MENDENHALL GLACIER TOURS

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Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour

  • 5.0
  • 5 hrs

  • $359 / person

Join the ultimate Alaskan adventure that takes you up close and personal with the Mendenhall Glacier. Our extended Alaska glacier tour gives you ample time for pictures and exploration while trekking with your guides next to READ MORE...

Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour

  • 4.9
  • 4 hrs

  • $239 / person

Be among the select few to travel by canoe for an unprecedented experience of the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. This tour is limited by permits issued by the National Parks Service so book early for this unique experience! Pad READ MORE...

Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour

  • 5.0
  • 3 hrs

  • $659 / person

This tour is the same as our Juneau Dog Sledding & Glacier Helicopter Tour except that it will take you on a thrilling mushing ride across the Mendenhall Glacier. After your transfer to the helicopter base, you'll take off on READ MORE...

Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour & Guided Walk

  • 4.9
  • 2.5 hrs

  • $379 / person

Featured on GOOD MORNING AMERICA -- travel back to the Ice Ages with Alaska's original glacier helicopter tour! Board a modern turbine-powered helicopter for a flight to the world-famous Mendenhall Glacier!

Juneau Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour

  • 4.7
  • 4.5 hrs

  • $219 / person

This combo is the best way to make the most of your day in Juneau! While out on the water, there is no doubt that you'll see humpback whales - this is the time of year they travel to Alaska to feed on thousands of pounds of k READ MORE...

Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip

  • 4.7
  • 3.5 hrs

  • $199 / person

Get ready for a true outdoor experience - you're going on an exhilarating river rafting adventure down the beautiful Mendenhall River. There is something for everyone; whether this is your first time or you're experienced! Yo READ MORE...

Juneau Auke Bay Paddle and Mendenhall Glacier

  • 5 hrs

  • From: $209 / person

Adventure along the captivating coast of Auke Bay on a sea kayaking experience with a short hike along Mendenhall Lake. A stopover on the West Glacier Trail allows for distant views of the Mendenhall Glacier, beautiful Nugge READ MORE...

Juneau Mendenhall Lake Kayaking Adventure

  • 4.8
  • 3.5 hrs

  • $269 / person

If you want to be the lucky few who can face the majestic Mendenhall Glacier under a very limited U.S. Forest Service permit, this is the right tour for you! Your guide will teach you kayaking techniques, then board the two-p READ MORE...

Juneau Glacier View Sea Kayaking

  • 4.6
  • 3.5 hrs

  • $154 / person

You'll be off to the north side of Douglas Island for panoramic views of the Mendenhall Glacier and Auke Bay, where you'll board a two-person kayak sailing as the Aleut Indians did! As you view the Mendenhall Glacier from the READ MORE...

Juneau Privately Guided Mendenhall Glacier Trek

  • 8 hrs

  • From: $265 / person

One of the most popular glaciers in Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier can be visited on this privately guided tour. Hike through the Tongass National Forest and around the majestic Mendenhall Glacier on foot. Exploring the uniqu READ MORE...

Juneau Whale Watching, Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Bake

  • 4.9
  • 6.25 hrs

  • $279 / person

Experience three of Juneau's most popular attractions with this three-in-one excursion! This tour begins with a narrated transfer to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor's Center. You'll have plenty of time to take in the majestic READ MORE...

Juneau Mendenhall Lake Kayak & Salmon Bake

  • 5 hrs

  • $309 / person

Experience tandem kayaking on the pristine glacial waters of the Mendenhall Lake. For two hours, navigate the waters with your professional guide as you take in the natural beauty and learn about the history and ecology of t READ MORE...

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About Mendenhall Glacier Tours

Best Mendenhall Glacier Tours & Excursions

1. Juneau Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour

2. Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour

3. Glacier Walk & Helicopter Tour

4. Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip

5. Juneau Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Bake Tour

6. Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour

7. Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour

8. Kayaking & Mendenhall Glacier Viewing

 

Visiting Mendenhall Glacier

If you're in the Juneau area, a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier is a must-do activity.

Mendenhall Glacier is a massive and mighty river of ice that extends 13 miles. Featuring vivid blue ice and awe-inspiring views of the magnificent Coast Mountains, the Mendenhall Glacier is a natural wonder. It is part of the Juneau Icefield, located within the Tongass National Forest

 

Visiting Mendenhall Glacier

When you visit, you’ll step back in time to the last ice age, when Juneau Icefield spilled forth with 38 glaciers, including the Mendenhall with its with rugged, icy crevasses. Have your camera ready as you wander along the well-maintained trails to view black bears, salmon streams, and even bald eagles.

You can get to the glacier via one of our scenic Medenhall Glacier tours, taxi, or car.

 

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor's Center

When you arrive at the visitor’s center, take a short walk on Photo Point Trail, about 0.15 miles, to a beautiful viewpoint, great for taking photos of the glacier. The trail is paved and accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.

Once you’ve taken the perfect glacier photo, head to the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center to learn more about the glacier and watch a 15-minute video. You can also pick up a trail map from the National Forest Service. Many people enjoy learning about the science of the glacier, along with the area’s rich history. The visitor’s center charges a small fee for entry, but you can use the restrooms and visit the bookstore for free. 

 

Nugget Falls

If you have more time, take a 15-20 minute walk along the trail to Nugget Falls to reach a large and beautiful waterfall. Enjoy the spectacular sight of the waterfall spilling into an iceberg-filled lake, with the glacier in the background. This is the closest you can get to the glacier from this side of the lake.

The Nugget Falls Trail is 2 miles roundtrip and takes about an hour to accomplish. It is a well-maintained, gentle trail with dirt and gravel.

 

Spotting Wildlife: Salmon and Black Bears

Those visiting the Mendenhall Glacier in late July through September can look for views of black bears fishing for salmon. Head left from the roundabout onto a series of boardwalks for the Steep Creek Trail. If you’re lucky, you’ll find black bears chasing the salmon that have spawned in the creek. (Don’t worry, bears can’t get up to the platforms where you’ll be.)

Steep Creek Trail is a 0.25 mile loop, and takes about 20 minutes to see. The trail is easy for most visitors, alternating between pavement and raised boardwalks.

 

Mendenhall Glacier Weather

Mendenhall Glacier weather is typically mildest in May through September. During the summer, expect highs in the 60s and always bring a rain jacket - just in case. (But don't let rain discourage your trip! The glacier is beautiful on cloudy days.)

Overcast days can bring some of the best glacier views and photographs, so don’t let a little rain discourage you! You can find the current Mendenhall Glacier weather conditions on our page.

 

Cool Mendenhall Glacier Facts

In addition to its splendor and beauty, the Mendenhall Glacier offers fascinating insights into science and history.

 

Why is the Ice Blue?

The ice appears blue, because it absorbs all of the colors of the visible light spectrum except blue, which it reflects. Other ice may appear white, because it is highly fractured with air pockets and scatters the visible light spectrum. The ice is bluest in the areas least exposed to air.

 

How Did the Glacier Form?

Year after year, snow accumulates and compacts underlying snow layers from previous years into solid ice. Snowfall in the Juneau Icefield often exceeds 100 feet, which creates excellent conditions for glaciation. Mendenhall Glacier is one of 38 glaciers that flow from Juneau Icefield.

 

The Glacier Looks Still; Is it Moving?

Yes, the glacier is always moving, shaping the landscape as it goes. While the movement is very, very slow, the glacier is always moving and flowing downhill like a river.

 

How Did Mendenhall Glacier Get its Name?

The glacier was actually orginally known as Sitaantaagu (“the Glacier Behind the Town”) or Aak’wtaaksit (“the Glacier Behind the Little Lake”). Naturalist John Muir named the glacier Auke Glacier in 1888. Then, in 1891, it was renamed in honor of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, who served as Superindendent of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1889 to 1894.  

 

Choosing Your Excursion

There's a Mendenhall Glacier tour for everyone. You can ride atop Mendenhall Lake by kayak, canoe, or raft or you can fly to the glacier via helicopter. For a truly exciting trip, the Ice Adventure tour can include a visit to the famous Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves if conditions are favorable.

For even more to do in Juneau, check out our list of the best things to do in Juneau.

 

FAQs

What are the best Mendenhall Glacier tours?

The best Mendenhall Glacier Tours are:

 

Can you walk on top of Mendenhall Glacier?

Yes, you can walk on top of Mendenhall Glacier. Our Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour lands on top of Mendenhall Glacier and allows you to walk around and experience the glacier.

 

Why is the Ice Blue?

The ice appears blue, because it absorbs all of the colors of the visible light spectrum except blue, which it reflects. Other ice may appear white, because it is highly fractured with air pockets and scatters the visible light spectrum. The ice is bluest in the areas least exposed to air.

 

Reviews for Mendenhall Glaicer

Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure:

“Our guides were both extremely professional and showed us amazing sites and info. The canoeing and glacier walk to the Mendenhall Glacier were spectacular. I am also grateful for all the preplanning you put in with the prepackaged snacks and water and hot beverages at the end. Would definitely recommend this to anyone!”

Sharon

 

Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour:

“This was a fantastic excursion and the highlight of our trip to Alaska. The whole operation is professional, safety first, and streamlined. The flight over was beautiful. As you leave the town of Juneau, you head over the mountains and get a frontal look at Mendenhall Glacier meeting the lake. You then go out further and see the other glaciers in the area and the Juneau Icefield. This gives you an amazing perspective that simply can't be achieved on the ground. Once on the glacier, you are assigned to a musher and a dog team, there were 4 of us assigned to a sled. They stopped enough times for each of us to sit or stand in a different sled position. We got to meet the dogs and there were also puppies at the time we were there. The flight back was equally amazing with a buzz over the Mendenhall Glacier again. This is a don't miss activity and well worth the money spent!”

Frank

 

Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour:

“We thoroughly enjoyed our canoe trip to see Nugget Falls and the Mendenhall Glacier. Our guides, David and Meara were well prepared, knowledgeable, professional and a lot of fun. I would highly recommend doing this tour.”

Dean

 

Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour:

“This is a top notch excursion and I highly recommend it. The whale watching was fantastic. Saw multiple humpbacks at three different areas blowing, breaching and slapping their tales. We even had one breach within 10 feet of the boat! Captain Kyle and his crew, Greg and Nate, were all very friendly, knowledgeable and professional. They even took us to an area where we saw a huge colony of 100+ Stellar sea lions! Can't speak highly enough of them. Mendenhall Glacier is spectacular and not to be missed on your trip to Juneau.”

Louis

 

Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour:

“This was the best experience of our entire trip! The staff was amazing and so friendly. This is definitely worth the money spent. The glacier is beautiful and the helicopter flight made it possible to see so much at one time. Experience of a lifetime.”

Kendra