This hike is mostly along an access road with a single track trail for the last mile. It gains 1,142 feet over 3.5 miles, one way. The trail has great views of the surrounding peaks and the tundra that is all around.
The trailhead is located at mile 2.5 on Egan Drive. It is kinda a small side street that is next to the substation, behind the hospital. It is easy to miss.
The trail starts off along the access road that begins with a steep climb for the first 250′. Just a few 100′ up is the city’s water storage tank. After the steep climb the trail levels off and is a gentle climb for the next few miles. The road meanders for about 2 miles and is a relaxing hike.
Just after the bridge that crosses the creek you will come to a shallow pond that has a clear view of the mountains if you make the trek down to the waters edge. Continue a few hundred more feet and you will reach the junction where the single track trail begins. Before heading up the trail be sure to check out the old power station. A small path circles the gate around the building.
The single track trail is well maintained and you cross over many streams with cascading waterfalls. After about a mile you will come to the water pipe at the base of the dam. Look to your left and take the stairs up. The trail up is rough and rooty. You climb some 450′ in 1/2 mile. There are some stairs up the steepest part and a cable anchored into the rock on an exposed drop off. The trail levels off as you approach the Salmon Creek Dam and you’ll get some of the best views in Juneau.
The dam is 175′ tall and 645′ wide made of crumbling concrete. It tapers from 47.5′ at the base to only 6′ at the top. The primary use of the dam is to power the plant at the beginning of the trail, and as a water shed for the city.
Behind the dam lays the city of Juneau’s reservoir. There is a nice bench under a shelter built by the boy scouts. Take a break and admire the water and the mountains around you.
If you follow the water pipe from behind the old powerhouse be sure you don’t mind walking along slick wood atop the pipe, wet moss and uneven ground. Where you see the path next to the fence that is a good time to rejoin the main trail before it gets really rugged.