We begin our project work in Juneau, in Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest national forest. There we will participate in volunteer projects on the Juneau Ranger District, home of the spectacular Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. Juneau Ranger District is the largest ranger district in the nation. Welcome to Alaska – it’s big! Mendenhall Glacier is one of the top three visitor destinations in Alaska and is much loved. Use and weather take their toll on these trails, and our project work will involve restoration of trail tread and alignment, erosion control, and vegetation management.
Our second project site is in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park near Skagway, Alaska. With approximately 8,000 inhabitants during the Gold Rush in the late 1800’s, the Dyea town site was once a bustling city. But after the White Pass and Yukon Railroad was constructed from Skagway through White Pass, Skagway became the community that endured and Dyea was largely abandoned. Today Dyea still piques the curiosity and imagination of visitors who seek out this remote location. We will make our volunteer contribution through historic restoration, vegetative management, and trail restoration.
Because local conditions and the Park’s needs continually evolve, please remember that detailed project plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Volunteer Trips offer the opportunity to experience the land in a unique way not available to the average tourist.
No prior trail maintenance experience is required, and training is provided. Project tasks vary but you should be able to hike with a day pack, move soil or rock with a shovel, pull unwanted vegetation, or carry stones or lumber. Because all projects are in locations with the potential for bear encounters (primarily black bears), your safety training will address working in bear country. As always your safety is our priority.
Group Size: 8 – 12 plus trip leaders
Day 1: Meet in Juneau Alaska for orientation and enjoy a welcome dinner.
Our volunteer trip begins today at 5:00 p.m. when we meet and greet on the beautiful University of Alaska Southeast Campus, where the volunteers will be lodged in the John R. Pugh Residence Hall for the four nights we are in Juneau. We will share an informal welcome dinner on the beautiful campus overlooking Auke Lake as we transition into Alaska, the land of the midnight sun. Dinner and lodging included.
Days 2 – 4: Volunteer projects in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and nearby sites.
Following breakfast, we will start our first volunteer project day at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for an overview (emphasis on “View!”) of the Mendenhall Glacier. We will also meet our partners, the Juneau District Ranger and trail staff, and conduct a safety session. Part of the training will include “Working in Bear Country” presented by a local expert. Post-training, we will depart for the volunteer project work in Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and other nearby important project locations. Breakfast, box lunch, dinner and lodging included.
Day 5: Ferry through the Inside Passage to Skagway; check in at Chilkoot Trail Outpost.
Today we will travel to Skagway via ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway through Lynn Canal. With a depth of over 2,000 feet, this is the deepest fjord in North America. At 90 miles long, it is also the longest in the world. We will take a drive-through orientation tour of Skagway and then head seven miles out of Skagway to the historic town site of Dyea. There we will check into the Chilkoot Trail Outpost, a rustic Bed and Breakfast which will be our home for the next six nights. All meals and lodging included.
Days 6 – 7 and 9 – 10: Volunteer Projects in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in the Dyea Townsite area.
Our work on these volunteer project days will be in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Each afternoon we will head back to the Chilkoot Trail Outpost to freshen up and relax before dinner. Or, you may want to use one of the Outpost’s bicycles to tour the area. For our first three days, we will enjoy dinner at the Outpost. On Day 9, after freshening up at the Outpost, volunteers can head to Skagway where we will have free time to explore and choose from a variety of local restaurants. All meals and lodging included except dinner on Day 9.
Day 8: Catch a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.
On this day, we take a rest from project work. After breakfast we will catch a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The route climbs nearly 3,000 feet in 20 miles of steep grades, cliff-hanging turns, two tunnels and numerous trestles while showcasing stunning mountain views, gorges, glaciers and waterfalls. We will return to Chilkoot Trail Outpost where we will enjoy our group dinner together. All meals and lodging included.
Day 11: Back to Juneau on a catamaran through the Inside Passage.
After an early breakfast we will catch an Alaska Fjordlines catamaran from Skagway to Juneau, where the Alaska Volunteer Trip ends. We expect to arrive in Juneau by noon, but if you plan on flying home that day, it is best not to schedule a flight before 2:00 P.M., because our boat will slow to enjoy whale sightings! Volunteers wishing to stay longer in Juneau should make their own reservations at local hotels. Breakfast included.
Notes on Itinerary
Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING AIR TRAVEL: Before purchasing your airline tickets, please check with us to ensure the trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions. Project locations may vary with each volunteer trip according to the needs of the park at the time the trip takes place.
$3,200 for eleven days
(Note: Your trip expense may be tax-deductible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page and consult your tax adviser for details.)
- all meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on Day 11, except for dinner on Day 9, as described in the itinerary
- all lodging
- all van, boat and train transportation as noted on the itinerary
- transportation to project sites
- park entrance fees
- gratuities for services provided to the group
- project leadership and support staff
- group tools
- orientation and training
Price does not include:
- travel costs to and from Juneau, Alaska
- Dinner on Day 9
- medical immunizations
- insurance (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip)
- excess baggage charges
- alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
- personal items
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. The gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. View the the Gear List PDF.