Anchorage Glacier Tours
It's easy to see a glacier if you're in Anchorage. Within just an hour or two (quicker by plane!) of Alaska's largest city, you can be looking at some of the most dramatic glacier scenery in the state.
From Anchorage: By Air
The quickest way to see a glacier from Anchorage is to hop in a plane or helicopter, and soar over the sweeping glacier landscape. You'll get a true sense of how enormous these rivers of ice are, and will be able to see all the amazing crevasses and features from above. Tours will fly to the nearby Knik Glacier or Lake George, or over Prince William Sound. This is a great option if you're short on time, but the price tag is higher than a tour by boat or other means. Still, flightseeing is worth it if you can swing it.
South of Anchorage
There are three areas south of Anchorage you can go check out a glacier, and they're all doable as a day trip.
The closest is Portage Glacier (1 hr), where you'll take a small boat up to the face. You can also stop into the Begich Boggs Visitor Center. This is another great option if you're short on time, but don't have the budget for a flightseeing tour.
Getting There: Drive or arrange for a bus transfer when you book your boat tour
Whittier: Prince William Sound
Whittier provides access to Prince William Sound. Here you'll find the largest concentration of tidewater glaciers in North America. You can see them on a day cruise, jet ski, or kayaking trip.
Getting There: You can drive, arrange for a bus transfer with your day cruise, or, travel on the Glacier Discovery train.
In summer, Spencer Glacier is only accessible by railroad! Once there you can walk the trail down to the lakefront, or opt for a tour that gets you closer, which is what we recommend. You'll raft or kayak among the icebergs that have calved into the glacier lake.
Getting Here: Glacier Discovery Train
Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park
Seward is the furthest from Anchorage, but still makes for a great day trip from Anchorage. Here you'll take a day cruise or kayak into Kenai Fjords National Park to see glaciers and wildlife. Or, you can opt for a hike to see (or walk on) Exit Glacier.
Getting Here: Drive 2.5 hrs from Anchorage, travel by motorcoach, or ride the Coastal Classic train (4.5 hrs). Both the train and the motorcoach schedules align perfectly to take a day cruise and return to Anchorage the same day.
North of Anchorage
Not accessible by road, you'll see the Knik Glacier from a rowdy and fun ATV tour, or from above by helicopter. You can even land on the glacier and go dog sledding!
Getting Here: Drive 45-minutes to the Palmer / Wasilla area for the start of your tour.
The Matanuska Glacier is the largest roadside glacier in Alaska. Get up close, and walk across the ice on a guided glacier trek, or for something a little more adventurous, try ice climbing! You can also see it via ATV, or, an aerial view on a zipline ride!
Getting Here: Drive 2.5 hours from Anchorage along the scenic Glenn Highway. Some tours may provide a shuttle.
Seeing a glacier in winter is not talked about much, but it is possible, and the experience can be pretty extraordinary. One amazing adventure is by snowmobile. Operators based in Girdwood guide visitors to Spencer Glacier, where if conditions are right, you can explore inside the bright blue ice caves! You can also join a guided hike on the Matanuska Glacier. Or, in early winter or early spring, Lazy Otter Charters will do custom charters out in Prince William Sound.
Enjoy a magical morning or evening kayaking the calm waters of Spencer Lake, in the awe-inspiring presence of a jagged terminus glacier. Your time on the water is sandwiched between two train rides that offer up some of Alaska’s most scenic rail miles. It’s a full day of unforgettable experiences in our country’s second largest national forest – the Chugach.
Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise, out of Whittier, will take you to 26 different glaciers in just 5.5 hours. Enjoy cozy comforts on the high-speed catamaran and wander its outdoor decks as you come within 300 feet of massive tidewater glaciers. In addition to glaciers, the captain will be on the lookout for wildlife like otters, whales, harbor seals, and marine birds. The trip takes place in the afternoon, and a hot lunch is included in your tour. ...more
Lazy Otter offers classic tours, but this is a water taxi, so they’ll also take you anywhere you want to go within Price William Sound — or just customize a tour to whatever you want to see. Maybe that’s glaciers, or whales, — or maybe it’s quiet time on a secluded beach. Lazy Otter can also help facilitate taking you and your family on a camping trip. You’re not held to any strict schedule, either: if, on a day tour, you can spend more time in one ...more
Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords are great places to see wildlife and glaciers. And Major Marine’s vessels, which have cozy heated cabins and an outdoor viewing area, can take you out to see both. This family-owned tour operator has gone above and beyond to give guests an amazing day on the water since 1990.
Faster than a kayak and more intimate than a day cruise, the Jet Ski is a great way to get up close and personal with Alaska’s gorgeous scenery. Go with Whittier-based Glacier Jet Ski Adventures and you’ll be taking your machine out on the water to explore the stunning glaciers and wildlife of Blackstone Bay. All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary on this unique 4.5‑hour journey.
The original hallmark trip that got the Alaska Railroad to bring the Glacier Discovery to Spencer Glacier in 2002. This is one of the most scenic glacier river trips in Alaska and a perfect float for all ages. Your trip begins with a scenic ride on Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery train, which runs from Anchorage, Girdwood, and other pick-up points along the railbelt. Enjoy a beautiful ride down Turnagain Arm and the Placer River Valley and ...more
Touring the spectacular tidewater glaciers of Prince William Sound is even more exciting when you do it on a Jet Ski. Go with Alaska Wild Guides out of Whittier to experience the area’s unique sights and sounds while skimming across the top of the water on your own personal watercraft.
Experience the wilderness of the Chugach National Forest from several different perspectives. Combine a helicopter ride, alpine hike, glacial lake tour, river rafting and train ride all in 9 – 10 hours! It’s one big and bold Alaska tour de force with Chugach Adventures.
This veteran tour operator runs a a fleet of fast, modern boats in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. You’ll visit tidewater glaciers as you watch for puffins, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, sea lions, and more. Some tours are designed to please birders or shutterbugs, while others are perfect for families.
By Snowmobile View All
Hop aboard an eco-friendly snowmobile in Girdwood and ride on groomed trails beneath massive, 7,000-foot glaciated peaks or visit the dazzling blue ice of Spencer Glacier. Or, head north of Anchorage for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No experience necessary, all gear provided, and warm beverages and snacks included.
Explore Alaska’s backcountry astride a speedy and fun snowmachine. Alaska Wild Guides will take you out for one thrilling day, or for several days of exhilarating adventure. Find hidden ice caves and remote glaciers while navigating along frozen rivers and through deep powder.
Feel the thrill of exploring the Alaskan wilderness while driving your own snowmobile over the tundra, looking for wildlife and taking in amazing views. And on a clear day you’ll get an amazing view of Denali.
Owners Matti and Dan cannot think of a better way to appreciate Alaska than sharing it with others. Matti was born and raised in Palmer, Alaska and has been on snowmachines most of her life. Alaska Backcountry Adventures offers “mild to wild” experiences and prides itself on providing a customized experience for all levels of ability. It offers the widest variety of expeditions on the latest and greatest equipment.
There are few things more spectacular than lifting off in a helicopter and soaring over Alaska’s glacier-filled terrain or out across its shimmering waters. Suitable for all ages. Get a taste for helicopter flightseeing on a 30-minute trip into the 20-Mile river valley and the heart of glacier country.
Stunning scenery, a thrilling ride and happy puppies: this tour out of the Anchorage area offers an unbeatable combination of classic Alaska experiences that will delight families or — really, anybody. Taking a total of about 90 minutes, and running from mid-May to early September, this tour includes a Flightseeing round trip, a small friendly group environment, and plenty of one-on-one time with the dogs and their mushers.
Explore Alaska from above with this family-owned company that operates out of Anchorage. Options include flying above Denali, Knik and Colony Glacier, the Chugach Mountains, and more!
Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Alaska’s scenic highlights on a flightseeing tour with Rust’s Flying Service, where every passenger gets a window seat. Tour options include a short 30-minute Anchorage Flightseeing Safari, a flight to Denali, Denali plus a glacier landing, and more. Tours begin at Anchorage’s Lake Hood, the world’s busiest seaplane airport.
For outstanding viewing and incredible access to remote places, there’s nothing like flightseeing by helicopter. Join Alaska Helicopter Tours – a locally-owned, highly-respected helicopter tour and charter company – for excursions that reveal hidden sites just minutes from Anchorage. Spot wildlife from the air, stand on a glacier or land on a remote airstrip.
Ratchet up the adventure factor and try your hand at dogsledding. Alpine Air Alaska flies to a dog camp run by the oldest established dog-sled tour business in Alaska. You’ll travel by helicopter from Girdwood’s green forests up over a small saddle to land on a glacier and be introduced to the dog team. You’ll get to stand on the sled runners and “drive” the dogs yourself, or sit in the sled and survey the hanging glaciers that surround you. ...more
Head out into the Alaskan wilderness on this exciting ATV adventure, driving through woods and splashing through rivers on your way to a gorgeous glacial moraine surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. Transportation from Anchorage included.
With Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, you can experience glaciers inaccessible by road. Never fear if you’ve never driven an before; this company teaches you to maneuver your ATV through the Alaskan wilderness with your guide at the lead. Your destination is the magnificent Knik Glacier, where you’ll enjoy lunch and gorgeous scenery.
Hike on the Matanuska Glacier, just a little over a 2 hour drive from Anchorage
Walking out across the ice of Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier is an unforgettable experience that you can take advantage of year-round — and it’s just a two-hour drive from Anchorage.
There’s climbing a mountain – and then there’s climbing an ICE mountain. Regardless of your climbing ability or experience, you’ll end the day feeling fulfilled and inspired. MICA also offers short, guided hikes and longer treks if you prefer a more leisurely explore of the glacier and its grandeur.
Experience the thrill of walking or climbing on a glacier. The Matanuska is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier, and it’s just 90 minutes from Anchorage, so it’s an easy way to get up close and personal with these amazing natural wonders. You don’t need to be experienced in either activity — just be in good shape and up for adventure. You’ll either walk around on the glacier with crampons or learn how to use an ice axe and safely work your ...more
Experience a scenic float along a glacial river. Just 90 minutes from Anchorage, the Matanuska Glacier is Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier, and the water running underneath creates a river that’s perfect for rafting. You’ll float downstream for up to 2 hours, taking in the scenery along the way — mountains, river channels, hillsides, moraines — and looking out for wildlife. It’s fun for the whole family — anyone ages 5 and up can do this ...more