Seeing Juneau from above reveals a town nestled between glaciated mountains and the Gastineau Channel. TEMSCO helicopter pilots have been sharing this view with visitors for decades, perfecting satisfying excursion opportunities for busy travelers. One of their most popular trips packs in scenic flightseeing and a glacier landing at a sled dog camp, where you’ll experience the ultimate in Alaskan adventure: riding (or driving!) a sled while an energetic team of huskies tours you around an ancient, snow-packed glacier.
Your journey begins with a safety briefing, snow-boot fitting, and lift-off from the helicopter dock. A 15-minute flight reveals rainforests, icy mountain peaks, and the southern end of the Juneau Icefield. Check out moraines, seracs, and crevasses from above before landing on Mendenhall Glacier, where a summer dog camp houses dozens of dogs who simply love to run. They’ll get excited when they hear your helicopter approaching, as they know adventure is soon to follow. The next 20-25 minutes is spent talking with veteran mushers, holding puppies and riding behind an energetic team that whisks you over the snow-packed glacier with astonishing ease. You can even try driving the sled yourself to get the full experience of Alaska’s state sport. Before heading back, you’ll have time to get some photos and appreciate the remote and rugged beauty of this place, just a short flight from Alaska’s capital city.
When TEMSCO launched in 1958, its mission was pretty straightforward. An acronym for Timber, Exploration, Mining, Survey, Cargo Operations, the Ketchikan-based helicopter company was founded to provide support and rescue capabilities for the lumber, fishing and mining industries, since its aircraft could reach places that fixed-wing planes couldn’t—namely, by landing on ice.
Great Views, Unparalleled Access
In the 1980s, TEMSCO added tourism to its repertoire, offering travelers both amazing views of the mountains, glaciers and vast, untouched landscapes, as well as unparalleled access once the helicopter lands. TEMSCO’s tours – based out of Juneau or Skagway – give you the chance to walk on glaciers, drink glacier water straight from the source, or go dogsledding in some of the most beautiful and pristine environments imaginable.
Though there are no age requirements for TEMSCO tours, they do require a moderate level of activity. Guests will need to be able to walk a minimum of 100 feet to and from the helicopter, over uneven snow, as well as have the ability to get on and off the helicopter (which requires navigating two 13” steps).