The Mendenhall Glacier trek and climb is suitable for most ages and abilities, but you need to be in shape: the trek lasts up to 6.5 hours, and covers about 8 miles (12.8 km) total. You’ll wear a backpack weighing up to 15 pounds (7 kg) that is equipped with mountaineering gear, snacks, water, and any extra clothing you bring. Professional guides will be present the entire journey to make sure you remain safe and enjoy your time exploring the glacier.
The day begins with pickup from your Juneau hotel or the port. When you arrive at the trailhead for the Mendenhall Glacier, follow your guides on a 3.5-mile (6-km) trail through the rain forest along Mendenhall Lake. While the first mile is on a well-maintained path with a few switchbacks, the rest of the trail involves hiking on bedrock and rock scrambling in steep areas.
When you reach the glacier, you’ll be outfitted in trekking gear and receive a safety briefing. You’ll use crampons to make your way across glacial terrain that overlooks Mendenhall Lake. It may be the most physically challenging part of the hike, but it’s an unforgettable experience. Climb down to explore ice caves, and soak up great views of crevasses, streams, and other breathtaking glacial formations.
Afterward, head back down the trail and enjoy a relaxing ride back to your drop-off location.