Glaciers form over centuries of time, and along with icebergs, they hold most of our planet’s fresh water. With the ice rapidly melting, glaciologists have predicted that some will vanish entirely within the next few decades, which means you’ll want to see them before they disappear.
Most of the glaciers in the U.S. are located in the gorgeous 49th state – Alaska! Experiencing these extraordinary natural wonders is a breathtaking moment to remember forever. They can be viewed by water, air, or sea by taking one of the best glacier tours in Alaska.
Girdwood Glacier Flightseeing
If you want to fully experience a glacier in all its glory, Girdwood glacier flightseeing is the best way to do it. A 90-minute tour with Alpine Air Alaska from Girdwood (a 45-minute drive from Anchorage), not only offers a bird’s-eye view but it includes two landings. You’ll start with a glacier landing before flying to a scenic lakeside spot or a high-elevation ridge, either of which offers fabulous photo ops.
Glacier Dog Sledding
Combine two bucket-list experiences in one by joining a glacier dog sledding tour! During the tour we offer at Alpine Air Alaska, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the Chugach Mountains before landing on the giant snowfield Punchbowl Glacier.
You can schedule a summer dog sledding trip during your Alaska vacation to not only see a glacier from afar, but experience it firsthand as a dog sledding team pulls you across the snow. In fact, three-time Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey’s dogs and team train on the glacier throughout the season!
Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing
Our sister company, Ascending Path, offers a variety of hands-on glacier adventures that emerse you in the wonder of the great Alaskan wilderness. Trek across the snow, go ice climbing, or even camp on a glacier overnight!
After a helicopter ride to the glacier, a friendly, experienced guide will walk you through safety rules and a practice session. Then you’ll be off to explore amazing glaciel features with your own hands and feet.
Glacier Blue Kayak and Grandview Train Tour
This Alaskan glacier tour is hosted by Chugach Adventures in Girdwood. It includes two scenic train rides and a morning or evening of kayaking on the calm waters of Spencer Lake which can’t be accessed by car.
Your time on the lake covers three miles round-trip and includes a stop to get out and explore a glacial moraine while approaching Spencer Glacier on foot. Depending on the current conditions, you might be able to stand on it. Stopping for pictures among the floating icebergs is possible too.
Spencer Iceberg and Placer River Float
If you’re intrigued by floating among icebergs that have broken off Spencer Glacier but prefer a more relaxed experience with your guide doing all the floating, this is another of the best Alaskan glacier tours to consider. The Spencer Iceberg and Placer River Float is good for all ages and physical abilities.
After floating around the bergs, some close enough to touch, you’ll end up at Placer River. From there, embark on a family-friendly ride on mellow Class I or Class II water, which means at most you’ll only get the occasional splash so you don’t have to worry about getting wet.
Denali and Ruth Glacier Flightseeing Tour
A flightseeing tour over Denali National Park offers the chance to see wilderness areas that are untouched by humans with dramatic mountains, abundant wildlife, and glaciers.
Rust’s Flying Service offers a three-hour excursion that soars over glacier-fed, braided rivers and open tundra, Denali Mountain (the tallest in North America), and glaciers, all while watching for moose, bears, swans, wolves, and coyotes. You’ll see Tokositna Glacier and the 40-mile-long Ruth Glacier which flows through the granite walls of the world’s deepest trench, Great Gorge.
Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park
Exit Glacier is a crown jewel in Kenai Fjords National Park, just a short drive from Seward. Hiking to it is one of the top things to do here, with the easy two-mile Exit Glacier Overlook Trail from the Exit Glacier Nature Center delivering a postcard-perfect view. The more fit and adventurous who are up for a challenge can continue by going uphill to see the Harding Icefield, with ice up to a mile thick covering about 714 miles.
If you’re looking for a special experience that includes seeing a glacier, you can take a dinner cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park. You’ll enjoy a delicious dinner while the captain narrates the trip, traveling from the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward farther into the park to see Holgate or Aialik glaciers.
Glacier Bay Boat Tour in Glacier Bay National Park
The Glacier Bay boat tour departs daily throughout the summer from Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park. Traveling to Margerie Glacier, a one-mile-wide and 21-mile-long tidewater glacier with jewel-like blue ice, watch for everything from porpoises and whales to sea otters, sea lions, coastal brown bears, and bald eagles along the way.
Once there, if you’re lucky, you might even witness calving. Listen for the sounds of the ice cracking and soon a massive chunk is likely to fall with a thunder into the water below.
Glacier Flightseeing and Heli Adventures in Girdwood, Alaska
When planning your trip, whether you’re searching for year-round flightseeing, various heli adventures, or summer glacier adventures where you can actually stand on glaciers in addition to marveling at them, Alpine Air Alaska is here to make your experience unforgettable!
As the longest-serving helicopter operator in south-central Alaska, we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and safety record while offering an Alaskan experience you’ll never forget. Contact Alpine Air Alaska to book or ask questions about Alaska’s best glacier tours and more.