This August we went to Alaska for 10 days. First we spend 5 days on the Chilkoot trail, and afterwards we spend 4 days in Juneau. At first we stayed at the Mendenhall Campground, which is an absolutely gorgeous drive-in campground. It is right next to the lake, so you can look across to the Mendenhall glacier. The day-use area have a nice sandy beach, but even our campsite had a small private beach.
On our first day we decided to hike the west glacier trail, but as we headed off we noticed a kayaking party taking off. We wouldn't mind a day of paddling, so we talked to the guide and he gave us the number to the rental shop. Unfortunately it turned out that they do not have life jackets for kids under the age of six, so we returned to the original plan. I was told that the East Glacier trail is filled with tourists and the West Glacier trail is filled with locals on a good day. It was definitely a busy trail, and it seemed to be mostly locals with visiting friends doing the trail. The trail is pretty flat for the first mile and then it gains a couple hundred meters in the next mile. Around the 2 mile mark the trail splits and there is a sign directing you either towards McGinnis Mt or the glacier ice caves. We decided to go towards the glacier and save McGinnis for the following day. The trail turns into a route after the intersection and it is challenging at times. Lots of roots, steep sections, glacier scoured granite slab and unstable moraine piles. It is still fairly easy to follow the trail and it only took us about half an hour to reach the toe of the glacier from the intersection. I don't think I would want to do it on a wet day with a toddler on my back though..
We walked around on the flat bare glacial ice for a little while, while observing the guided parties and other tourists doing the same. It is a popular area that is for sure. After exploring the glacier we went to a small beach where all the guided kayak groups had landed. Here we played for a while in the sand and climbed the bluffs surrounding it. The bluffs were great for toddler climbing. Low angle and lots of holds.
During our return on the tricky part of the trail Christian had a few slips. He's shoes were really starting to wear out on the soles, and he had a hard time concentration with a chatty toddler in the backpack. Luckily he got away with only a slightly swollen finger and a unsatisfied toddler. Back at the campground we played for an hour on the sandy beach before dinner time.