With a surplus of year-round activities, voyagers of all skill levels delight in this state park within Alaska’s state capitol
Juneau's only state park is Point Bridget State Park, a 2850-acre unit overlooking Berners Bay and Lynn Canal 39 miles north of the downtown area.
The park stands on land once occupied by the Auks, a group of Tlingit Natives, who built summer homes and harvested the area's natural resources. Point Bridget was named by Captain George Vancouver in 1794, presumably after his mother, Bridget Berners. Cowee Creek is named after the Auk Chief who guided Joe Juneau and Dick Harris to the gold in Silver Bow Basin in 1888, which led to the founding of Juneau. The park was created in 1988 after a decade and a half of lobbying by locals and conservationists alike who thought Alaska's state capital should be home to a state park.
Point Bridget is an incredibly scenic combination of meadows, cliffs, spectacular views, salmon spawning streams, rocky beaches and the sea. Wildlife is plentiful. Porcupine and squirrels dance through the woods, while in the middle of Beaver House Meadow is a large beaver dam and lodge. In spring black bear feed on sedges in the meadow, and during the salmon run in late July, bears from a large area are drawn to the feast. Sea lions are frequently seen frolicking along the shore as well as harbor seals. From April through September, humpbacks feed in the area and it's not unusual to see one of these giants spout, display a fluke or even breach.
The park is a popular destination for birding, beachcombing, wildlife viewing, boating and hiking. Salmon fishing is excellent off the Berners Bay beaches and in Cowee Creek. In the winter the meadows and open forest allow for exquisite skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.
The park has almost 10 miles of trails. The most popular hike is Point Bridget Trail, a 3.5-mile, one-way walk from the trailhead on Glacier Highway to Point Bridget, where often you can spot sea lions and seals playing in the surf.
Within 2 miles from the trailhead you pass through Beaver House Meadow which is surrounded by an old growth rainforest with the park's largest Sitka spruce.
There is no campground at Point Bridget but there are three public-use cabins located along the trail system. All are accessible on foot in the summer and on skis or snowshoes in the winter while two of the cabins are along the beach and also accessible by kayak or canoe. Blue Mussel Cabin is the most popular because of its location along the ocean which often gives way to views of marine wildlife.
There is a nightly fee for public-use cabins which can be reserved online through the parks reservation system.
Point Bridget State Park is reached via the Juneau road system at Mile 39 of Glacier Highway. For more information contact the Alaska State Parks office (907-465-4563) in Juneau.