Friday, June 20, 2014

Juneau, Alaska - Mount Roberts Tramway

One of the striking parts about Juneau is how little flat land there is along the waterfront. In some portions of town, it is level for only a few blocks before the terrain goes almost straight up.

How, then, can you see the whole landscape? One way is to take the Mount Roberts Tramway, which takes passengers straight up to a landing spot on top of the hill.

The structure is more than 3,000 feet long and 1,700 feet high. One interesting part that you might not notice is that there are no towers along the way, as the trip is so steep that the supporting structures were bypassed. There are two cars that hold 60 people each; as one goes up, the other goes down.

The structure opened in 1996 and is built right on the docks. It's easy to find - just look for the wires. Here's someone else's video on it:

This is not a cheap ride, checking in at $32 per person as of 2014. At the top is a big gift shop, a small nature center, and a restaurant. Make sure you allow enough time to go for walks on the scenic trails. You'll have a better chance of getting the best views of the area by getting away from the complex around the top of the tramway. Trees and buildings can get in the way of the views there, spoiling the experience somewhat. (In fairness, it's a little tough to trim the trees up there because of the steepness.) Therefore, if the trails are closed for one reason or another or if it's a very cloudy day, you might not rate this a consumer "best buy."

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