Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mendenhall Glacier

Just outside of Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier is one of the more accessible Alaskan glaciers.  Somewhat dirty at the face, it's still impressive, a frozen flow into a lake dotted with icebergs, surrounded by rugged mountains and greenery. 

Mendenhall Glacier 
Hikes of various difficulties span the park.  For an easy walk, take the boardwalk trail around Steep Creek, where you might see salmon spawning in July or August, or the flat walk out to Nugget Falls, which crashes into the lake and dwarves the spectators.  Information on various longer hikes can be found at the visitor center or online.          
Kayaking on the Mendenhall Lake
Nugget Falls at Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau
Steep Creek Trail, Mendenhall Glacier

To get there, you can take a shuttle bus ($16 round trip) from the cruise ship docks, or catch a much cheaper city bus, which will drop you off a mile or so short of the glacier.  Entry is free to the glacier, and the visitor center charges a modest fee. 

UPDATE 2020:  The shuttle was $16 in 2011.  In 2019 I believe it was $45.  It'll probably increase. This ridiculously inflated price does include the fee they're now charging for entry to the park, which you'll have to pay yourself if you come by bus, etc.  However, the fee's only $5 per adult, free for children, and free with any national park pass.      

If you want more information about Mendenhall Glacier,