Alaska Glacier Tours
Most visitors want to see a glacier during their Alaskan vacation. Luckily, we have compiled a list of some of the best glacier tours and have categorized each experience by sea, air, or land.
Glacier & Wildlife Cruises, Sea Kayaking, Rafting, Canoeing, and Jet Skiing
Perhaps the most intimate way to experience the awesome scale of Alaska's glaciers is on the water. The tidewater glaciers of Prince William Sound and the Kenai Fjords extend down from mountain peaks and out into the sea. Hundreds of feet high and miles long, you can the hear ice crackling and sizzling as trapped air bubbles slowly escape. One of the most dramatic events in all of nature is witnessing a tidewater glacier unleash a house-sized block of ice into the ocean. The resulting icebergs can create enormous waves when they hit (kayakers beware!) and can continue bobbing up and down for a full day or more until they float out into open waters or beach themselves along the Alaskan shoreline. Cruises and sea kayak trips also let you see lots of marine life, such as playful sea otters and shy harbor seals.
From the air, you won't feel the power of calving, but you will gain a perspective you can't experience from the ground. You'll see how massive icefields, dozens of miles long, spill into valleys to create glaciers. These expansive sheets of ice leave only the highest mountain peaks and ridges peeking through. The Harding Icefield near Seward is a classic example, and is one of the few icefields easily accessible by foot (a five-hour hike from Exit Glacier, rising from sea-level to 3,500ft). Also best seen from a plane are piedmont glaciers, where several glaciers join at the foot of a mountain range to create a fan-like pattern of ice and rock. These beautiful formations are best spotted in Southeast Alaska.
Roadside Glaciers, ATV Tours, Hikes, and Ice Climbs
Partake in a land based tour that allows you to direct access to glaciers. Driving over rocks, splashing through mud, and exploring Alaska terrain on an ATV is an excellent way to experience glaciers on land. With some tours, you’ll drive right up to the face of the glacier and gaze at the peaks of blue ice that surround you. Or, explore ice caves and crevasses on foot with a guided hiking tour that will take you up to, and sometimes directly onto a glacier.
Members of 1% For The Planet, Kayak Adventures Worldwide strives to fulfill their mission to inspire an active stewardship of our natural world. Through small group sea kayak tours in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, they focus on safety, education, and connecting guests with the unique and fragile ecosystems you’ll visit.
Glacierview Sea Kayaking with Alaska Travel Adventures offers the opportunity to kayak through Auke Bay while enjoying views of Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll also have the opportunity to see wildlife like whales, sea lions, seals, and bald eagles. Kayaking offers a much more intimate and quiet experience than other boat tours; at the same time, it is perfect for travelers who want an adventure. And even if you’ve never paddled a kayak before, a ...more
Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise, out of Whittier, will take you to 26 different glaciers in just 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
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.
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.
Get up close to the Alaskan glaciers and wildlife you came to experience by taking a cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park on a custom-built catamaran out of Seward. The difference from other cruises, is that you’ll then get off the boat and into a kayak, paddle around icebergs, and watch for wildlife from your own vessel.
Juneau’s glaciers produce nutrient-dense waters making the waters a prime feeding ground for humpback whales. Alaska Tales’ boats are intimate (49 passengers max), and they’re super-fast, so you’ll get out to see the whales in no time. You also have the option of adding a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center prior to your whale watching tour.
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.
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.
This family-run company operating out of Valdez will show you the best glaciers, with great customer service along the way. On any given day trip you’ll likely see huge rafts of sea otters, horned and tufted puffins, cormorants, humpback whales, or even bald eagles. Stan Stephens offers two daily tours, one of which features Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in Southcentral Alaska.
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
Feel the truly unique thrill of walking on an ancient glacier. This unforgettable experience begins with a canoe trip to the glacier, where you’ll don crampons and explore the gorgeous blue ice…no experience required!
The focus of the 3.5‑hour Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip is great views of the namesake glacier, which is 1.5 miles wide, 150 feet high, and the most famous part of the massive Juneau Icefield that even John Muir once raved about. Glide along the iceberg-studded lake and scope out the glacier, getting up-close views of hanging glaciers and towering peaks. Keep an eye out for birds nesting in the rocky cliffs, as well as otters, seals, black ...more
Take a boutique, small-group kayaking trip with experienced guides at Liquid Adventures and get close to glaciers in kayaks or paddleboards while looking for whales and other marine mammals. You can even combine your adventure with a jetboat, helicopter, or wildlife cruise. There’s nothing quite like it in all of Alaska!
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.
Throughout the decades, Anadyr has carefully tailored its trips to offer an option for just about anyone. Never kayaked before? Try the Valdez Glacier Tour for a relaxing paddle on a lake with an easy hike to the glacier. You’ll explore icebergs and even kayak into a glacial cave. Got a six year old that can’t wait to get out there? At 3 – 4 hours, the Duck Flats tour offers a mix of wildlife (sea lions and otters are common) and Valdez history. ...more
Guided sea kayaking in Alaska’s Southeast opens up the magical world of water-based touring. Glide through a marine environment with gorgeous views in every direction, and many opportunities to spot wildlife – from eagles and salmon to bears, whales and sea lions. Options include day tours for busy schedules and multi-day immersions, all under the expert guidance of naturalists who help you understand the complex workings of a unique and amazing ...more
A lot of people swear to it: the best way to see Alaska is from an airplane, and there may indeed be no better way to get close to the face of Denali. This one-of-a-kind flightseeing operator makes it easy to see up close to the Great One without spending a great deal of time.
Natron Air’s owner and only pilot, Tim, can take you flightseeing to some of Alaska’s most beautiful places: the Harding Icefield and Mt. Redoubt Volcano. You can also opt for a bear-viewing tour that includes a beach landing, where you can photograph bears in their natural environment.
A tour aboard a TEMSCO helicopter offers beautiful views of Alaska’s Capital City, and up-close exploration of Mendenhall, one of the state’s most accessible glaciers. Look out on alpine lakes, moraines, and crevasses before you land and check out the Juneau Icefield for yourself.
While you may never join the ranks of climbers who have summited Denali, an up-close view of North America’s tallest peak can still be yours. K2 Aviation offers once-in-a-lifetime flightseeing tours among and above the Alaska Range. Add a glacier landing to get a sense of how immense these peaks really are.
The port city of Seward is a classic stop on any Alaska itinerary, thanks to its proximity to Chugach National Forest and Kenai Fjords National Park. But it’s also one of the more diverse places to fly. This tour operator offers stunning birds-eye views of the area’s alpine meadows, glaciers and fjords, as well as the chance to touch down, explore the terrain and even meet sled dogs.
Locally known as “The Glacier Landing Company,” TAT has been flying climbers and sightseers to the Alaska Range and Denali since 1947. Talkeetna Air Taxi features a custom-designed fleet of planes, a dedicated customer service team, and a variety of tours for every budget.
Go with Wings Airways and you’ll take off from Juneau in a 10-passenger DeHavilland Otter floatplane and get a lush view of the city as well as the surrounding mountains and ice fields. Opt for a 40-minute flight seeing tour, or book the “Flight and Feast Tour,” which takes you to dine at a 1920’s lodge.
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.
Taking a TEMSCO helicopter tour shows off the Gold Rush lands around Skagway in a new light, revealing gorgeous, glacier-filled valleys, tumbling waterfalls and peak after icy peak at the north end of the Juneau Icefield. Then land on a remote glacier for an exciting guided journey on ice that was formed thousands of years ago!
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.
Alaska’s eastern interior promises high adventure in an area relatively few visitors explore. Fly with Tok Air Service into this jaw-dropping wonderland to visit National Parks and Wildlife Refuges: Wrangell-St. Elias, Tetlin, and Yukon-Charley Rivers. Land on a remote glacier, see dramatic mountains up close, and watch for grizzlies, sheep, moose and caribou.
Go flightseeing in a helicopter out of scenic Seward and enjoy unforgettable views of the Kenai Mountain Range, Resurrection Bay, and gorgeous glaciers. Choose from a 30-minute, 45-minute, or 1‑hour long tour. And, add a glacier landing to any of them!
Touring Alaska by helicopter gets you to unimaginably wild and remote places. Some of the most amazing have been scouted by Alaska Ultimate Safaris. Explore a glacier surrounded by snow-capped mountains, or climb to the steaming summit of an island volcano. In either case, the views are unparalleled and the experience is surreal.
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.
If you’ve never walked on a glacier, this is your chance. Going with experienced guides, you’ll leave from Kennicott, hike two miles, and spend the next several hours on the Root Glacier, safely exploring the blue ice, blue pool, canyons, and moulins of this extraordinary natural phenomenon. Choose a half- or full-day tour and learn all about natural and human history from your expert guides along the way. Or ramp up the excitement by going ice ...more
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
Take a spectacular private guided hiking tour in Seward — where the mountains meet the ocean — to explore glaciers and alpine ridges. When you go with Seward Wilderness Collective, you get a great tour plus a dialogue with their knowledgeable guides about the impacts of climate change, with living examples right in front of your eyes.
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.
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.
The location of this ATV adventure is the midpoint between Anchorage and Glennallen. Plenty of travelers drive through this area without pausing for more than a picture of the roadside glacier, but Glacier View ATV’s three-hour tour — the only ATV excursion in this part of Alaska — makes this tour well worth a longer stop.
Experience the unique thrill of summer dog sledding on a glacier! Lift off in a helicopter and enjoy incredible views on your way to this amazing adventure. Want more time in the air? Add a flightseeing excursion before or after your dog sledding experience!
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.
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.
Northstar Trekking operates out of Juneau and caters to all styles of exploration. The curious glacier observer can simply fly to the glacier and snap photographs from flat or rolling terrain. You can also choose to hike on the glacier itself. If you’re very adventurous, you can even learn how to climb on the ice walls. No matter which option you choose, NorthStar Trekking will guide you all the way, making sure you get the most out of this ...more
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
St. Elias Alpine Guides have a long history of sharing the wilderness with travelers — whether the activity involves hiking a glacier, backpacking, rafting, skiing, or even doing some extreme mountaineering — there’s something for everyone! You can also take advantage of the option to customize your trip.
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.