Experience the closest Iceberg Kayaking to Anchorage & Girdwood by train with Ascending Path’s world-class guides. Operating 7 days a week from Anchorage and Girdwood. Trips run 9-12 hours with four departure times.
Connect with ancient and powerful forces of nature on Ascending Path’s Iceberg Kayaking adventure. No matter your level of experience, you can kayak the waters of a glacial lake reaching icebergs within minutes after you launch! Kayaking across Spencer lake, you’ll approach the massive glacier face with the unique perspective of being nearly one with the water.
The journey begins on the Alaska Railroad Train (either from Anchorage or Girdwood), where you’ll ride through areas inaccessible to public vehicles, with incredible views out every window. Disembark at the Spencer Whistle Stop, where an Ascending Path van awaits to take your small group closer to the action. Ascending Path is one of three operators permitted to drive on the old gravel mining roads, ending at an overlook with incredible views of Spencer Lake and Spencer Glacier.
Glacial melt fills the lake along with larger icebergs and smaller chunks called “bergy bits” and “growlers.” This ice was formed roughly 7,000 years ago so you can literally touch history as you glide through these dark glacial waters. Your four-hour tandem kayak journey is a surreal experience as you kayak and hike trails near the face of the glacier. Get up close to Spencer Glacier with Ascending Path’s world-class guides and go off the beaten path to understand its majesty – and its immense size. You’ll have plenty of chances to take photos as the glacier comes closer and closer into your viewfinder! Learn about glaciology, the carving of the land by ice and how this glacier has been affected by climate change.
The return trip across Spencer Lake gives time for further understanding of the ice and rugged landscape around you. On the return to the Spencer Whistle Stop, get to know more about the flora and fauna found near the glacier. At the Whistle Stop, you’ll catch the train for a relaxing return trip aboard the scenic Alaska Railroad to your train depot of origin.
While no experience is necessary for this packed day, you may kayak up to two 5 miles and hike up to 3 miles total as a moderate/strenuous activity. Your group will enjoy this excursion even more if all members are used to a few hours of moderate activity daily. Ascending Path offers several trip options at Spencer Whistle Stop with varying lengths and difficulty. If you have young children or members who prefer a less strenuous activity, ask about AP’s other options for getting into Alaska’s wilderness areas!
Times: Operating 7 days a week from Anchorage and Girdwood. Trips run 9-12 hours with four departure times. Departs 7 days a week from Alaska Railroad Anchorage Depot at 9am or from the Ascending Path sign located in the tramloop at Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood at noon. Departs 5 days a week (Sunday - Thursday) from Alaska Railroad Anchorage Depot at 6:45AM or from the Ascending Path sign located in the tramloop at Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood at 7:30AM.
EPIC TOUR: Train // Iceberg Kayak // Helicopter // Glacier Hike
Ride Alaska Railroad to Spencer Whistle Stop, kayak with iceberg giants, and hike to the toe of the glacier. Hop in a helicopter for a short flight up glacier. Trek on the ice for 2+ hours (on average) with a glacier guide and fly off with another helicopter flight back to Portage/Girdwood. EPIC!
No previous glacier experience is necessary. Your guide will teach you how to paddle a tandem kayak and walk in crampons. However, this is a moderate to strenuous activity, so please be prepared for a full day of activity in most weather conditions.
Times: Operating 7 days a week from Anchorage and Girdwood. Customized check in times anytime between: 7:00am and 12pm. Total trip duration if departing from Girdwood averages 8-12 hours, which may include a weather contingency buffer. Exact time slots are customized for you by our office based on your desire, group size and helicopter availability.
Departs 7 days a week from Alaska Railroad Anchorage Depot: Check in 9am – Return 9:15pm
Ultimate Glacier Overnight Adventure
The Ultimate Overnight Adventure includes AP’s Spencer Glacier Kayak tour by train with an added Helicopter flight to overnight camping on a Glacier… and then another helicopter ride back to Alyeska Hotel the next day.
On this glacier “glamping” experience you will ride the train, paddle past ancient ice, hike near the face of the glacier, then fly up and camp on the glacier with a professional glacier and kayak guide. Peer deep into crevasses, find ice caves and learn how glaciers are formed. Glacier exploration is by Alaska Railroad, then sea kayak across Spencer lake amidst icebergs. This trip ticks off a lot of Alaskan adventures on the bucket list in 24 hours.
Nowhere else in the world can you: ride a train, sea kayak, explore ice, sleep and dine on a glacier as well as experience 2 scenic helicopter flights all in two days!
Since you will be staying the night on the glacier, you will have extra time to explore the ice and take photos. You will enjoy dining on the glacier during the midnight sun with panoramic glacier, mountain and lake views while eating a memorable King Crab dinner. Your sleeping arrangements will be in a comfy North Face 2 Meter Dome or Space Station tent on the glacier with cots, pillows and sleeping bags. The next morning will include a hot breakfast, more exploration, lunch and a helicopter pickup at 2pm for the flight back to Portage or Hotel Alyeska.
Times: Operating 7 days a week from Girdwood. Customized check in times anytime between 7:00am and 12pm, and returns the next day anytime between 10:30am and 3pm. Total trip duration averages 27 – 32 hours, which may include a weather contingency buffer. Exact time slots are customized for you by our office based on your desire, group size and helicopter availability.
About Ascending Path
The local owners of Ascending Path, Matt and Heather Szundy, live & have been growing the business since 1995. (In fact, they met on an ascent of Denali!) Matt and Heather have spent their adult lives exploring, from Nepal and New Zealand to Antarctica and Alaska. Matt has guided for Hollywood film crews, acted as a stunt double for ice climbing films – and was even called on by the White House to guide President Obama on a 2015 trip to Exit Glacier. Their company is award-winning and has been a Recipient of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for almost 10 years running.
Here are some of the reasons Ascending Path is the go-to guiding company for so many
Ascending Path is one of three permitted operators at Spencer Whistle Stop in the Chugach National Forest. Ride the train to the Spencer Whistle Stop and then travel by bus or van for closer access to the Spencer Glacier. Ascending Path nurtures relationships with clients and local partners – such as the Alyeska Resort, Alaska Railroad and Alpine Air – so that visitors can have convenient access to Alaska’s wilderness areas.
Accomplished and enthusiastic world-class guides
Ascending Path is the rare guiding company that employs expedition guides for day trips. Your adventure may be led by a guide who has summited Denali, kayaked on month-long ocean expeditions and/or climbed in the Himalaya mountains. Enthusiasm and love of the outdoors is something the Szundy’s look for in every guide they hire. So, when you opt for an Ascending Path guided trip, you’re guaranteed a fascinating adventure filled with tons of interesting facts (and maybe a corny joke or two).
Each trip Ascending Path they run offers a small group to guide ratio. Small groups have less impact on the environment and allow for maximum interaction between guests and guides. Having a fun, friendly and attentive guide can make a regular outing a spectacular day. Learn about glacier formation while sea kayaking or walking beside an iceberg-strewn lake. Discuss the uplift of coastal mountains, and then identify wildflowers. The pros here not only guide, but they teach and inspire, and with very small ratios, you won’t be lost in a crowd. Each trip is customized to your skills and interests. No previous experience is necessary!