Auke Lake Trail

Juneau’s Summer Swim Area

Auke Lake has been an important body of water to the area for a long time. It is where the local Tlingit adopted their name from, what Auke Bay would take its name from, and what the Mendenhall Glacier used to be called. While backloop road wraps around the north side of the lake, the lake trail system starts at the University of Alaska Southeast Recreation Center, through campus and up to connect back to Backloop Road.

The main trailhead parking is located right along the road before the boat launch area. There are often planes parked in the lake grass which make for beautiful foreground pieces across the glassy reflection of the lake. The path hugs the shore and crosses the lake in two cutoffs on some floating platforms which make for a popular summer hang out when the sun breaks through the clouds.

Reddish-brown water laps the shore, but rarely gets to be rough as the prevailing wind comes through the trees from the south leaving the trail protected. The two swimming platforms make for a wonderful connection during the summer months, however, swimmers do need to be cautious of the downed trees that can run fifty feet out into the lake unseen until you hit them. The coloring of the water may look odd but it is natural in the area and happens due to a high iron sulfide content.

A popular dog walking trail, while they must be leashed, many enjoy the quick mile jaunt.

Trailhead Location