Glaciers have long been popular tourist attractions. Formed over centuries by the continuous build-up of snow and the subsequent compacting into ice. They’re like vast, frozen rivers that constantly move under their own weight. The intense blue of glacier ice, which forms thanks to interactions between water molecules and light, make glaciers one of Mother Nature’s best works of art, which is why glacier tours in Alaska are so popular.
If you’d like to get up close to a glacier while visiting Alaska, you’ll have a myriad of ways to do it. There is no one best way, with options that include everything from challenging adventures with fitness and age requirements to family-friendly glacier visits. It all depends on what suits you and your group.
Helicopter Glacier Tours
Touring Alaska by helicopter is the easiest way to visit a glacier. There’s no need to embark on a long trek and the journey there is part of the thrill. You’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the landscape below and some of the most spectacular photo ops imaginable. If you’re seeking an adventure experience in the backcountry, a memorable, luxury escape, or a way to get the whole family out into nature together, a helicopter is the ultimate way to enjoy a glacier encounter. Many newly engaged couples choose this option as glaciers make the most beautiful Alaska engagement photos.
Boat Glacier Tours
It’s also possible to get up close to a giant, glistening glacier by boat, where you can listen to the roar, a thunderous sound that occurs when a blue chunk of ice breaks off, crashing into the water below, a phenomenon known as “calving.” Near Anchorage, Kenai Fjords National Park, Portage Lake, and Prince William Sound are some of the most popular options for boat glacier tours in Alaska. The Portage Glacier Cruise is a good option if you want to get close to a glacier but don’t have a lot of time.
Boat glacier tours are family-friendly as an excursion that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities, with no particular fitness requirements.
Ice Climbing and Hiking Glacier Tours
For the most adventurous, there are countless ice climbing and hiking glacier tours in Alaska.
While some hikes can be shorter and follow a public trail, there are also extensive, challenging activities that will give you as much glacier as you can handle! For these more adventurous hiking groups, you may take a helicopter to areas inaccessible by road, and local glacier trekking and ice climbing experts will guide you through the Alaskan backcountry. This is typically suited only for those who are 12 and older, physically fit, and have at least four to six hours of time available.
As you hike, you’ll get a close-up look at the magnificent features of the glacier and its naturally carved ice, often using some anchors and technical ropes while covering some distance. Those interested in ice climbing, even beginners, can often be taught the basics. By the end of the day, you’ll be climbing massive walls of ice! We’ll fly you there to experience this thrill with our guiding partners Ascending Path and Chugach Adventures.
Dog Sledding Glacier Tours
Dog sledding glacier tours not only offer a great way to marvel at a glacier, but to enjoy the thrilling experience of being pulled by beautiful canines while getting a glimpse into Alaskan culture and enjoying breathtaking scenery. With most visitors arriving in the summer, you might think this isn’t a doable option for your trip to Alaska, but it’s actually possible to go summer dog sledding on snow during the warmer months, too. There are no age limits or fitness requirements, you’ll just need to be able to take a big, awkward step out of the helicopter before a short walk on the surface of the glacier.
The excursion combines a helicopter flight to a glacier where there is snow year-round. You’ll get to enjoy those stunning views from above, including endless snow-dusted mountain peaks and surreal alpine lakes, before meeting your expert guide, trained by legendary three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavy, and the friendly Alaskan sled dogs. Whether you let the professional do all the work or you want to experience being behind a powerful dog team, you’ll be immersed in the unspoiled wilderness that includes the beauty of mountains and glaciers.
Why Fly with Alpine Air Alaska?
With multiple options for immersing yourself in nature’s beauty and marveling at a glacier, a glacier tour is something you’ll want to check off your bucket list on a trip to Alaska. There’s no better way to do it than by soaring through the air with the help of Alpine Air Alaska.
Departures are conveniently located in the mountain town of Girdwood, which is less than an hour’s drive from Anchorage. You’ll be heading out with a company that’s developed an unparalleled reputation thanks to exceptional service, an extensive safety record, and high-quality tours!To enjoy the ultimate glacier experience, contact us to book your unforgettable adventure or find out more.