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“Beautiful gardens and knowledgeable guides.”

Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
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Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in Juneau
Ranked #14 of 83 things to do in Juneau
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: View the world renowned Flower Towers AND indulge your senses in the naturally stunning temperate rainforest of the Tongass National Forest (tour provided in cooperation with the United States Forest Service). Juneau's most colorful bright spot offers fully guided tours and self-guided walking paths for all types of nature enthusiasts. Your fully guided tour offers you a unique and fascinating garden experience that combines natural landscapes and non-native manicured gardens to create a dramatic contrast of colors and nature. Travel on board a guided tour through Juneau's temperate rainforest in covered vehicles while learning about native plant species such as Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees, devil's club, and skunk cabbage. No tour gives you easier access to the gorgeous Tongass atmosphere. The vast gardens are the creation of Steve and Cindy Bowhay and their family over the past 18 years. Your guide explain the Glacier Gardens story and tell you the unforgettable tale of the Flower Towers, which were named as America's Most Interesting Landmark in a 2012 Reader's Digest issue. Grab your map or join one of our driver guides as you venture into the rugged and unforgiving Tongass habitat where we, or your map, will explain about the history of this property and highlight the interesting characteristics of this rare temperate forest environment. Bright floral arrangements and elegantly designed landscapes complement the natural beauty of the towering temperate rainforest and the cascading waterfalls bubbling nearby. At the 580 ft level of our property you will find an amazing cliff-side panoramic viewpoint where the thick forest gives way to a sweeping view of Juneau, including views of the Mendenhall Valley, Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island, and the Chilkat Mountains. You return to the lower gardens where you can spend more time meandering the grounds and indulging in the Visitor's Center atrium filled with even more floral structures, such as the heart shaped impatience and hanging flower gardens - some petunias stretch to up to 12 feet long! The Visitor's Center features a live video feed from a camera aimed at an active bald eagles nest that is found on the property. You can find the feed online at our website as well. The Garden Gift Shop sells garden specific gifts like the wildflower-seed packets that you can plant at home, and the Garden Cafe serves espresso drinks, beverages, and light snacks and a must have blueberry hot chocolate.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities
Level Contributor
119 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Beautiful gardens and knowledgeable guides.”
Reviewed August 31, 2012

This was an unexpected gem on our tour from a cruise ship which also included Mendenhall Glacier. The staff are so knowledgeable about the local history, plants and animals. The gardens are privately owned and have been created from scratch by a very talented man and his family. They are beautiful and very different. After enjoying the tour by small bus to the top of the hill, which affords amazing views over the low lands back towards Juneau, we were about to leave when a young man jumped onboard the bus, introduced himself as the owners son and apologised for his Dad who was unwell but always saw each group of visitors off and thanked them for visiting. He did this on behalf of his dad. A wonderful and refreshing experience from start to finish.

Visited August 2012
3 Thank Julie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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355 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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English first
Granite Falls, North Carolina
Level Contributor
111 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

Enjoyed this garden. The owner/builder has a wonderful imagination and has created some very interesting things.
It would be wheel chair accessible as there is a tram to take you up to the summit of the ridge for a great view of Juneau. Gift shop is a treat of unusual items. Loved it!!!

Visited August 2012
Thank Betty G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2012

The staff and tour guides were the friendliest and most knowledgeable of anywhere I visited in Juneau. Rainforest views were amazing but info from guide made the tour that much more rich.

Visited August 2012
2 Thank MiamiSpy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Champaign, IL
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2012

The gardens are lovely, but the rainforest itself was the main attraction for me. The "upside down trees" are beautiful, but I felt they were sort of a gimmick. However, the floral displays were gorgeous, the trip up and down the mountain frightening if you're afraid of heights like I am, but so gorgeous! The views of the actual rainforest were so beautiful. It was a light rainy day when we were there and it only added to the beauty. The weather cleared briefly when we were "up top" and we had a nice view, but the gardens and the rainforest were the real attraction. I highly recommend this experience to anyone. I thought we were just stopping by there on the way to the Mendenhall Glacier (a truly don't miss sight!), but this was worth the time. Can't speak to the cost, since it was included in a tour of 3 things. Big surprise to see so many flowers in Alaska! Beautiful! Great photo ops! Go if you have the opportunity!

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Illianagirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
40 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“The highlight of our time in Juneau”
Reviewed August 8, 2012

We took a combined tour from our cruise excursions. My husband wanted to tour the Alaska Brewery and this gardens was also included. We were thinking that we'd not really like the gardens and just bide our time until going to the brew tour. We were pleasantly surprised!

First of all the weather was amazing. No rain and warm enough to wear shorts and a T shirt. Our tour guide up to the top was really knowledgable about the history and all the different trees and plants. His name was Russell. Russell was great with our 2 yr old, even playing in the rocks with him.
The gift shop was fun to browse but very overpriced. The small cafe was also expensive. I wish we would've taken our own food on the tour.
I did love the webcam view of the baby eaglet.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Stacy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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