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Alaska glaciers – Juneau’s hottest attractions are some of the coolest spots around
Got ice? We do!
Juneau's most popular attraction (and the most easily accessible Alaska glacier) is the mighty, magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, located just 13 miles from downtown Juneau and only a few minutes from the airport.
The Mendenhall is just one of the 38 major glaciers that flow from the Juneau Icefield, an expanse of interconnected glaciers that sits just behind the mountains next to Juneau. The Icefield covers more than 1,500 square miles and runs from the Taku River inlet east of town to Skagway, 90 miles northwest. Now that's one big ice cube.
You have lots of options if you want to explore our glaciers. You can actually drive to the Mendenhall Glacier, but ground tour companies offer trips as well. Once you're there, the Forest Service operates an excellent walk-up visitor center.
Recognized as the thickest glacier in the world measuring in just short of a mile thick (4,845 feet or 1,477 m), the Taku Glacier sits just to the southeast of downtown Juneau. An amazing fact about the Taku is that it’s one of only a handful of glaciers in the word that’s advancing. According to the Juneau Icefield Research Program, the Taku has been measured advancing at a rate of 56 ft. per year since 1988! This epic display of raw wilderness serves as a reminder to everyone that whether it’s our glaciers, our mountains, the local bears, or migratory whales, the beauty of Southeast Alaska is everywhere!
Flightseeing companies offer aerial tours of the Icefield, and helicopter companies can land you right on the ice for a short walk or two-hour hike. Day boat tour companies offer tours of the twin Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm Fjord southeast of Juneau. Glacier Bay National Park, with its incredible collection of tidewater glaciers and 3 million acres of wilderness, is just a short trip to the west.
Glacier Fun Facts