Snowshoeing is one of my favorite winter time activities in Southeast. It gets you up into the alpine and lets you explore your favorite hiking trails when they're blanketed in snow. Not to mention there is something so dreamy about the stillness of the meadows and how the snow absorbs the sounds and light making it a breathtaking experience. Snowshoeing and skiing are a great combo as you can get your body pumping and cardio going on the way up, then cruise easily down back to your car. It’s almost too badass…
Winter in Southeast can be a hit or miss, some years there is green grass in January, and other years we'll get dumped on. You just never know! Winter season is as hard to predict as summer!
This winter we were hit with a wonderful snow storm in early December that covered the ground in over a foot of snow down to the shoreline! That means that fresh powder can be found everywhere!
A few of my favorite spots include; Dan Moller Cabin, John Muir Cabin and Spawlding Meadows, Peterson Lake Cabin, and Windfall Lake Cabin. In case there is a time when you're feeling like you need to get out and play, yet there is no snow on the ground in town, don't worry! Typically, you can still access a few trails throughout Juneau that will still have snow once you get a little higher in elevation. Out the road towards Auke Bay where the Spawlding, John Muir, Peterson Lake, and Windfall Lake trails are there tends to be more snow as it’s just a tad bit further north and inland just enough to keep snow on the trails.
Today’s adventure took us to Dan Moller, we chose this location because the sunrise is gorgeous in Downtown Juneau and there are a few great look-backs along the trail where you can turn around and admire the pinks and oranges of the sun slowly rising into the Gastineau Channel. There were also extreme high winds forecasted for that day (so much so that the Alaska Ferry was cancelled due to 14’ seas!), so we opted for this location as you’re quickly tucked into a bowl and shielded from high winds, yet you still get sun.
Located on Douglas Island, head through the roundabout and go south, take the first right up Cordova Street (haha), follow it to the top and take a left up Blueberry Hill all the way to its end. The road dead ends into a gravel parking lot and you should see a trail marker sign on the right.
The cabins are owned and operated by the US Forest Service and can generally be rented for $45/night. They’re beautiful inside and out, include a small stove to keep it cozy, and are postcard perfect.
We met at the trail head at 8am since we could only afford a half day of play and wanted to catch the glorious morning air. The trail is approximately three miles to the cabin and you can follow the snow machine tracks most of the way. Once you get one and half-ish hours in, be on the lookout for trail markers and switch over to those, otherwise you’ll be side-tracked on the wrong trail and miss the cabin venturing further into the bowl. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you plan to ski down, that’ll just buy you more powder time! But if you wanted to swing into the cabin and warm up for a bit, know to switch over!
What to wear and bring
As with every time I go snowshoeing, the views are amazing and you’re instantly drawn in to the wonderland that is surrounding the trail. For today’s adventure I wore;
- Xtratuffs (would have loved to wear Sorels but mine are too worn out!),
- wool socks,
- silk long underwear,
- Breakout Loungers,
- long sleeve thing layer,
- wool fitted sweater,
- snow pants, and a
- down jacket.
I also packed in my backpack;
- hand warmers,
- another sweater (just in case),
- downhill skis,
- ski boots,
- poles, and
In a picture perfect window of trees, just a quarter mile into the trail you'll get a little glimpse of Downtown Juneau.
When we reached the back end of the bowl we switched over to skis! It was extremely cold that day, 9 degrees, and my ski boots had frozen so much that it took both Sydney and I to shove my foot into my boot! We also skipped the cabin and went deeper into the bowl to get ourselves some fresh powder that was untracked by the snow machines.
What are you favorite snowshoe locations in Juneau? What about elsewhere in Southeast?