After making your way to the Alaska Railroad station in downtown Anchorage, you will check in for your train ride to Spencer Whistle Stop on the Glacier Discovery Train. You will meet your guide on the train at the second Portage, Whittier stop (where you will have a chance to stretch your legs). While on the train, when not enjoying the beautiful scenery, all guests will fill out a hiking application and sign a waiver.
The Spencer Glacier is located just south of Portage Valley and the Turnagain Arm in the Kenai Mountains and the Chugach National Forest. It is entirely off the road system, so you will ride a train from Anchorage, Girdwood, or Portage with breathtaking views of glaciers and towering alpine peaks. The tour is operated under permit from the Chugach National Forest.
From the Spencer Whistle Stop, your group of a maximum of 9 per guide will board a bus for a short dirt road jaunt to the base camp at the lake edge. This saves 2 miles of walking, and will get you past the crowds, directly to the most scenic spot. From base camp, the hike will take you along the lake edge, stopping at overlooks to enjoy outstanding views of the glacier and icebergs floating in the Spencer terminal lake. The total distance from the edge of the lake to the glacier is just over 2 miles (each way) of flat Forest Service-maintained trails. You will not walk on the glacier for this hike, but you will get right up to it! The total hiking time is approximately 3 hours, and is a total of up to 4.2 miles round trip. Your guide will set the pace based on the group's fitness level and desires. About 8 hours of the tour is riding the scenic Glacier Discovery Train.
Your hike includes many photo and rest stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, history and glaciology. Guests visiting Spencer Glacier will surely come away with great photographs and memories, and better respect and knowledge about glaciers, mountain weather, and the history of Alaska.
After the hike, you will board the Northbound Glacier Discovery train, making several stops before returning to the downtown Anchorage train station at the end of an incredible day of travel and exploration.
Please Note: Participants must arrive prepared. Guests must dress in warm synthetic clothes in multiple layers, the top layer being waterproof. Cotton clothes, including blue jeans, are not recommended. Long synthetic pants, a fleece jacket or thin mid layer, and sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes are required. Each guest should bring a backpack, a warm hat, light weight gloves, and sunglasses. Cameras and binoculars are strongly recommended.
Bear protection, trekking poles, bottled water, a snack, and a boxed lunch will be provided. Additional meals may be purchased on the train. The tour operates in all weather conditions, at the discretion of the guide.
Reviewer: Capt. KB
In spite of the rain Amy was very informative, the hike to the glacier was not difficult but you do not get up to it as expected. No wild life at all - may have been the rain or season.
Great Excusrsion, but found it to be too rushed getting back to the Train for pickup.