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 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 group's pace and weather conditions for the day.
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.
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!
Reviewer: Nicki Branch, 56 yr old mom
Went on this trek with my 18 yr old son in September 2014. It was pretty strenuous, but epic adventure. Not for the faint of heart, the uphill rock climb is challenging. Great guides who took care of each climber. The ice cave was definitely worth it though. My son said best trip ever. Gnarly, epic, gorgeous views, glacier travel on crampons, scrambling up scree after the awesome ice cave experience and long trek back. Be in shape for this 9 mile trek and you won't regret it.
This excursion was more than I expected in many respects. By far, it was the most challenging hike I have ever taken, as well as one of the most unique and beautiful hikes. The trek provided an intimate glimpse of the beautiful Alaskan landscape. The guides (Sam and Annie) were fantastic and safety-oriented. For those considering this excursion, be aware that it is a long (6.5+ hrs), challenging hike (over terrane that is occasionally steep, frequently uneven), requires endurance (especially on the return trip from the glacier back to the van) and strength (to carry pack and continuously trek over steep inclines and rough terrane). Wear comfortable (broken-in) water-proof hiking boots, dress in layers (at some points of the hike you will be down to one layer; at the glacier you will have all layers on). If you are not physically fit, this excursion will be very challenging.
This was an excellent challenging hike with excellent very knowledgeable guides.
This was a once in a lifetime experience! The guides Brad and Miles did a fantastic job! Especially Brad, who knew where the exciting views were on this shifting glacier. We were able to visit a lake on the glacier, a glacier mill, and an ice cave. Brad and Miles were entertaining, very helpful, knowledgeable, experienced hikers, and they knew how much we could handle. Even though it was a pretty adventurous hike and not easy, I felt safe all the time. The excursion is relatively pricy, but considering all the exciting sights we saw on this 7 hour long outing, we felt it was well worth it.