Top Glacier Tours in Alaska
The largest and wildest state in the US, Alaska promises sightseeing on an epic scale. With an estimated 34,000 square miles (88,000 square kilometers) of the state covered by glaciers, it’s one of the best places to see these icy natural wonders up close. Here are just a few Alaskan glaciers that you can see on guided tours.
Just a short drive from Juneau, Mendenhall is one of Alaska’s more accessible glaciers. The glacier is the backdrop for all sorts of adventure tours, from kayaking, canoeing, and rafting around its base to glacier hikes on the ice.
The largest of the 30-plus glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, Bear Glacier can be seen during cruises around Resurrection Bay. At the glacier is Bear Glacier Lagoon, where you can often see lots of large floating icebergs.
Situated in the protected waters of Blackstone Bay, this mammoth glacier is an active, calving glacier that flows down from the mountains. During cruises around Prince William Sound, listen for the crackling, groaning, and thundering sound of chunks of ice breaking off either from Blackstone Glacier or its nearby neighbors, Beloit and Northland glaciers.
Another easily accessible Alaska glacier, Exit Glacier can be reached by a 15-minute drive from Seward, followed by a 15- to 20-minute hike. Once there, follow the Edge of the Glacier Trail or the more challenging Harding Ice Trail, which offers views of the Harding Icefield, the source of about 38 named glaciers. Guided glacier hikes and ice climbing excursions also take place on Exit Glacier.
Helicopters departing from Seward soar over this mammoth glacier, offering bird’s-eye views of the icy expanse. You can also go sledding on the glacier’s surface with a team of husky dogs pulling you along.
This vast tidewater glacier—among the largest of its kind in the state—is accessible from Valdez, and you can see it during cruises of Prince William Sound. Situated in the eastern part of the sound and covering an area of around 400 square miles (1,030 square kilometers), it’s truly immense, with the wall of glacier ice measuring 200 to 400 feet (61 to 122 meters) tall. However, getting close can be difficult, with big chunks of ice being shed regularly.