor activities while visiting the Tongass National Forest in Juneau.

Seeing so much life thriving within one region provides further reason to appreciate nature’s resilience – even amidst unpredictable climates. Moving into the next section, we’ll explore what kinds of creatures live in the Tongass National Forest and how they interact with their environment.

Wildlife In The Tongass National Forest

The Tongass National Forest is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, with over 200 species of birds and mammals. It’s estimated that 1 in every 5 Alaskan brown bears lives within this forest’s boundaries! This fact alone should be enough to evoke a sense of awe and appreciation for the Tongass’ animal inhabitants.

Bald eagles are also found in abundance here, along with other raptors such as peregrine falcons, ospreys, and northern goshawks. There are even some rare sightings of golden eagles, although they’re not usually seen very often. Along with these raptors come many smaller songbirds including thrushes, warblers, and sparrows. The diversity of bird life in the Tongass really brings it alive!

Mammals abound throughout the national forest too; from black-tailed deer to river otters and mountain goats. Even larger predators like wolves have been spotted on occasion! As if all this weren’t enough reason to explore the area, there are plenty more creatures inhabiting its depths – caribou, wolverines, lynx, and moose among them. All these amazing animals make visiting the Tongass National Forest a unique experience indeed!

With its lush greenery providing shelter to so much diverse wildlife, it’s no wonder that people flock to this natural paradise each year for recreational activities.

Recreational Activities

The Tongass National Forest in Juneau is a great destination for those looking to explore and enjoy the outdoors. From wildlife watching, fishing, kayaking, and hiking, there’s something here for everyone.

Wildlife watching offers visitors an opportunity to observe birds like bald eagles, ravens, seagulls, and owls as they soar over the forest canopy or hunt along the shoreline. You can also spot black bears, moose, and deer grazing on grasses along the riverbanks. The area also has plenty of fish – salmon runs are especially popular with anglers during certain times of the year.

Kayakers love exploring Juneau’s waterways. There are many opportunities for paddling around coves and bays that offer breathtaking views of mountain peaks rising above the horizon line. Hikers will find numerous trails crisscrossing through damp forests filled with lush trees such as hemlock and spruce trees that provide ample shade from the summer sun.

With so many activities available within its boundaries, it is easy to see why the Tongass National Forest in Juneau is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and relaxation. As you plan your next trip into nature, consider taking some time out to explore this beautiful region of Alaska. With camping being one of its most popular recreational activities, let us look at what camping in the Tongass National Forest entails…

Camping In The Tongass National Forest

Exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau is an unforgettable experience, especially for camping enthusiasts. The forest’s lush evergreen canopy and abundant wildlife provide a tranquil setting for campers of all ages to enjoy. With plenty of outdoor activities available, it can be difficult to decide which campsite to choose. Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to finding a perfect spot for an overnight stay in the national park.

One popular destination is Eagle Beach State Recreation Site located on Douglas Island. This beachfront site offers stunning views of the Chatham Strait and nearby islands as well as opportunities for fishing and other watersports. There are also two tent areas with picnic tables and grills where visitors can relax after a day exploring the area’s trails or beaches. In addition, RV sites are available by reservation through Alaska State Parks’ online reservation system.

For those looking for something more rustic than traditional camping sites, there are backcountry camping opportunities throughout the Tongass National Forest. From remote cabins nestled among old-growth trees to sandy beaches along pristine coastlines, there’s something here for everyone who dreams of getting away from it all. Backcountry permits are required from the US Forest Service before heading out into these wild places; however, they generally come at no cost and don’t require any reservations – just advance planning and preparation beforehand.

The rugged beauty of the Tongass National Forest makes it easy to see why so many people fall in love with its natural wonders each year. Whatever type of camping one chooses – whether it be front country or backcountry – they’re sure to have an unforgettable time while visiting this iconic Alaskan wilderness area. As always though, safety must remain paramount when outdoors: regulations and restrictions exist that should be followed closely during your visit to ensure maximum enjoyment without compromising anyone’s well-being.

Regulations And Restrictions

Exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau can be a memorable experience, but it is important to understand the regulations and restrictions that apply. Despite some misconceptions about these rules, they help protect both visitors and the environment of this stunning forest.

First, visitors must obtain a permit from the US Forest Service (USFS) before entering any area within the Tongass National Forest. This step helps ensure everyone enjoys their time safely while also protecting wildlife habitats and other areas with fragile ecosystems. There are various types of permits available depending on what activities one plan to partake in or whether they are traveling by boat or land vehicle.

Second, there are several restricted zones throughout the national forest where no recreational access is allowed. These include sensitive wildlife habitats as well as places of cultural importance for local Indigenous peoples. It is essential to check which areas are off-limits ahead of time so visitors know exactly where they can explore without endangering themselves or damaging nature in any way.

Finally, campers should always practice Leave No Trace principles when visiting the Tongass National Forest. This means properly disposing of trash and waste material, following fire safety guidelines, respecting private property boundaries, and avoiding disrupting wildlife during hikes or other outdoor activities. With responsible behavior comes an unforgettable journey through one of Alaska’s most beautiful natural gems!

Safety Tips For Exploring The Tongass National Forest

Exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau can be an unforgettable experience. It is important to keep safety in mind when visiting this beautiful area. Here are some tips for staying safe while exploring the forest.

The first step is to check weather conditions and trail closures before planning your trip. The summer months tend to bring heavy rain and fog, so it’s best to plan around these times and dress appropriately for any changes that may occur during your visit. Additionally, make sure you have a map of the area or access to a GPS device so you know where you’re going at all times.

It’s also advisable to wear sturdy hiking boots with good grip on rocky terrain, as well as protective layers such as waterproof clothing if there’s any chance of rain or snow. Bring plenty of water and snacks with you in case of unexpected delays or detours, along with a charged cell phone should something happen and help is needed. Also, be sure to obey park signs and regulations; failure to do so could result in fines or worse penalties like arrest!

Finally, always let someone know where you’ll be spending time outdoors and what route you intend to take – just in case something goes wrong during your adventure. By following these simple steps, travelers can ensure their time spent exploring the Tongass National Forest remains enjoyable and uneventful from start to finish. With proper preparation and respect for nature, visitors can look forward to creating lasting memories here in Juneau’s stunning wilderness. Ready for dining options nearby?

Dining And Lodging Nearby

Exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau is an experience unlike any other. With stunning views and diverse wildlife, it’s no wonder people flock to this area each summer. For those looking for a place to rest after a day of exploration, there are plenty of lodging and dining options nearby.

The Silverbow Inn & Bakery provides both accommodations and food for visitors. The inn boasts modern rooms with pleasant decor and complimentary breakfast included in the rate. Those who prefer something more rustic can opt for one of their cabins, which come equipped with everything needed for a cozy stay near nature. And if you’re just looking for lunch or dinner, stop into their bakery – they offer delicious sandwiches, pastries, soups, salads, and more!

For those seeking hearty meals or local seafood dishes, check out Tracy’s King Crab Shack right on the waterfront. This popular spot serves up classic Alaskan fares like crab legs, king salmon burgers, chowder fries, and fish tacos – all made from fresh ingredients caught straight from nearby waters. If you’d rather cook your own meal while away from home, head over to Alaska Flour Company where you’ll find freshly milled grains along with various spices used in traditional recipes like smoked salmon dip or caribou stew.

Whether you want to treat yourself at a restaurant or settle down in one of the cozy lodgings nearby – Juneau has something for everyone when visiting the Tongass National Forest!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types Of Recreational Activities Are Available In The Tongass National Forest?

The Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska offers a plethora of recreational activities for its visitors to partake in. From camping and hiking to kayaking and fishing, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the natural beauty that this forest provides. This article intends to inform readers about the various types of recreational activities available in the Tongass National Forest so they can make informed decisions on their trip plans.

For those who love being outdoors, the Tongass National Forest is a great place to start exploring nature’s wonders. For starters, camping sites dot many areas within the forest; these provide campers with access to breathtaking landscapes while offering them the chance to experience wildlife up close. Hiking trails also wind through the area and offer stunning views across miles of untouched wilderness. In addition, several rivers run through the forestry making it ideal for canoeing or kayaking trips – perfect for those looking for a calmer adventure! Fishing is also permitted at certain locations throughout the national forest allowing anglers to catch some amazing catches from both saltwater and freshwater sources.

For those more daring individuals, there is no shortage of adrenaline-filled adventures either. The region boasts spectacular mountain biking trails for those wanting speed and excitement as well as rock climbing routes for climbers seeking out steeper challenges. Zip lining courses are also popular amongst thrill seekers looking for unique ways to take in all of the beautiful scenery surrounding them. Plus, ATV tours allow visitors to navigate off-road terrain without having to carry all their gear themselves!

No matter what type of outdoor enthusiast you are, you’re sure to find something suitable here in this magical corner of Alaska! Here’s a few highlights:

  • Take a guided tour into remote areas inaccessible by roads
  • Explore undisturbed forests abundant with diverse flora and fauna
  • Go whitewater rafting down one of the many wild rivers * Go ice fishing and experience the tranquility of the frozen Alaska landscape.

Are There Any Special Regulations Or Restrictions I Should Be Aware Of Before Visiting The Tongass National Forest?

Visiting the Tongass National Forest is a great way to explore Juneau, but there are certain regulations and restrictions that visitors should be aware of before they venture in. From fishing permits and campfire safety to wildlife protection laws, understanding these special rules can help ensure an enjoyable experience for all who visit the national forest.

The Tongass National Forest has recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and sightseeing available for visitors. However, it’s important to remember that many of these activities come with their own specific requirements or prohibitions. For example, hunters need to obtain a permit from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game prior to visiting the forest; anglers also require a license from the same agency if they plan on fishing within its boundaries. Additionally, campfires must follow strict guidelines established by USFS standards when burning wood in any part of the national forest.

Wildlife conservation is taken seriously within the Tongass National Forest which means that some areas may be off-limits at certain times of year due to sensitive species habitats or migratory patterns. Understanding these seasonal closures and respecting them is paramount for preserving this area’s natural beauty—and avoiding hefty fines. It’s always best practice to check ahead with local authorities before setting out into any remote corner of the forest so you have a clear understanding of what’s permissible during your stay.

For those looking to explore nature while enjoying outdoor recreation safely and responsibly, taking note of – and adhering to – the various regulations governing the use of the Tongass National Forest is essential before venturing out into its wild expanse.

What Is The Best Way To Access The Tongass National Forest?

Tongass National Forest is one of the most beautiful places to explore in Juneau, Alaska. It offers a wide range of activities and stunning views of nature that will leave visitors in awe. But before visiting this special place, it’s important to know how best to access it.

The Tongass National Forest has three main points of entry: by air, land, or water. Accessing the park from the land can be done through many roads and trails within the forest’s boundaries. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority also provides transportation for people who want to reach certain parts of the park via ferry. For those looking for an unforgettable experience, there are helicopter tours available as well — allowing for spectacular aerial views of wildlife and natural scenery on the way up!

For those wanting a more intimate connection with nature, kayaking or canoeing around Tongass National Forest is another great option. This is especially true during summertime when temperatures are warmer and days are longer; making it much easier to see all the sights along your journey. Plus, paddling down rivers or lakes allows you to take breaks at various spots throughout the park where you can enjoy some peace and solitude away from other travelers and admire pristine landscapes hidden away deep inside its forests.

No matter which mode of transport you choose, exploring Tongass National Forest promises plenty of exciting experiences that will stay with you forever. From its lush greenery stretching out as far as the eye can see to its picturesque waterways perfect for boating — this national treasure truly deserves every bit of admiration it gets!

Are There Any Dining Or Lodging Options Nearby?

When it comes to exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, many people are wondering what dining and lodging options they have access to. From basic accommodations like campgrounds and cabins to more upscale eateries and resorts, there’s an overwhelming number of options available for travelers looking to explore this stunning area.

For those seeking a simpler experience, camping is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the Tongass National Forest. Visitors can pitch their tents at several campsites located throughout the forest or rent out cozy cabins that offer all standard amenities including electricity and running water. Moreover, campers will be able to take advantage of nearby attractions such as glaciers and wildlife viewing opportunities, making camping a great way for visitors to get up close to nature.

If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious than tent camping or cabin rentals, check out some of the lodges and restaurants in Juneau that provide guests with high-end services and delicious food. Whether you’re interested in fine dining spots or rustic pubs serving local specialties like halibut tacos, there’s something available for everyone when it comes to enjoying the Tongass National Forest while also indulging your taste buds. And if you want even more pampering during your stay? There are luxury resorts scattered around town offering premium spa treatments after a day full of outdoor activities.

No matter what kind of accommodation or cuisine you desire while visiting the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, rest assured that there are plenty of options available for everyone – from budget-minded adventurers who prefer roughing it outdoors, to those wanting a touch of luxury during their trip.

Are There Any Safety Tips I Should Consider Before Exploring The Tongass National Forest?

It’s estimated that nearly 17 million people visit National Forests every year in the US alone, making it no surprise why exploring the Tongass National Forest in Juneau is so popular. Before taking on this exciting adventure, however, there are certain safety tips to consider when visiting such a stunning location.

To ensure an enjoyable and safe experience while exploring the Tongass National Forest, visitors should prepare for their journey by packing necessary items like maps and first aid kits as well as familiarizing themselves with any weather or terrain changes they may encounter. Additionally, it’s important to dress appropriately for the climate and wear sturdy shoes. It’s also recommended to research ahead of time if special permits are required for activities like hunting or fishing since these regulations can vary from region to region within national forests.

Being aware of dangers posed by wildlife is another key factor when traveling through any forested area. While most wild animals will avoid contact with humans whenever possible it’s still best to be prepared; make noise on trails and avoid leaving food out amongst other precautions. The Tongass National Forest provides helpful information about local species which can further equip travelers during their stay – including what types of predators they may encounter as well as where potential threats might occur.

Overall, becoming knowledgeable before venturing into any natural setting is essential – especially one as beautiful and diverse as the Tongass National Forest in Juneau! Taking all of these safety tips into account will not only help create a more enjoyable trip but also provide travelers with peace of mind knowing they’ve done everything to protect themselves during their exploration.


The Tongass National Forest is one of the most beautiful places in Juneau. It offers a variety of recreational activities that can be enjoyed by all. Whether you’re looking for some exciting outdoor adventure or just want to take in the sights and sounds, there’s something for everyone here.

Before visiting the forest, it’s important to know about any special regulations or restrictions, as well as the best way to access it. Fortunately, there are several transportation options available, making it easy to explore this stunning area. Additionally, visitors will find plenty of dining and lodging options nearby so they can make their trip even more enjoyable and convenient.

Finally, anyone who decides to visit should keep safety in mind at all times; according to recent statistics from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, bear activity has increased by 30% over the past year alone! With careful planning and preparation before each outing into Tongass National Forest, however, adventurers can experience its beauty while staying safe. There really is no better place than Juneau’s Tongass National Forest!

Book Your Tour Now

Adventures in Juneau, Alaska

Experience the magic of whale watching aboard one of our comfortable boats!

Get In Touch

Have Questions About Our Tours?

Get in touch with us. We’d love to answer any questions you may have.