Why Visit Mendenhall Glacier?
Hoping you’re a wilderness seeker in lifelong pursuit of natural beauty, you might not expect your heart to be stolen by such a small haven. Essentially, where the city ends, the Juneau Icefield begins. And keeps going and going. Undoubtedly, the centerpiece is the splendor of Mendenhall Glacier, which is visual as much as it’s a treat for the other senses.
Furthermore, it’s a gigantic glacier that gives rise to jagged edges and razor sharp points, glowing blue with an endless supply of ruggedness. Inching towards wild Alaska you will, if you visit Mendenhall Glacier. Indeed, every fibre in your being is set to awaken, to be gripped by the raw beauty and solitude. Altogether of which, may well gulp you down whole!
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
While you’re there, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is well worth making a pit stop. It’s included in the tour price and opens 8am-7.30pm daily throughout summertime. Take in the striking exhibits and informative displays. As well, learn about glacial movement, ecosystems and the protection of Juneau’s precious wildlife. Additionally, the center houses various glaciology exhibits, including a fabricated ice face of the glacier along with a large relief map of the ice field, spotting scopes that let you look for mountain goats. And a theater that showcases an 11-minute film called Landscape of Change.
Although we can’t guarantee bear sightings, keep an eagle eye out for the black bears. Sometimes, the bears roam nearby during the latter half of the summer months. Although we wouldn’t recommend you ever approach and feed one; it’s best to leave them to it. And, if you’re lucky you might spot a fluffy white mountain goat grazing on the mountain.
All summertime long, have your eyes peeled to witness the glory of the bald eagles soaring overhead. Gliding in, trimming their angles this way and that. A white-headed baldie can spot a fish from up to a mile away. What’s more, it thinks nothing of nose-diving at 100mph when it has one in its sight. Whoa!
As unique selling points go, Juneau boasts one the highest concentration of bald eagles in North America. Honestly, the birds of prey are like crows up here. Our coastal city will bestow incredible numbers upon you. Not to mention the myriad birdlife also populating our skies and rainforest.
Conveniently, Mendenhall Glacier is just a hop, skip and a small 12-mile drive from downtown. The journey takes approximately 20 minutes on one of our buses. Check out our buses that are scheduled for return trips.
Like just about everything else in Southeast Alaska, Mendenhall Glacier is nestled inside the Tongass National Forest. Incredibly, a temperate rainforest no less. Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States.
At more than 13 miles long from start to finish, every look at the glacier from all angles will always be a jaw-on-the-floor one. Although receding, Mendenhall Glacier’s face alone spans about half a mile, rising 100 feet from the waterline. Spectacularly, the end of the glacier gives way to an iceberg-littered lake called Mendenhall Lake.
Viewing The Glacier
Most noteworthy, is the ample viewing places at the glacier. All of which afford fantastic vantage points to really appreciate and absorb it. In addition, so do the U.S. Forest Service hiking trails. And, if you’re lucky, you might even glimpse an an earth-shattering piece calving off the glacier. It’s a pure place on earth made of aquamarine blue crystal. As icefields go, this will do anything but disappoint.
As glaciers go, this one seems incomprehensibly large. Big enough to contain just about everything anyone could ever feel. Out in the luminous, peaceful place where the light during the summertime never fizzles out, it’s easy to fall into its dreaminess, enwombed in its otherness. A place beyond your wildest thoughts. So, come enjoy our backyard beauty here in Juneau. Mendenhall Glacier alone promises that the wilderness-seeking habit will be extremely well nourished!
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