Archive for the ‘Adventures & Excursions’ Category

Coyotes and Bears Seen Near Mount Roberts Tramway

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A coyote makes off with its food (Brandon Hauser Photo).

Wildlife sightings on Mount Roberts are common, but recent sightings of a bear family and coyotes during daylight hours rank as more unusual.

On an overcast August evening about three miles from the Mount Roberts Tramway Mountain House, photographer Brandon Hauser saw a lone coyote come out of the brush. “It sniffed out a piece of meat and began to consume its supper in a playful manner,” Hauser said.  “After about 10 minutes of working its grub, the coyote abruptly rose to its feet and sniffed the air, and then a mother black bear appeared out of the forest with three cubs following close behind. The coyote grabbed its meal and wasted no time fleeing the scene. The bears sniffed around where the coyote was and playfully wandered the area before disappearing themselves.” 

Then the bears follow his scent (Brandon Hauser Photo).

Then the bears follow his scent (Brandon Hauser Photo).

More of Hauser’s images of Juneau, its animals and scenery can be found at

Bob Armstrong, an Alaskan writer who has published several nature books, has also noted the increased coyote activity around Juneau. “In the 1960s and 1970s, coyotes were quite common in the Juneau area,” he says, “but then they were infrequently seen until recently. The six coyotes that have frequented Bear Valley over the last month or so are probably a family group. Coyotes typically roam in groups of around six. They may consist of related adults, yearlings and young of the year.”

Parent and youngster coyotes (Bob Armstrong Photo).

Parent and youngster coyotes frolic in a meadow (Bob Armstrong Photo).

The Mount Roberts Tramway offers a well-marked trail system with hikes suitable for every ability level. Trail features include bear viewing platforms, interpretive signage, scultptures and carved trees and a trail that is handicap‑accessible. There is also the Juneau Raptor Center Bald Eagle Display and the Mount Roberts Nature Center, where naturalists offer deck talks and narrated slide presentations about nature and the natural history of Southeast Alaska and a gift shop that specializes in nature-oriented gifts, books and maps.

Visitors Call Mount Roberts Tramway a Fantastic Alaskan Experience

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
Visitors read interpretive sign along the Mount Roberts trails (Clark James Mishler Photo).

Visitors read interpretive sign along the Mount Roberts trails (Clark James Mishler Photo).

Every year, the Mount Roberts Tramway welcomes visitors from all 50 states and 15 to 20 foreign countries. The ones who have taken the time to fill out customer comment cards tell us that their day on Mount Roberts in Juneau is one of the highlights of their Alaska vacation.

This past summer, for example, one Hawaiian visitor rated her Mount Roberts Tramway trip “above excellent.” She wrote that she appreciated the solitude and pristine conditions of the mountain, and that the entire experience was “really great, educational, fun and rewarding.”

Up on the mountaintop after the 5 1/2-minute ride in an enclosed gondola, the Mount Roberts Tramway provides visitors a variety of outdoor and indoor activities every day. “The trails are amazing,” one Venezuelan tourist wrote. “Everything is perfect.” A visitor from Coalinga, Calif., also loved the view. “I enjoyed most sitting out on the deck drinking tea,” she wrote, referring to the outdoor seating of Mount Roberts Tramway’s Timberline Bar & Grill. “The pictures on the wall are wonderful to the native people, and the photos are beautiful.”

Aerial shot shows upper docking station and roof of the MRT's Mountain House and its spectacular views (MRt Photo).

Aerial shot shows upper docking station and roof of the MRT's Mountain House and its spectacular views (MRT Photo).

Many domestic and foreign travelers praised the Mount Roberts Tramway for its cultural and entertainment offerings. One Australian tourist called the continuously shown, award-winning, 18-minute HD Blu-Ray film Seeing Daylight “brilliant. It gave us a glimpse of your wonderful culture and beautiful country,” he wrote. “If only the whole world had your values!” Likewise, an Israeli visitor described the film as an “inspiring story of your struggle to maintain your identity and preserve your culture.” A visitor from Ontario, Canada, also found it “very moving–and the (live) native dancers were the highlight of my trip.”

Other visitors mentioned that they find the Mount Roberts Tramway’s friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere inviting even if the weather turned nasty. “The welcoming attitude of your staff and the warm feel of your facility came across even in the middle of a rainstorm,” wrote one visitor from Greeley, Colo. “Helpful, wonderful, happy employees,” pointed out another.

Perhaps a springtime visitor from Southington, Conn., summed it up best when she called her day on the Mount Roberts Tramway “more than expected! Not just a ‘tram ride,’ but an awesome experience at a lovely facility.”

Click here for more information on the Mount Roberts Tramway and all of its features and attractions.