Wikimedia CommonsMendenhall Glacier in the Winter. The glacier is located about 12 miles north of downtown Juneau. During May 2017? How Much Does It Cost To Travel In Alaska? If you’re looking for the same view in the winter, you’re encouraged to hike across the frozen lake. Then, as it seeks reentry back into Mendenhall Lake, the flowing water twists and turns through the glacier and creates a maze of hollowed out passages. With the help of our qualified guides and aided by a helicopter, participants of all ages and abilities can intimately explore and discover the various features of this constantly changing glacial landscape: ice caves, crevasses, moulins, supraglacial streams, ice tubes, and moraines. Mendenhall Glacier is a spectacular 12-mile-long glacier near Juneau, Alaska. Updated November 2020, How to get to Mendenhall Ice Caves was originally written in February 2016. How English Painter Walter Sickert May Have Been Jack The Ripper, The Disturbing True Story Of Ed And Lorraine Warren, The Paranormal Investigators From 'The Conjuring', What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. It’s somewhere that I wanted to stay in forever and run out as fast as I could– it is an eerie feeling being under a glacier, but amazing at the same time. Juneau is just a mere 10 miles from the glacier range, and tours are conducted year round. There’s a chance that there may be no caves when you plan to visit. The Mendenhall Ice Caves offer an adventure like no other, the opportunity to see what it looks like inside a glacier. To keep things simple, when describing the Mendenhall ice caves, we mean a “cave” that is formed within a body of ice (usually a glacier) as water flows through the glacier and forms a passageway. Traffic across Mendenhall Lake to and from the face of the Mendenhall Glacier and a nearby ice cave was heavy Feb. 16, 2019, just as it has been most weekends since freeze-up. However, I heard guided tours are typically around $215-$300/person. You can also subscribe without commenting. Though they are not required, it’s recommended to bring a guide for at least this portion. Many people from all around the world come to Alaska to see this natural phenom enon. The Mendenhall Glacier … The caves come and go as mother nature chooses and are accessible only to the most adventurous of travelers. We had a great experience! I hope they haven’t, but it does seem to happen every few years, When are these photos taken? The Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area is a federally protected unit of the Tongass National Forest. But there’s magic in the Mendenhall Ice Caves, where water runs over rocks and under frozen bright-blue ceilings inside a partially hollow glacier. The Surreality of the Underbelly: The Mendenhall Cave, Inside a Glacier was originally written in January 2016. Mendenhall Glacier (also Sitaantaagu) is a glacier about 13.6 miles (21.9 km) long located in Mendenhall Valley, about 12 miles (19 km) from downtown Juneau in the southeast area of the U.S. state of Alaska. Additionally the trail that is recommended, and that goes north at the fork, is seldom used and becoming overgrown. The Mendenhall Glacier Trek Tour gets you up close and personal with the glacier on this challenging, full-day hiking tour that can culminate right on the ice. If you don’t have any glacier experience, I highly recommend hiring a guide. Ice caves in the Mendenhall Glacier are not unique. Your guide will assess each available feature prior to accessing to determine if it is safe to explore. Mendenhall Lake fronts the glacier at the terminus, and the ice extends 150-250 feet under the water. Additionally once you get to the saddle, above the glacier, the trail descends loose, dangerous scree for several hundred feet now. Head northwest on Egan Drive, take a right onto Mendenhall Loop Road which will turn into Glacier Spur Rd. Looking for more ideas for your time in Juneau? If you’ve considered visiting Alaska you have probably stumbled across surreal photos of people standing and walking in the bright blue Mendenhall Ice Caves formed on the Mendenhall Glacier. Depending on the ice you can go to varying depths into the glacier. The colors and shapes of the ice ceiling and walls in the Mendenhall ice cave (under Mendenhall Glacier) reminded us of some of the Chihuly glass sculptures we had seen a month ago in Seattle . By air, by cruise ship, or by the Marine Highway (aka: the ferry). It just depends on how the glacier has shifted. Your email address will not be published. In 2019 there are ice caves that have reformed, but the openings to them always are changing so you may need to do some investigating on arrival to locate them. Regardless of if your schedule (or comfort level) allows for a winter or summer adventure, the glacier is open. Experience the best of Alaska on our hiking, canoeing, and adventure tours! Ice is a fine material for cave formation: it is hard, tough but at the same time easily formed by the water. Check out kayak and canoe trips here. The blues flicker and flash and appear to shift to different hues. Then, spend about an hour to an hour and a half on the glacier. But a visit to the Mendenhall Ice Caves will likely be one of the most amazing … Visiting Virgin Creek Falls In Girdwood, Alaska, Homer Travel Guide + 14 Things To Do In Homer, Girdwood Travel Guide + 5 Things To Do In Girdwood, Alaska, Anchorage Travel Guide + 20 Things To Do In Anchorage, Fairbanks Travel Guide + 12 Things To Do In Fairbanks, Seward Travel Guide + 9 Things To Do In Seward, The Best Places To See The Northern Lights in Alaska, 10 Off The Beaten Path Destinations For 2020, Visit Spencer Glacier On The Whistle Stop Train, The Surreality of the Underbelly: The Mendenhall Cave, Inside a Glacier, Free places to Ski & Snowboard Near Anchorage, Eating My Way Across The Alaska State Fair, Click Here For $20 off your first booking with Airbnb. It’s not uncommon for people to twist ankles, suffer sprains, and even break bones on this trail. Visitors can watch the ice melt and turn to meltwater, before refreezing and turning back into the glaciers. Glaciers and especially ice caves are constantly shifting, melting, and collapsing. Ice caves make up its surreal interior. Whereas the Juneau Ice Field, from which the Mendenhall Glacier and the Mendenhall Ice Caves emerge, appears as a vast white wasteland, the inside of the ice caves is a spectacular, brilliant blue. Picture Information. See more ideas about Mendenhall ice caves, Mendenhall, Ice cave. This is the beginning of the ‘West Glacier Trail‘. As glacial ice continues to build, gravity pulls the ice down slope. We set out to look for the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves, which were apparently hard to locate. Sunday, Grant and I returned from our last minute trip to Juneau, Alaska. The Mendenhall Ice Caves has been dubbed as one of the most beautiful sites in the world. Trekking on a glacier and inside ice caves is dangerous. Follow Glacier Spur until you see Mendenhall Loop Road (yes, again) on your left, turn left, and then continue on it. But a visit to the Mendenhall Ice Caves will likely be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. Your guide will assess the hazards the day of the trip and determine if a particular area is safe enough to trek upon or enter Specifically about 12 miles from downtown Juneau in southeast Alaska. The most famous Alaskan ice caves are located under Mendenhall, Root, Spencer, Matanuska, and Kennicott Glaciers. FlickrA pond of meltwater in the ice caves. Other visitors report having to duck down or even crawl to enter. Though the glacier can feel like another planet, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are surprisingly easy to get to. They can range in size from small, barely-squeeze-through tunnels to huge crane-your-neck-to-see-it-all caverns. Just updated the post in May 2017, Thanks for the clear instructions on how to get to the ice caves. Liquid Alaska Tours operates Mendenhall Glacier tours in Juneau, Alaska. I would just google “mendenhall glacier ice caves guided tour” and compare a few companies and prices. These particular caves, known as the Mendenhall Ice Caves, may be one of the few places in nature where you can see the water cycle in action. Date of experience: July 2017 Located a short 12 miles outside Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are ever-changing due to melting ice and glacier recession but an absolute wonder to explore. EXTRA 11% OFF See all eligible items. The best way I can describe what being inside the ice cave is like is to say it’s what I’ve always imagined being trapped inside a sapphire would be like. One, the Mendenhall glacier, runs 13 miles long down the ridge, and from the outside looks just like any of its fellow glaciers. The glacier and surrounding landscape is protected as part of the 5,815 acres (2,353 ha) Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, a federally designated unit of the Tongass National Forest. You can hear the constant movement of the glacier with the occasional groan and creak. I visited in 2016, but I had heard in 2018 the cave I went in had collapsed, and by 2019 another cave had formed at a different location on the glacier. Where the road forks take the right onto Skater’s Cabin road. JUNEAU -- A Mendenhall Glacier ice cave that had become a popular but increasingly dangerous attraction has collapsed, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Learn more! Login Logout Entries Feed Privacy Policy & Disclaimer. This can be largely dependent on the weather on a particular year though. Glaciers are constantly shifting, changing, melting, moving, and sometimes growing. Required fields are marked *. Inside The Otherworldly Mendenhall Ice Caves Of Alaska [PHOTOS]. The glacier has receded to a point were it meets the end moraine. Check out the Juneau Travel Guide + 19 Things To Do In Juneau. There is Surveyor’s tape marking the trail but it is nice to have a GPS as well. Due to the nature of water and the malleability of the glaciers, the ice caves can vary hugely in length and size. :), There from January 2016. Is the glacier retreating? Opens image gallery. I called the Mendenhall Visitor center today to get more information about the current conditions of the caves and was told all were collapsed. Though the glacier can feel like another planet, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are surprisingly easy to get to. Hey Macie, We did it in mid-January, which I’d think is about the earliest as the ice was still a bit thin (though just thick enough for walking and ice skating). The ice caves at the Mendenhall have received a lot of publicity lately, as the glacier's recession has allowed access by curious visitors. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Take a right onto Montana Creek Road. Glad to hear you made it out there! The last of the caves that could be entered collapsed in May of 2019. Guided tours in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area have to be permitted by the US Forest Service. This is a good place to pop on your crampons. 2. The enchanting Root Glacier is located in America’s largest national … The Ice Caves located at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska are natural ice formations tucked away in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Under the blue glow of the ice, it can be easy to forget one is tired and cold, as the otherworldly effects sweep you away. Glaciers are constantly changing and so are glacial features including the famous Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves. The caves, while filled with and made up of ice and flowing water, are a result of flowing water themselves. You may be able to get more info by contacting beyondak.com and asking about. The ice caves have no real path toward them, and without an experienced local who knows exactly where to take you, it can be easy to get lost, slip and fall, or end up in the wrong place. From the end of Skater’s Cabin Road parking lot, start on the West Glacier Trail and follow the trail 4.5 miles to the glacier. Amazing isn’t it? Don’t put off a visit to Mendenhall Ice Cave, its constantly shifting and changing, and will collapse every so often and reform. Joining the ice worms under the surreal, icy blue world of a glacier. Shop the best flight deals on Expedia and Skyscanner. Vintage Postcard Ice Cave Mendenhall Glacier Near Juneau Alaska . July 7, 2019. Nestled in Mendenhall Valley, the Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long stunning frozen formation located just 12 short miles from downtown Juneau. Hey Cheryl, I’m not in Juneau right now, so I don’t have any more current information on if the caves have collapsed. For those summer visitors willing to put some effort in, kayaks are available to rent in Juneau. Hi Nicole, do you know around what time of winter people usually start making the hike via ice across the lake? When I visited the opening was quite obvious. All and all a great hike but do not do it expecting caves like those pictured. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Injury and/or death is possible. $5.99 + $3.96 shipping . The glacier slowly scours the bedrock and grinds down its 13-mile journey to Mendenhall Lake. This is not terrain the should be descended by those without significant experience in the mountains. Firstly, you’ll need to get to Juneau. The famous ice cave is an approximately 12-mile-long glacier in the drainage area of Mendenhall River in the U.S State of Alaska – Mendenhall Valley. Indeed, a glacier ice cave that was well-developed last year may even have disappeared come spring! Experience the splendor of Mendenhall Glacier at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Starting with a canoe ride across the lake, you paddle your way straight to the face of the glacier before landing on the beach. Expect the hike to take about 3.5 to 4.5 hours on average, each way. You’ll arrive in one of three ways. You are choosing to go at your own risk as glacier travel can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Next, check out the Rainbow Mountain, another colorful climbing destination. In the winter, if the ice is thick enough it is possible to walk across the frozen lake from the Visitor Center. The trail gets increasingly steeper as it nears the glacier, and in the rainy season can be slick and muddy. Hands down one of the most magical things I’ve done in the world? MidrangeRamada By Windham Juneau| Booking.com | Hotels.com |, SplurgeAlaska's Capital Inn B&B| Booking.com | Hotels.com |. It is 1,800 ft. deep and a half-mile wide and even though it is the most visited glacier in Alaska, most people only see if from afar. Beyond AK does take groups out to the ice caves but only if they are reasonably safe to access. The blue also reflects down onto the terrain, giving the entire place an otherworldly, watery experience. Explore the 3,000-year-old Mendenhall Glacier on this 5.5-hour adventure tour from Alaska’s capital city, Juneau. The Mendenhall Glacier is melting at an expedited rate. Then, check out these photos of when Alaska was recently settled. Use the trail that goes right around the rocky point and stays closer to the lake! However, there are no public trails to the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves, and while beautiful, glaciers are ever-changing and may be dangerous. The kayak trip will take about an hour of paddling across Mendenhall Lake but seeing the glacier rise above the surface, growing as you get closer is truly something to behold. Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting. It is advisable to get an early start, especially in the winter when days are short. The network of cerulean ice caves is what makes Mendenhall Glacier so unique and special. Good to know, thanks for the update. It first formed in the Juneau Icefield, which is over 3,000 years old. The West Glacier Trail, a well-marked path, leads right toward the glacier. The 1,500 square mile range contains 38 individual glaciers of various sizes. Image not available. Join us on the Mendenhall Glacier for the ultimate overnight camping adventure! Juneau Travel Guide + 19 Things To Do In Juneau, Anchorage To Fairbanks Road Trip: One Week In Alaska, The Best Way To Explore Kenai Fjords National Park: Major Marine Tours, What to Pack for Alaska, Written by a Local, Denali National Park Travel Guide + 14 Things To Do In Denali, The Rabbit Lakes Hike In Anchorage, Alaska, The Reed Lakes Hike In Hatcher Pass, Alaska. Ice caves – though in this case “glacier cave” might be a more appropriate term – form when water flows through a glacier and melts a passageway through the ice. But, beneath its white and rocky gray facade, it holds one of nature’s most spectacular secrets. This is now a hike to the toe of the glacier and nothing more. Mendenhall Glacier is a very popular tourist destination, conveniently located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska, so if you happen to be in Juneau or are planning a trip there, a visit at least to the glacier is a must. At present there are only 2 companies that go where the ice caves are located, one is a long hike and the other is a canoe trip. If our guides locate a glacier ice cave, you'll be able to explore its stunning blue walls and ceiling under safe conditions. Then comes the ice climbing. The Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long river of flowing ice. As we exited the ice cave, we got our first look straight up the Mendenhall Glacier and realized its … Can you confirm this information is not accurate? Do take care as people have fallen through the ice in the past. Mendenhall Glacier is a very popular tourist destination, conveniently located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska, so if you happen to be in Juneau or are planning a trip there, a visit at least to the glacier is a must. Mendenhall Glacier Caves – The Incredibly beautiful Ice Caves of Alaska Admin February 14, 2020 Incredible Places in USA Leave a comment 920 Views Packed with beautiful blue light streaming through the ice, the Mendenhall Glacier Caves in Alaska are something that surely can enlighten your day. They also are subject to change. Be careful as the rocks and ice can be very slippery here. Ice Cave Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau AK postcard C118 1930s. The Mendenhall Cave: An ice cave inside a glacier. Paddle out on the iceberg-covered Mendenhall Lake for about an hour until you reach Mendenhall Glacier. … May 6, … Your email address will not be published. After an hour of either paddling or hiking, visitors will reach the glacier. It’s possible to bring a kayak (or rent one back in Juneau) and kayak across the lake in the summer and land just to the western flank of the glacier. Juneau is just a mere 10 miles from the glacier range, and tours are conducted year round. Dress warm and in layers, especially in the winter. The effect of standing inside the caves leaves one feeling more like they’re inside an aquarium than a freezing, subterranean cave. Go at your own risk. We cannot guarantee any specific glacial features including caves. The network of cerulean ice caves is what makes Mendenhall Glacier so unique and special. The ice, over time, absorbs all colors except blue. Visiting specific features such as ice caves, moulins, etc. For those who aren’t ready to commit to such a watery trek, there are much drier options. Just outside of Juneau, Ala. lies a series of glaciers that span the horizon. Our tour guides told us their company has only been doing these ice cave tours for two years and they don't think the ice caves will be around in two more years. Accessing ice caves, moulins, or any other glacier feature is not guaranteed: Due to the dynamic nature of the Mendenhall Glacier these features are constantly changing. Follow Skater’s Cabin road to the parking lot at the end. Part of what distinguishes glacier ice caves, such as the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves, from normal bedrock caves is that they are, geologically speaking, quite temporary. Regardless of if your schedule (or comfort level) allows for a winter or summer adventure, the glacier is open. FlickrOne of the entrances to the Mendenhall Ice Caves. Learn how your comment data is processed. Some posts on the Adventures of Nicole contain affiliate links to various products & services, meaning I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, if you click or book via some of these links. I visited in early 2016 and wrote this shortly after that, so I am without a doubt that it shifted quite a lot since my trip there. Here, you can enjoy views of the thirteen-mile-long river of ice, which terminates on the far side of Mendenhall Lake, and watch blue icebergs floating in the water amidst reflections of southeast Alaska’s coast mountains. Known as “glacier blue,” this bright color happens when the air is squeezed from the ice and snow as it freezes. The lake is used for ice skating during the winter as it is covered with thick ice. Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska These spectacular natural phenomena inside a glacier are worth the kayak ride and short hike to reach them. Not comfortable going on your own? Once you’ve located the entrance, follow the tunnel in. Walk north along the western flank of the glacier. Ice caves like the ones in Alaska may change substantially from year to year, lengthening, widening, or changing direction as meltwater continues to flow and the glacier moves downhill. And there is a lot of water on the contact between the glacier ice and the ground. This is a long trek and the trail is difficult, can be dangerous in areas, and is mostly unmarked, though there usually is some surveyors tape every so often marking the way. Mendenhall Glacier from West Glacier Trail / dancingnomad3, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 Caves in the blue ice. Hire a guide! The water initially flows in from the top or side surfaces of the glacier, through a hole known as a moulin. As meltwater continues to move through the passageways (even long after the initial flow of water has ebbed) the passages can widen, lengthen, and even sprout new directions. Juneau Shore Tours Reservations • 1 … However, just because it’s drier doesn’t mean it’s easier. Occasionally, if meltwater stops flowing, they can also disappear. There are no ice caves left at this point. Read up more on my Disclaimer page. When I visited in 2016 the opening to the ice cave was right off the western flank, but these caves have since collapsed. Trekking next to the glacier you come across the caves. Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads. Mendenhall Glacier is one of the many large glaciers that flow from the 1500 square mile expanse of rock, snow and ice known as the Juneau Icefield. It’s better to order a tour with an experienced guide … Root & Kennicott Glaciers. Once inside, you'll be surrounded by dazzling blue ice formations and glacial "rain," which pours down as the ice melts. One of the entrances to the Mendenhall Ice Caves. This route includes bridges, hazards, loose rocks, inclines, declines, and even stairs. We went last year and used your blog post to guide us there, it was even more surreal in person . May 14, 2016 - Explore Jayden W's board "Mendenhall Ice Caves" on Pinterest. cannot be guaranteed due to the constantly changing nature of the Mendenhall glacier. Despite the harsh terrain and the exhausting climb, once you arrive at the Mendenhall Ice Caves it will all be worth it. Great weekend trip with Piriya, Nae, Pla and Ter! It can get slippery so be cautious where you step, in fact, the last section that descends down to the glacier is quite steep and on loose scree that can be very slippery. While this is unfortunate, you can’t predict these things. The Adventures of Nicole is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. $1.99 + shipping . This will typically lead you to the entrance of an ice cave. I hope they haven ’ t, but these caves have since collapsed the 1,500 square mile range 38... 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