A short drive north from downtown Juneau within the Mendenhall Valley is the glacier of the same name. People from all over the world, a lot of times via an excursion off of a cruise ship, head to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center to checkout the glacier along with the mountains, wildlife, greenery and more.
My fiance and I visited via an excursion in the early evening and immediately walked towards one of the vista points.
The Mendenhall Glacier is currently twelve miles long carving it’s way through the Mendenhall Valley ending where you are viewing it from in the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is part of the largest forest in the United States, the Tongass National Forest.
We were lucky enough to be there in during an unusually warm and sunny day. That led to some glacier reflection shots off Mendenhall Lake and time up close…
…with it’s cold glacier water.
As you can see on the map above you’ll find plenty of walking trails to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and different vantage points. It was a combination of tourists and locals walking their dogs and running.
Due to the warmer temperatures on average the Mendenhall Glacier has been receding faster from the front than it’s forming in the back. They say it might not be that many years before it will be hidden from view from the Visitor Center.
Off to the right of the glacier when viewing from the vista points is Nugget Falls, whose water falls into the lake, originating from the Nugget Glacier.
All around the lake your bound to see mini floating icebergs broken off from the glacier.
Walk less than a mile on the Nugget Falls Trail from the Visitor Center to see the falls up close.
Be on the lookout for bears when in the park. No food is allowed within.
It was a beautiful evening and time at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
We got to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center by signing up for a tour/excursion through ShoreTrips and it was run locally by Orca Eco Tours. Our host and tour guide were very informative giving us lots of information about both the glacier and Juneau. Checkout other Juneau excursion options from ShoreTrips.
Some additional tidbits:
- Checkout the history of the glacier in the Visitor Center. There is a $3 fee to enter. It sits up-top a small cliff.
- It’s free to walk the trails, use the restrooms and visit the souvenir shop.
- There are other trails going away from the waterfall and glacier where you’ll probably spot a bear and see lots of salmon swimming in the water.
- The park is opened year around but just on the weekend with shorter hours during the winter and colder months.
- Leave at least a few hours to explore all the trails and stare at all the scenery.
What glaciers have you visited in your travels?