The Herbert Glacier is an easy four and a half mile "locals special" trail established in 2006 with no cruise ship tourism! The family friendly Herbert Trail is an amazing half day round trip to an expansive flood plain and stunning glacial headwall. Popular with everybody from school children to energetic grandparents, you can count on bumping into nice folks along the route, if any at all. Bust out your mountain bikes, comfort bikes, and beach cruisers, just about any bike will be able to handle this one!
Trail DescriptionThe trail is made up of top notch materials consisting of elevated gravel topped with sand to shed copious amounts of water. It is not a no-brainer trail, but is a fun one that meanders gently overland through lush forest gaining little to no elevation until the last mile or so. Enjoy woods with heavily mossed branches above a lush cover of prickly devils club or extensive patches of false huckleberry bushes.
The last quarter mile is tight and hilly single track through narrow alder groves alongside the light grey river. At one point, the rider elbows up to the mountain side and looks directly into the silted water on the other. Before it's renovations this section was unpredictably life threatening but today it is the coolest section of trail to ride. When I am riding with my wife and kids, we still park in the old lock up area and walk the rest of the way to the flood plain.
The glacial flood plain consists of a half mile wide section of boulder littered beach and braided streams that eventually flow into one run. Look out for the rock pile people near the headwaters of the flood plain and take the time to make one of your own. Remember, all bicyclists are artists creating good memories in nature. Herbert Glacier Trail is simply an Alaskan masterpiece!!
Hop in a car and take Egan Drive from downtown Juneau and head straight on through the Valley. Continue on out the road past Auke Bay and the ferry terminal to mile 27. Park on the west side of Herbert River in a parking lot on the right hand side and apply your bug dope before you exit the car.
Mosquitos are bad out here unless you are continually on the move.
Bring camping gear and stay at the end of the trail for an amazing overnighter. This affords folks time to explore and hike up to the face of the glacier, which is another 3/4 of a mile beyond the flood plain and well worth the effort.