At the top is a lookout from which I can see waterways, the city, and the mountains which surround it.
Those peaks are the key to understanding Juneau. Though it's the state capital of Alaska, its mountain-hemmed location on the spectacular Inside Passage means the city has no road access to the outside world. The only way in is by air or sea.
Plenty of people take advantage of the waterborne option by arriving on cruise ships. The dockside quarter is a hub of tourist activity in the warmer months, as up to 15,000 daily passengers add to the city's population of 32,000.
I don't much enjoy the tourist crush around the docks, but the influx of visitors does mean there's a wide range of attractions to enjoy, and a better food scene than you might expect in such a small city.
And because I'm staying for a few nights, I can take my time, explore the town beyond its tourist zone, and have it to myself in the evenings after the cruise passengers have left.
As I explore I discover that Juneau is a curious place, with a distinctive personality. In its hillier upper reaches where the streets are linked by pedestrian stairways, cruise passengers thin out and the shops and restaurants cater more for locals.
On Fifth Street is St Nicholas', the oldest Russian Orthodox church still standing in the state. It's a reminder that Alaska was owned by Russia until 1867, when the territory was purchased by the United States.
That transaction is described in detail at the excellent Alaska State Museum, including the Native Alaskan people's resistance to such casual assumptions of sovereignty. Their poor treatment under both Russian and US rule echoes that of indigenous people in Australia and elsewhere, though these days Native Alaskan businesses are a force in Juneau's tourism industry.