Glaciers have shaped Southcentral Alaska’s geography for thousands of years, carving wide valleys, pushing aside stone and leaving behind streams. Visiting one can be the trip of a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean it is difficult. By boat and plane, on foot, behind a team of dogs and even sitting at a first-class restaurant with views of seven nearby glaciers – Anchorage is your window on these icy titans.
Spend the day exploring the countless glaciers of Prince William Sound. Or, float at the face of Portage glacier just 30 minutes after leaving the dock and listen for the cracking sound that builds to a rumbling crescendo as ice shears off the face of the glacier and crashes into the water below. Glacier cruises range from one hour to a full day.
Watching a glacier calve from the deck of a boat is just one way to get up close with these cobalt giants. Paddle a kayak through glacial lakes and navigate the tiny bergs that dot the surface. Follow hiking trails to the toe of a glacier in one of Southcentral’s state or national parks; whether camping out overnight or just stretching the legs for a few minutes, arctic wonders await.
Strap on crampons, grab an ice axe and go vertical; experienced climbing guides can help even novices climb Alaska’s glaciers. For a truly high-altitude glacier visit, book a helicopter or bush plane flight – several flightseeing companies offer glacier landings inside Denali National Park – and have a summer snowball fight in the shadow of North America’s tallest mountain. Or chopper out to untouched ice fields for snow-filled dog mushing fun under the midnight sun.