If I visited in the summer I wouldn’t enter inside the caves but it would still be awesome to see. When the trees were shorter, you could see the glacier well from the road, but now you have to hike a ways before the ice face comes into view. The term ice cave, it turns out, is sometimes used by geologists to describe a regular bedrock cave that features year-round ice, but as its usually meant when discussing Alaska, ice caves refer, well, to caves within a body of ice, namely a glacier. Before you go on ice cave trail, map out your route and become very familiar with it. It is technical in the sense of climbing rock faces and making sure you pay attention to the little pink/orange ribbons tied along the trail. Now this wasn’t an ‘ice tunnel’ but it was pretty great adventure out at Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is a very popular tourist destination, conveniently located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska, so if you happen to be in Juneau or are planning a trip there, a visit at least to the glacier is a must. My hike to the ice caves was a crew tour that was led by one of the personal trainers onboard who’s hiked this route many times and knew where to take us. Discover the optimal month due to daylight, temperature, and rain. Boutique, small ship adventure cruises in Alaska's Inside Passage, Cruises depart from Whittier, a 1 hr drive from Anchorage. The path is a mile and a half long but to get to the ice caves you'll jump off the path (to the left towards the glacier) after about a mile and start heading through the trees. You will be scrambling around without a trace of a trail. Kluane Ice Cave trail: Once a well-kept secret by the locals, this hike went viral as scores of Yukoners and tourists have since flocked to this accessible ice cave (which is really a tunnel). 10/10 recommend. Campgrounds, RV Parks & Public Use Cabins. We did a variation of this hike, and with the occasional loss of GPS, downloading this alltrails map and carefully reading the reviews were both invaluable to our experience. It is best to see the ice caves in the winter season if you really want to see them ! The only cave we found was too deep with glacier water. Kick off your journey to the Mendenhall Ice Caves by heading to Juneau, Alaska’s state capital. You will come to where the glacier meets the valley, but be wary as the entire side of the mountain to get down to the glacier is shale and dangerous to walk down. Mendenhall Lake, mostly frozen over, and the Mendenhall Glacier. The Erie Mine Trail continues past the turn to the Root Glacier, running parallel to the glacier for approximately 2.5 more miles. 7,001 Reviews #5 of 66 things to do in Juneau. A lot of rock hiking and scrambling up some steep cliffs. Travel on a set itinerary with lodging and tours booked in advance. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from June until August. Also, going inside the caves is not recommended. Overwhelmed by choices? The route is easy to follow up a creek bed, which takes you right to the cave, with its huge arch of blue ice. There’s really no designated path so you have to keep checking all trails. Watch Queue Queue Toll Free: 1-877-783-5566. ". Focus on Denali & Kenai Fjords. This is that exact trail, so I am not sure what she is on about. Dogs are also able to use this trail. This has been one of my favorite hikes in my life. Where I went wrong and where you can go right: It’s fun to have an impromptu snowball fight in snowfields left over from winter avalanches, or take one of the multiple side trails that will lead you to the edge of the valley where bouldering opportunities abound. We'll match you with a local itinerary expert to help you plan your trip. Cleats preferably if you are to walk around on the glacier. There was one challenging rock climb, but all we had to do was slow down a bit and watch our footing and the entire group made it with no problems. Find Matching Tours. Bring a light jacket, as winds tend to pick up around the face of the glacier itself. Getting up close and personal with an ice cave in Alaska is not for the faint of heart. Ice Cave Trail est un sentier allez-retour de 8.2 miles peu fréquenté situé près de Haines Junction, Yukon en Canada. My Cruise Planner . Difficult rock scramble throughout. The use of crampons is strongly recommended. You can reach the foot of the glacier in less than an hour of hiking, and at that point there are a few options. Byron Glacier, Chugach National Forest, Alaska Nordic skating inside Byron Glacier. / World Famous Snowmobile Tours Just South of Anchorage, AK . Please try again. Mendenhall Glacier And ice cave tour This excursion in Juneau, Alaska was a once in a lifetime experience. It's a one-mile scenic walk to the glacier face along Byron Creek. Length 6.1 mi Elevation gain 626 ft Route type Out & Back There are reputedly ice caves in the area (hence, the name), but I haven't located these yet. It’s likely that nobody on the ship would take you to the ice caves since it’s not offered to passengers as a tour or anything. Find how many days you need based on what you want to see and do in Alaska. Keep in mind that if you go inside the caves, you are hiking on the actual frozen creek and in some spots towards the very back you can hear the running water below you. - Pack water, snacks, and layers. A stay at the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge puts you just four miles from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park’s main visitor center in Copper Center, Alaska, about a … Can be difficult at times. Outdoors Editor’s note: Trip Report is an ongoing series about trail conditions around Interior Alaska. If trying to get to the glacier and/or see ice caves, take West Glacier Trail to West Glacier Spur Trail instead; much easier. The classic Alaska Cruise, offered by such companies as Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. - Allow 4+ hours Read the sign posted at the trail head prior to starting. Allison and Paul from Liquid Alaska Tours were greet tour guides. Why Everyone Should Explore These Ice Caves In Alaska At Least Once. The only way to access them in the summer is by kayak or the West Glacier Trail Hike. However, the trails only lead you to overlooks. DO NOT PROCEED. This might be one of my most favorite hikes here in Juneau. Great hike, rain or shine. Head south from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, to the end of the 5-mile Portage Spur Road. Very mixed terrain with enough difficulty to make it a great hike. The Alaska Railroad is your transportation method. Discover Mendenhall Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska: Breathtakingly blue walls shimmer inside the "Glacier Behind the Town. The network of cerulean ice caves is what makes Mendenhall Glacier so unique and special. As you approach the glacier, the forest thins out to display views of the rugged cliffs and glacier and—if you turn around—Portage Lake and Valley. Beautiful hike, though. Self-drive vacations. Hiking through Time . If the trails are as flooded as they were when I did it, nothing will save you The second half of the trail is rocky and features a small stream crossing. Sign-up for any of the following email series to help plan your Alaska trip. Trips available from Whittier, Homer, Seward, Juneau, and Sitka. Ice fields are special places. We are about a level 7/10 level hikers. *Jessica a reviewer below, tells you not to take this hike and to take the west glacier trail to the west glacier spurt trail. I’m relatively in good shape but my 57-year-old mom who was in the ICU 6 months ago was able to do it. The Mendenhall Ice Caves are situated behind Mendenhall Glacier, 12 miles outside of Juneau, Alaska. Use our calculator to find out, Stay casual, dress in layers, and get proper footwear, Guides to the best locations around the state to view wildlife. We were grateful to have our windbreakers because it is colder and windier than you'd expect right at the glacier. The views of the glacier and nugget falls are great. You will reach flowing water which you will need to navigate or jump across, big crevices, and slippery boulders covered in moss. - GPS tracking. This is NOT a 2mi hike to the glacier. Be comfortable navigating without a clear trail. *a lot of reviews are saying distances are incorrect, I found this to be untrue. (Glacier cave is probably a better term, technically speaking). You can either hike along the glacier's edge, and find ice caves and little streams, or you can head up to one of the ridges. Alaska has several huge fields that are larger than some states. The truth is that most people stop at the visitor’s center for a quick walkthrough, take a photo on the deck and then get back on the road, to Whittier or elsewhere. We paddled a canoe with ten other tourists and our two guides across Mendenhall Lake towards the glacier. WARNING about this... if it has rained recently the trail WILL be flooded. At present there are only 2 companies that go where the ice caves are located, one is a long hike and the other is a canoe trip. Much of the trail is close to Byron Creek, where kids can play among the smooth stones, but keep an eye because the water is cold and sometimes rapid. 3 times on this trail we had to navigate around 1-2 feet of water, and still ended up with fully submerged shoes. Stops include Seward (Kenai Fjords), Girdwood, Whittier & Spencer Glacier, Stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali National Park & Fairbanks. Forest service warns against winter travel due to steep walls of Byron Valley and high snowfall, which makes the area prone to avalanche risks. This trail does offer better frontal views of both the glacier and the Nugget Waterfall but West Glacier Spur Trail did not disappoint. Select your cruise ship and we’ll display only the tours that work with your schedule in each port. See my review there for details. There was a problem with your submission. Once you get up this, you will likely lose the trail, because THERE IS NO TRAIL. Used crampons to climb inside the ice cave. This trail is fairly easy to find. It’s been raining so there are a few puddles and slick rocks. 7-10 days is the most common. The most famous Alaskan ice caves are located under Mendenhall, Root, Spencer, Matanuska, and Kennicott Glaciers. I have never written a review on a hike, but I felt if I did not share my experience with this trail I was breaking some sort of hikers code. Glacier City Snowmobile Tours will take you on a 30 mile Snowmobile tour of Glaciers and Ice Caves in Alaska. So I might not take this hike on a wet day. Many people from all around the world come to Alaska to see this natural phenomenon. From here, there is no set trail so feel free to go your own route. At this point, you will run out of pink and orange tags and find yourself essentially cliffed out. Yet it’s hard for an adventure hound not to be totally captivated by the epic pictures floating around the internet. Byron Glacier trailhead is near Portage Lake. I ended up not making it to the ice caves. If your goal is to reach the ice caves, turn right down west glacier spur trail. It is not as much physically taxing, as it is mentally. Be sure to bring rain gear: this valley is known to trap clouds that produce everything from slow drizzles to the less-frequent (but pelting) cloudbursts. Juneau Alaska Adventures offers a guided hike along West Glacier Trail to some of Alaska's great ice caves. Let us simplify it for you, How much does an Alaska summer vacation cost? Guided tours in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area have to be permitted by the US Forest Service. Follow the winding, mostly flat trail through a rocky, verdant alluvial plain that is now interspersed with tall alders and a smattering of cottonwood and aspen trees. Cruises and land tours are great ways to see Alaska. There are no pink/ orange markers out here. United States ; Alaska (AK) Juneau ; Juneau - Things to Do ; Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center; Search. This trail is no walk in the park. The trail continues in and out of brush and along the top of the moraine, above the glacier. At times, the little pink/orange ribbons are few and far between, so don't panic if you're used to more trail blazing - just be prepared to carefully double back if you find yourself in the bushes. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from June until August. Pepper Peak – One of Eklutna Lake’s best… July 2, 2020 July 2, 2020 This is where you will be parking and is the trailhead for Byron Glacier. Loved it! Ice Cave Trail is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Auke Bay, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Local: 907-783-5566. At some point during this time you will get to a fork where you will decide to go right down the west glacier spur trail or continue on the west glacier trail. Alaska Railroad: Adventure Class or Goldstar Dome Car Service? August 2013 - We thoroughly enjoyed our ten hour trail, glacier, and ice cave hike with our ABA guides, Brigit and Chelsea. Perfect combination of easy and difficult hiking. Mendenhall Ice Caves – So what exactly are the Mendenhall ice caves and why do people’s eyes seem to light up with an enchanting glow when they hear those. Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. When are you coming? Visit September to April to see the Northern Lights, Best Northern Lights Viewing Spots Near Anchorage, How to Travel to Alaska in January and February, The Best Large Family & Group Vacations in Alaska, How to Get from Anchorage to Your Cruise Port in Whittier or Seward (or the reverse!). The West Glacier Trail starts out in a forest and is fairly level. Home ; Snowmobile Tours. I am late 20’s slightly above average shape. The trail starts at a well-marked pullout, about half a mile from the end of the road. The Ice Caves under Mendenhall Glacier - Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Retrace your steps back to west glacier trail and avoid the temptation of climbing down to the west glacier spur trail which is visible from this look out. The ice cave was unfortunately covered, so we didn't get to see it. Very steep climb up a wet rock face. Click here for more information. The Ice Cave Creek Trail is a new trail that splits off the Palmer Lake to Limbaugh Canyon (715 Trail) trail to the north. We were lucky to hike on a dry day, and I don't think we would have been able to do it on Juneau's typical rainy days with our gear. I live in anchorage and am an avid, experienced hiker. There are pink and orange ribbons along the way as well if you get turned around. “Brice, what is one thing you would want to do in Alaska?” Me: “Crawl in an ice cave”. Popular Alaska Itineraries Using In-State Airlines, Anchorage to Denali National Park Driving Map. Be careful to stay on the appropriate trail. Portage Valley may be one of the most popular visitor destinations in Alaska, but don't let that scare you away. The hike through the switchback was very doable for us. Ice Cave Trail is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Auke Bay, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as difficult. I can’t stress how important I think it is to bring someone with you who has done the hike Here’s why. There are a lot of paths that are trodden for the vistas, but not necessarily part of the trail. The wind off of the glacier is cold and strong. I work seasonally for Princess Cruises. Be careful and take it in while you can. The first 1-1.5 miles is pretty easy and follows a well maintained path. It’s risky and it’s undeniably life threatening. If you choose to continue on west glacier trail, then you will continue hiking uphill adjacent and above the glacier. More on the west glacier spur trail... this involves scrambling over wet, huge boulders and climbing up a HUGE cliff-like hill where you will be using your hands to climb up the 80 degree angle. You should add about .5 miles or so to the end of the trail each way. Dogs are also able to use this trail. However, it can be muddy and quite slippery, in some areas. Plan your journey with this gorgeous printed map. I might recommend taking a guided tour if you want to hike the glacier and any caves right now. Car, train, or group tour. ice can be very slippery and dangerous. WARNING about this... if you continue on west glacier trail, there will be another fork that IS NOT A MARKED TRAIL. Wear Water proof hiking boots. HINWEIS: Diese Strecke gilt als "technisch" mit einigen steilen Gefällen, Krabbeln sowie eisigen und rutschigen Bedingungen (wetterabhängig). Would recommend some spikes. Your Cruise Ship / Edit . Free personal GPS–driven travel guide to Alaska. Great hike and very tiring when coming back ! You will need more than micro or nano crampons. Not all the way to the glacier. The 3.2-mile (5.1 km) Byron Glacier Trail is flat and well-maintained. One of the coolest destinations at the end of this hike with great views of the glacier along the way, my fiancé and I are from Florida and we did it just fine. Highlights plus less visited destinations. Of note, trail milage is incorrect on AllTrails. That said, accessing them is no easy feat. Geologic Formations, Visitor Centers. Open today: 8:00 AM … As you fly into Alaska’s capital city of Juneau and descend into the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, that rare and unique beauty that overcomes you is guaranteed to blow your mind straight into another universe. Which one is right for you? The most intimate multi-day cruise option. Please check your email to verify your subscription. Rent a car and travel independently on a set itinerary, with lodging and tours booked in advance. And while it’s true that the valley's blue ice and glacial scenery is outstanding from Portage Glacier Rd, it gets even better if you take the short hike to Byron Glacier. Navigating around the water also posed a great risk of getting lost, as the trail is located in deep brush. The trail was fine, just a few parts where it was iced over, slippery but overall had no problems. The hike isn’t very hard as far as distance or elevation climbed. Weather and conditions permitting, tourists can then see an expansive dreamlike scene, inside the glacier. However, be a smart hiker! Located a short 12 miles outside Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are ever-changing due to melting ice and glacier recession but an absolute wonder to explore. Not on a cruise. Juneau Ice Caves. The unofficial trail will have pink and orange markers that lead you down into thick brush, slippery rocks, and lead to a very steep lookout on rock peninsula. Le sentier vous offrira la possibilité d'observer la faune et sa difficulté est évaluée comme difficile. This short day hike—with an easily accessible trailhead a few hundred meters from the Begich Boggs Visitor Center—offers you big views of the Byron Glacier. " Anchorage - Glaciers/Ice Caves" - Anchorage doesn't have any glaciers close to it that will have ice caves & I wouldn't recommend accessing them - that being said, "close" is a relative term; and I'm betting you actually mean anywhere you might access on your trip to Alaska. 8150 Mendenhall Loop Rd, Tongass National Forest, Juneau, AK 99801. Mount McGinnis Trail via West Glacier Trail, John Muir Recreation Cabin via Winter Trail. Absolutely beautiful. This is difficult hike and hikers should take proper precautions and read prior reviews before attempting. Juneau is situated at the base of the 3,819-foot Mount Roberts on Alaska’s Inside Passage. NOTE: This trail is considered "technical" with some steep drop offs, scrambling, and icy and slick conditions (dependent on weather). - Ice caves are dangerous and there were two that caved in just days before I hiked. The views are absolutely breathtaking. I followed along with my AllTrails Pro app and my Garmin Fenix 5x watch. Difficult and longer but worth it. Mendenhall glacier looks good any which way. If you are trying to get to the glacier and / or ice caves this is the trail you want. The Bagley Icefield, which is the largest non-polar … Le sentier offre plusieurs activités et est accessible toute l'année. This video is unavailable. See Alaska's highlights by railroad or motorcoach in a group of up to 50, Travel in small groups, stay at exclusive wilderness lodges, and spend more time outdoors, All-inclusive multi-day vacation packages at a remote wilderness lodge, Travel with a professional photographer to the best photo locations around the state, Trips range from backpacking, rafting, to upscale remote lodge retreats, Cruises depart Juneau or Sitka. Naturally, we couldn’t visit Juneau and miss the chance to experience the ice caves for ourselves. Simply put, it’s very dangerous. Byron glacier is located in about 49 miles (79 km) south of Anchorage, not far from Girdwood, Alaska. Make sure you pay attention to the orange ties to stay on track when climbing the rocks. We ended up rock climbing down some cliff sides (we slid down some rock that looked like original path and couldn’t get back up). The trail head is located near Begich Boggs Visitor Center. In Alaska, however, we also have caves of ice! The Byron Glacier Ice Caves. Watch Queue Queue. Also a perfect day to hike. As you venture inward, it’ll be impossible not to notice the supreme beauty that surrounds you. In winter, you have to hoof it across the frozen lake. Super unique. The Jumbo Creek ice cave in Root Glacier lets you stand inside a gorgeous space enclosed by blue-ice. Obviously, the glacier itself is rewarding and awe-inspiring and not just a little bittersweet. - Don’t hike alone. I recommend sturdy, grippy hiking shoes and a willingness to use your hands for boulder scrambling. Trying to get to see it your route and become very familiar with it,. Travel independently on a set itinerary with lodging and tours booked in advance 7,001 reviews # 5 of Things... You should add about.5 miles or so to the Mendenhall ice caves are located under Mendenhall glacier, National... Trying to get to see this natural phenomenon, experienced hiker Least once by blue-ice hiking... 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