7 Majestic Glaciers in Alaska You Can Explore Up Close

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Alaska's vast wilderness shelters some of the world's most breathtaking glaciers, each with its own character and allure.

From the thunderous calving at the edge of the water to the serene quietude atop an ice field, accessing these frozen wonders is an adventure in itself.

Whether you opt for a flight tour over the Prince William Sound or hike up to the accessible Matanuska Glacier, awe-inspiring experiences await.

Prepare to encounter the stark beauty of these glaciers and the unique wildlife that calls these chilly habitats home.

1. Worthington Glacier

A view of the Worthington Glacier on Prince William Sound, near Valdez, Alaska

This marvel of nature is easy to get to, making it a fantastic stop for travelers. Your adventure begins on the Richardson Highway, a scenic route about 20 miles from Valdez.

Upon arrival, a short walk from the parking lot leads you to a well-equipped viewpoint. Rest assured, for those needing accessibility options, there's a path catered to wheelchairs, ensuring everyone can witness this icy spectacle.

Thrill-seekers and casual explorers can venture beyond the viewing platform, following footpaths that bring you closer to the glacier's grandeur.

2. Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier and Lake in Juneau, Alaska, USA in summer

Just a short 13-mile trip from Juneau, you'll find yourself face-to-face with the icy grandeur of Mendenhall Glacier. It covers around 13.6 miles and offers a range of experiences, from sightseeing trails to adventurous glacier treks.

For some of the most stunning views, the Photo Point Trail and the visitor center at Mendenhall provide educational insights and panoramic vistas.

These areas are easily accessible, making them family-friendly spots that promise awe-inspiring photos.

Want to get even closer? Guided walks on the glacier are available, taking you right onto the ice. Here, you can behold the blue hues up close and feel the chill of the ancient ice.

If you're up for more of a challenge, you can hike the West Glacier Trail, which is a bit more rugged. Though it's less maintained, going with a guide ensures you won't miss a beat while experiencing this natural wonder.

3. Matanuska Glacier

Matanuska Glacier,Alaska.

Next up, we got the Matanuska Glacier, a remarkable ice river accessible from Anchorage that features unforgettable wilderness scenery.

Getting here is a breeze, as the glacier is just a 90-minute drive from Anchorage. Be prepared for the amazing sight of the glacier's terminus, stretching 4 miles wide.

To truly appreciate the beauty of the Matanuska Glacier, consider a walk or a climb over its stunning blue ice.

Local guides can help you navigate the glacier's impressive features safely. Just remember to dress warmly and

4. Tracy Arm

Sawyer Glacier sits at the tip of Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Cruise through Tracy Arm, a narrow, twisting waterway about 45 miles south of Juneau. Here, towering cliffs and the active Sawyer Glaciers create a breathtaking scene in Alaska's pristine wilderness.

This unforgettable adventure takes you deep into the heart of the Tongass National Forest, stretching over 30 miles to the awe-inspiring glaciers.

For an unforgettable adventure, cruise through Tracy Arm, a narrow, twisting waterway surrounded by towering cliffs and active glaciers in Alaska's pristine wilderness.

For an up-close experience with the magnificent Sawyer Glaciers, the Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer offers jet boat tours.

These tours provide a thrilling yet comfortable way to navigate the icy waters, glide past towering icebergs, and marvel at the glaciers' deep blue hues, creating a surreal, otherworldly ambiance.

Beyond jet boat tours, Tracy Arm offers various experiences, from large cruise ships to more personal tours like kayaking, small ship cruises, guided excursions, and customized private tours, catering to different preferences for exploring the fjord's beauty.

5. Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA, World Natural Heritage

This park is home to glaciers that have shaped the landscape for thousands of years. Adventure awaits as you witness these icy behemoths up close, either from a boat tour or by kayaking alongside their massive walls.

Listen to the ice crack and splash into the ocean as you move through the water, enjoying the park's amazing scenery.

To get here, fly to the small town of Gustavus from Juneau. Once you're in Gustavus, take the free shuttle to Glacier Bay Lodge and connect with various tours that will take you directly to the glaciers.

One must-see glacier is the Grand Pacific Glacier, a remnant of the Little Ice Age, stretching over 20 miles long with an ice face ranging from 65-165 feet.

Kayaking gives you a close-up look at its vast ice face, offering a glimpse of nature's force. Or, you could take a wildlife cruise for a comfortable way to see the glaciers and feel the cool air.

With over 1,000 glaciers to discover, your Glacier Bay National Park visit will surely be an unforgettable adventure!

6. Spencer Glacier

Spencer Glacier and icebergs of Alaska in fall tourist destination overlook

Nestled in the pristine wilderness of Chugach National Forest, this glacier is a sight to behold with its towering wall of ice.

Board the scenic Alaska Railroad for an unforgettable journey to Spencer Glacier. This remote gem is accessible via train, which is an adventure.

Once you disembark at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, a short hike of about one and a half miles through well-maintained trails awaits. The path will lead you to stunning views of Spencer Glacier, spilling into the icy waters of Spencer Lake.

Kayaking amongst the icebergs gives you a front-row seat to the glacier's magnificence. You can also explore the area's camping spots and cabins, making your glacier adventure an overnight excursion.

7. Prince William Sound

Alaska prince william sound glacier cruise huge panorama view

This pristine wilderness is home to the magnificent Columbia Glacier, a highlight of the area with its impressive size and presence.

For a touch of convenience, Whittier offers easy access to your glacier quest. The town acts as a gateway, with boats ready to whisk you 32 miles out to where the glaciers dramatically meet the sea.

Alternatively, opt for a short trip from Valdez, where mountainous backdrops frame your journey. Take advantage of the Phillips Cruises & Tours, which promise up-close encounters with not just one but twenty-six glaciers!

If you want a more intimate experience, kayaking allows adventurers to navigate the calm waters close to the glaciers.

Flightseeing tours provide a bird's eye view of the vast, icy expanse, with some even offering glacier landings for a unique, hands-on experience.

Preparing for Your Alaskan Glacier Exploration

Alaska's glaciers are more than just frozen spectacles; they offer an opportunity to witness nature's grandeur firsthand. By exploring this guide, you take the first step toward an unforgettable journey through Alaska's unparalleled beauty.

If time allows, why not journey deeper into the wilderness? Our Road Trip Itinerary – Driving To Alaska & Back invites you to discover breathtaking landscapes and hidden treasures at your own pace.

Before embarking on this adventure, check the updates for a guaranteed safe and eco-conscious journey.

Ready your cameras and sense of wonder as you embark on this Alaskan journey. Cherish the pristine scenery and let the colossal ice formations leave you awestruck.

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