Tongass National Forest, AK
The author's kids at Tongass National Forest. (Photo by Nushin Huq)
By Nushin Huq
Between 2 Pines Magazine
The Tongass National Forest the largest National Forest in the US covering most of SE Alaska. The US Forest Service also manages the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, located within the forest. It's a must see if you're visiting Juneau.
WHAT TO SEE
One of the most popular attractions is the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. If you take the city bus from downtown Juneau, the closet stop is 1.5 mile from the glacier's visitor center. A sidewalk along the edge of the forest.
WHERE TO STAY
There are campgrounds and rustic cabins available to rent through
WHERE TO EAT
There are picnic areas throughout the forest but remember to pack out what you brought in and follow Leave No Trace principles to protect the wildlife and other hikers. At the Mendenhall Glacier visitor centre, you can only consume food in designated areas.
BEST HIKES FOR FAMILIES
At Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, the Nugget Falls Trail is a two mile round trip walk. Visitors get up close to a waterfall and catch great views of Mendenhall Glacier. The East Glacier trail is a challenging 3.5 mile loop gravel, rocks, stairs), but it's a good way to get away from the crowds.
BEST TIPS FOR KIDS
The Mendenhall Glacier is a must-see if visiting Juneau. They have their own junior ranger program as well. The exhibits in the visitor center as fascinating. Note: Food is not sold at Mendenhall and you can only eat in designated areas.