Glacier Landing on Ruth Glacier. Photo by Francisco Alvarez

Glacier Landing on Ruth Glacier. Photo by Francisco Alvarez

Flying down the medial moraine of the Ruth Glacier is mesmerizing. This 25-50 foot high ridge of rock debris looks like an excavation pit that extends for miles down the center of the glacier.

Keep on the lookout for deep blue pools of ice melt. Look for lateral moraines on the sides of the glacier and the terminal moraine at the toe of the glacier… You’ll know the terminus of the Ruth when you see it: the contortions of earth and ice resemble a bomb blast's aftermath. Gravity rams this great jumble of earth and ice into the river country below, obliterating all in its path.

The full-grown forests you see on the terminal moraine? Those are actually spruce trees growing precariously atop diamond-hard glacier ice. When the ice melts, they will meet a violent demise—getting pitched headlong into the raging river which emerges from the glacier's snout below. A subterranean river of glacial melt erupts through the ice at the base of the Ruth Glacier, a feature known by local pilots as "The Bubbling Pond." Hardly bubbling, it emerges with the deafening roar of a 747 engine and enough force to throw refrigerator-sized boulders 10 feet in the air.

You’ll fly low down the Ruth River, onto the Tokositna and Chulitna Rivers, and back into Talkeetna. Along the way, you’ll see blue alpine lakes shimmering against emerald-green hillsides—one final reminder of a paradise of mountain scenery you will never forget.

Getting There

Latitude: 62.737117
Longitude: -150.502625
Driving Directions