Published: Jun 26, 2018
Last Updated: Dec 23, 2022
A glacier tour is among people’s favorite activities when visiting Alaska. Tours allow you to visit the glaciers by car, train, boat, or air. You can soar above them on helicopter tours (many of which include a glacier landing), take in the sweeping views via train tours, walk up to them on a guided land tour, or even try a thrilling dog sledding ride. On a glacier tour, you can step back in time to the Ice Age as you explore the millions of years-old rivers of ice in Alaska.
Read on for the best Alaska glacier tours:
Glacier: Herbert Glacier, Juneau Icefield
Tour Type: Helicopter Tour, Walking Tour
Points of Interest: Herbert Glacier, Juneau Icefield
This tour includes a breathtaking helicopter flight to explore Juneau’s glaciers. During the flight, you'll see stunning views of mountain rock formations, rainforests, icefalls, and ice spires. During the descent to Herbert Glacier, you may see wildlife including bears, deer, and mountain goats. Once you've landed, you'll have the chance to walk along the glacier's surface and even take a drink from the streams that run along the surface.
Glacier: Davidson Glacier
Points of Interest: Glacier Point, Davidson Glacier
This tour will take you on a boat and paddling trip through fjords and rainforests on your way to Davidson Glacier. From a sightseeing boat, you'll be able to see whales, seals, and waterfalls on your way to a secluded beach at Glacier Point. Next awaits a voyage by canoe, where you’ll paddle across the lake for up-close glacial views.
Glacier: Herbert Glacier (with Juneau Icefield & Mendenhall Glacier views via helicopter)
Tour Type: Dog Sledding Tour, Helicopter Tour
This tour starts with a helicopter ride up to a beloved dog sled camp situated on Herbert Glacier. During the flight, which takes off from a helipad in the Mendenhall Valley, you'll see magnificent views of the Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau Icefields. While on the glacier, you'll have a chance to meet the dogs and experience the thrill of riding with the dog sledding team. This tour provides a unique experience, blending two of the best Juneau excursions: dog sledding on snow and a helicopter tour over the glaciers.
Glacier: Taku Glacier
Points of Interest: Juneau, Gastineau Channel, Douglas Island, Taku River, Taku Lodge, Hole In The Wall Glacier
This tour will take you on a journey to the remote Taku Glacier Lodge. The trip begins with a narrated flight on the DeHavilland Otter floatplane, taking off from the Gastineau Channel and ending on the Taku River, which acts as your landing strip. During this flight, you'll get breathtaking views of waterfalls, glaciers, icefields, ocean waterfalls and perhaps some animal sightings.
Once you arrive at the Taku Lodge, which is located directly across the river from the Hole In The Wall Glacier, you can enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of beer or wine. While there, you can wander on the walking paths through the rainforest or explore the lodge. After your journey, you can enjoy a meal, including fresh wild Alaskan King Salmon, then cozy up next to the fireplace or continue exploring the area around the lodge.
Glacier: Mendenhall Glacier
Tour Type: Helicopter Tour
Points of Interest: Mendenhall Glacier, Mendenhall Towers
On this fantastic tour, which was featured on Good Morning America, you'll soar over rainforest, lakes, and ice in a modern turbine-powered helicopter to the world famous Mendenhall Glacier. Before landing, you'll fly past the Mendenhall Towers, which extend over 7,000 feet into the sky. Once you've landed, you'll have a chance to walk on the surface of the ice and snap photos.
Glacier: Chilkat Glacier, Meade Glacier, Ferebee Glacier
Tour Type: Helicopter Tour, Walking Tour
Points of Interest: Skagway, Chilkat Glacier, Meade Glacier, Ferebee Glacier
Travel to some of the most remote glaciers in Alaska with this helicopter tour. You'll have a chance to see jagged peaks towering over the Chilkat Glacier, cascading waterfalls surrounding the Ferebee Glacier, or the spectacular "river of ice" known as the Meade Glacier. Once you land on one of the magnificent glaciers, you'll have plenty of time to walk around, snap photos, learn about its creation, and enjoy its beauty.
Glacier: Harding Icefield
Tour Type: Hiking Tour, Wilderness Tour
Points of Interest: Harding Icefield Trail, Harding Icefield
During this tour, you'll get to hike along the Harding Icefield trail as you approach its namesake vista. This 8.2-mile loop winds through the valley floor and continues to a climatic ascent above the tree line, where you'll find a stunning view of the Harding Icefield. Expect some strenuous, but unforgettable, trekking on the beautify day hike.
Glacier: Holgate Glacier
On this cruise tour, you can explore the glaciers, wildlife, and waters of Kenai Fjords National Park. The cruise includes a buffet meal that is rated as one of the best day-cruise meals in Southcentral Alaska. On the cruise, you'll spend ample time in front of the Holgate Glacier, an actively calving tidewater glacier.
Glacier: Portage Glacier
Tour Type: Train Tour
Points of Interest: Girdwood, Portage Glacier
This one-way train ride from Anchorage to Glacier includes a brief stop at the resort town of Girdwood and photo-worthy views of Portage Glacier. The final stop is Whittier, a town with just 200 residents and opportunities to explore more glaciers.
Glacier: Denali National Park
Points of Interest: Denali National Park, Denali Highway
The Denali Highway was rated the #2 "Drive of a Lifetime" by National Geographic. On this guided and narrated tour, you have the chance to travel 100+ miles round trip to see glaciers, panoramic vistas, snow-capped mountains, and wildlife. It's a great alternative to a crowded bus trip.
Glacier: Portage Glacier
Tour Type: Cruise & Land Tour
Points of Interest: Turnagain Arm, Mt. Alyeska, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier, Roundhouse Museum, Chugach Mountains
On this full-day tour, you'll get to travel the stunning All-American Road along the mountain-lined coast of scenic Turnagain Arm. You'll then make your way to the summit of Mt. Alyeska to experience the viewing decks of the Roundhouse Museum. If weather permits, you can see several glaciers from this viewpoint.
Glacier: Matanuska Glacier
Tour Type: Walking
Points of Interest: Matanuska Glacier, Matanuska Susitna Valley
On this tour, you'll spend over two hours on the Matanuska Glacier, a frozen 27-mile long river of ancient ice. Tucked away in the head of the Matanuska Valley, you'll be able to explore the beautiful ice formations, deep crevasses, and blue meltwater pools on this thousands of years old glacier.