This exclusive hiking tour to Mendenhall Glacier begins with 4 miles through towering Sitka Spruce and Hemlock in the largest temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest. The trail becomes less defined as you follow your guide through dense brush, beaver ponds, and up rock scrambles.
The trail is considered strenuous with about 800 feet in vertical elevation gain, and requires you to be sure-footed while crossing slippery stones and rock screes. It is all worth it when you climb the final ridge, and the jagged face of the glacier bursts into view with its river of ice coursing behind it.
The glacier is in constant change and its features disappear and reappear over the course of the season, this includes the ice caves.
As you emerge from the forest and approach the final ridge, the jagged face of the glacier bursts into view, it’s river of ice coursing behind it. We’ll embark on a guided trek to explore an array of glacial features along the edge. These features may include moulins, crevasses, and ice caves, if available. Because the glacier is in a state of constant change, not all features may be present or accessible. Every day is different on the ice!
After an adventure on the glacier, we’ll hike back on the West Glacier Trail and provide transportation back to your pick-up location.
INCLUDED: Professional guides. Roundtrip van transport. US Forest Service permits. Rain gear (hooded jacket and pants). Hearty, healthy snack & bottled water. All glacier safety gear including helmet, micro-spikes, harness, and trekking poles if needed.
RESTRICTIONS: Minimum age of 10.
- A specific amount of time on the ice cannot be guaranteed. The amount of time on the glacier is dependent on the group’s pace and weather conditions.
- Visiting specific features such as ice caves, moulins, etc. cannot be guaranteed due to the constantly changing nature of the Mendenhall Glacier. Your guide will assess the hazards on the day of the trip to determine if a particular area is safe to trek upon or enter.
- Every participant must sign a waiver form at the start of the trip. Alterations and/or deletions to the waiver are not permitted.
- Due to various fitness abilities and weather variables, it is preferred clients not schedule other excursions directly before or after this trip.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Difficult. Participants must be in good enough shape and conditioned to hike for up to 6-6.5 hours, covering about 9 miles roundtrip.
MEETING INSTRUCTIONS: The “C” Sign, located near the cruise ship docks directly between Mt. Roberts Tramway and the green Taku Smokeries building, is the centralized downtown meeting location for all clients in the downtown area, including the majority of cruise ship passengers.
CANCELLATION: Cancellations must be made at least 7 days prior to departure to receive a full refund.
WHAT TO WEAR: This trip operates in all weather conditions (barring unsafe conditions, to be determined by ABAK) – you must dress appropriately. Participants need to wear sturdy hiking boots that provide good ankle support while hiking on uneven, rocky terrain & trekking on the glacier. Everyone will need to hike with a backpack weighing approximately 10lbs the entire way on this trip.