Mendenhall Glacier Trek
Mendenhall Glacier Hike on Juneau Day Trip Trek
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 3 hour hike over a 4 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 vertical elevation gain is about 800 feet. It is all worth it when you climb the final ridge, and the jagged face of the glacier bursts into view with its river of ice coursing behind it.
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 Mendenhall glacier trek, 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 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: D. Rajan
A unique and challenging experience with guides who were funny, patient, passionate about their work and about teaching us, and who always made safety a priority. I had a wonderful time!
Reviewer: Tanuj Bansal
Was really glad to have picked this excursion. Superb guides. Went above and beyond. Really made it special and made me want to tell everyone (though this 9+ mile trip is not for everyone).
Reviewer: Jitinard Wongwaiwit
Our group of 4 love this trip.
Reviewer: Brittany Baker
This was an amazing experience! The guides were personable, fun, knowledgeable, and just plain awesome (thanks Jacques!) I was very nervous going on this hike because I am not super active (I work in banking and exercise a few times a week) and am not in the best shape. It was strenuous but doable. The longest hike I’ve ever done was maybe 5 miles so this was longer and tougher but worth it! The pace was pretty quick for my short legs but I was able to keep up. I would recommend bringing bug spray - the hike in the forest is warm and the mosquitoes are huge! Dress in layers! We went in late May and it was quite warm in the forest and chilly on the glacier. Bring extra water - we drank an extra liter between my husband and I. Overall, this was a once in a lifetime experience and I highly recommend it - was it challenging? Yes! Was every second worth it? YES!!
Reviewer: Dan Turner
What a great trip! The trek through the forest was an adventure in itself. Lots to see and enjoy but the views of the glacier were magnificent. And finally walking on the “river of ice” was a memory that will last a lifetime! Our two guides, Josh and JC constantly went out of their way to ensure our safety and at the same time made sure we saw all the sites. With all this beauty came a fairly strenuous hike with lots of ups and downs, crossing exposed bedrock. Good boots are a must. As a 72 year old male who is in decent shape, I did struggle at times. The real pain came the day after. I had done a lots of walking prior to the trek but neglected to condition my quads. Yes, there is lots of downhills on the return trip. Going down stairs was a challenge for a few days. Would I do it again, you bet. As the glaciers continue to decline, this was a trip of a lifetime for me.