Trace the path of glacial succession and the natural history of the Mendenhall Glacier as you trek across it on this Juneau day trip.
After departing the pier, you will be driven for approximately 30 minutes to the Mendenhall Valley and the trailhead. After a 30-minute check-in and gear orientation, you will begin an approximately 2 hour hike over a 4.5 mile trail. The hike is mostly uphill, through the rainforest along Mendenhall Lake. The first mile of the trail is well maintained, and goes through forests with a few switchbacks, while the second half of the trail is uneven and includes areas of mud, slippery bedrock, loose gravel, rock scrambling, and multiple short, steep, up and downhill sections. The elevation gain is more than 350 feet.
Once you reach the terminus of the glacier, you will be outfitted in trekking gear. Guides will instruct you step by step on how to trek in crampons on glacial terrain. This Juneau trip features close-up views of the many different features of a glacier. These MAY include ice caves, streams, crevasses and other unique glacial formations. As a glacier is a constantly changing landscape, the actual sights seen during your trek will be finalized the day of the trek, and will be based on weather, glacial condition, and guest safety. The amount of time on the glacier is dependent on the tour group's pace and Alaska weather conditions for the day.
Towards the end of the excursion, you will then return to the starting point along the same trail you hiked at the beginning.
Please Note: You must be in good shape and able to hike for 6 to 6.5 hours, covering about 9 miles round trip in a challenging environment (please see hike description above). It is important to have sturdy shoes or boots that provide good ankle support while hiking on the rocky terrain. Guests showing up with inadequate footwear will be denied participation and will not be entitled to a refund.
All participants will need to hike with a provided backpack the entire way on this trip. The backpack weighs approximately 10 to 15 pounds and holds mountaineering gear, snacks, water, and extra clothing that you may wish to bring.
Any guests who cannot keep up with the pace of the rest of the group, or feel they cannot go on with the hike, must hire another guide to assist them back down the trail. The additional cost for this service is $250 US per person, and must be paid when you finish the hike back down. Guests preferring a slower pace, or who feel they may not be able to keep up with the group, may wish to book the Private Glacier Trek Hiking tour.
Just amazing! The hike is at an aggressive pace, on difficult terrain with steep ups and downs on wet sometimes slippery surfaces, jumping on rocks to cross streams, some rock climbing, and rain is typical. But it is a great workout, and the glacier is spectacular! Despite slipping a couple of times, and having a little difficulty sometimes with foot placement (short legs), I would want to do it again! My pack was a bit large for me and did not have chest straps, so at times it was a bit awkward. Definitely need to have a decent level of fitness, especially if older. For reference, 58 years old, 5'1", run 30-40 miles a week including some groomed trails, a little hiking on groomed trails, yoga with weights couple times a week. Ran a half marathon on Saturday before the Sunday cruise departure and this hike on a Wednesday.
Reviewer: Eric Slack
Can't say enough great things about the ABAK tour group (Casey and Brittany) and the excursion. The hike was great, the glacier was just amazing, and the general sense of fun and adventure with the group was great. Top notch excursion.
Reviewer: Cody Van
Had been looking forward to this long trek for months and the guides did not let us down. We hiked in the rain all day but had so much fun and enjoyed some breathtaking scenery. The conditions were also ripe for an ice cave jaunt!
Reviewer: Chris & Jeanene
Our guides were wonderful. We were looking for an excursion that was rigorous and this one met the bill. From the moment the guides picked us up they were fun, informative, and always safety conscious. We saw beautiful sights, walked thru icecaves, walked on the glacier and into crevasses. This activity surpassed our expectations. I would highly recommend it.
Reviewer: Katharine Vance
My husband and I really enjoyed hiking in the rain forest and then out on the glacier! The hike included navigating over large boulders and lots of elevation change, so if that kind of thing isn't fun for you, you may want to avoid this excursion (we had a lady on our trip who complained the whole way). Hiking on the glacier was really interesting! Our guide, Jacob, was very knowledgeable and fun!