Can you confirm this information is not accurate? How Much Does It Cost To Travel In Alaska? This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 2. Ice is a fine material for cave formation: it is hard, tough but at the same time easily formed by the water. Vintage Postcard Ice Cave Mendenhall Glacier Near Juneau Alaska . The glacier slowly scours the bedrock and grinds down its 13-mile journey to Mendenhall Lake. The water initially flows in from the top or side surfaces of the glacier, through a hole known as a moulin. There’s a chance that there may be no caves when you plan to visit. When I visited in 2016 the opening to the ice cave was right off the western flank, but these caves have since collapsed. It’s better to order a tour with an experienced guide … Take a right onto Montana Creek Road. Due to the nature of water and the malleability of the glaciers, the ice caves can vary hugely in length and size. 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. Opens image gallery. Depending on the ice you can go to varying depths into the glacier. Your guide will assess each available feature prior to accessing to determine if it is safe to explore. Read up more on my Disclaimer page. And there is a lot of water on the contact between the glacier ice and the ground. Visiting specific features such as ice caves, moulins, etc. When I visited the opening was quite obvious. May 14, 2016 - Explore Jayden W's board "Mendenhall Ice Caves" on Pinterest. If you don’t have any glacier experience, I highly recommend hiring a guide. Ice Cave Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau AK postcard C118 1930s. 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. However, I heard guided tours are typically around $215-$300/person. Once inside, you'll be surrounded by dazzling blue ice formations and glacial "rain," which pours down as the ice melts. This is now a hike to the toe of the glacier and nothing more. 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. Regardless of if your schedule (or comfort level) allows for a winter or summer adventure, the glacier is open. See more ideas about Mendenhall ice caves, Mendenhall, Ice cave. Glaciers are constantly shifting, changing, melting, moving, and sometimes growing. If you’re looking for the same view in the winter, you’re encouraged to hike across the frozen lake. As we exited the ice cave, we got our first look straight up the Mendenhall Glacier and realized its … 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. But, beneath its white and rocky gray facade, it holds one of nature’s most spectacular secrets. Known as “glacier blue,” this bright color happens when the air is squeezed from the ice and snow as it freezes. 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. FlickrOne of the entrances to the Mendenhall Ice Caves. Use the trail that goes right around the rocky point and stays closer to the lake! Trekking on a glacier and inside ice caves is dangerous. Occasionally, if meltwater stops flowing, they can also disappear. Indeed, a glacier ice cave that was well-developed last year may even have disappeared come spring! $1.99 + shipping . The most famous Alaskan ice caves are located under Mendenhall, Root, Spencer, Matanuska, and Kennicott Glaciers. Though the glacier can feel like another planet, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are surprisingly easy to get to. If our guides locate a glacier ice cave, you'll be able to explore its stunning blue walls and ceiling under safe conditions. Inside The Otherworldly Mendenhall Ice Caves Of Alaska [PHOTOS]. Wikimedia CommonsMendenhall Glacier in the Winter. There is Surveyor’s tape marking the trail but it is nice to have a GPS as well. The lake is used for ice skating during the winter as it is covered with thick ice. Where the road forks take the right onto Skater’s Cabin road. 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. The Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area is a federally protected unit of the Tongass National Forest. 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. The effect of standing inside the caves leaves one feeling more like they’re inside an aquarium than a freezing, subterranean cave. 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. Injury and/or death is possible. 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. Be careful as the rocks and ice can be very slippery here. 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. 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. Mendenhall Lake fronts the glacier at the terminus, and the ice extends 150-250 feet under the water. Joining the ice worms under the surreal, icy blue world of a glacier. Paddle out on the iceberg-covered Mendenhall Lake for about an hour until you reach Mendenhall Glacier. Hands down one of the most magical things I’ve done in the world? The West Glacier Trail, a well-marked path, leads right toward the glacier. Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads. 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. 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. Just outside of Juneau, Ala. lies a series of glaciers that span the horizon. 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. cannot be guaranteed due to the constantly changing nature of the Mendenhall glacier. Additionally the trail that is recommended, and that goes north at the fork, is seldom used and becoming overgrown. For those summer visitors willing to put some effort in, kayaks are available to rent in Juneau. July 7, 2019. Then, check out these photos of when Alaska was recently settled. Glaciers and especially ice caves are constantly shifting, melting, and collapsing. The ice, over time, absorbs all colors except blue. 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. The network of cerulean ice caves is what makes Mendenhall Glacier so unique and special. Your email address will not be published. Dress warm and in layers, especially in the winter. Amazing isn’t it? I called the Mendenhall Visitor center today to get more information about the current conditions of the caves and was told all were collapsed. Your email address will not be published. The Mendenhall Ice Caves has been dubbed as one of the most beautiful sites in the world. Ice caves make up its surreal interior. Just updated the post in May 2017, Thanks for the clear instructions on how to get to the ice caves. This is the beginning of the ‘West Glacier Trail‘. As glacial ice continues to build, gravity pulls the ice down slope. Check out kayak and canoe trips here. 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. They also are subject to change. 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. Learn how your comment data is processed. Shop the best flight deals on Expedia and Skyscanner. 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. This is not terrain the should be descended by those without significant experience in the mountains. Required fields are marked *. 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. While this is unfortunate, you can’t predict these things. During May 2017? 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 . 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. Head northwest on Egan Drive, take a right onto Mendenhall Loop Road which will turn into Glacier Spur Rd. :), There from January 2016. By air, by cruise ship, or by the Marine Highway (aka: the ferry). Guided tours in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area have to be permitted by the US Forest Service. The Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long river of flowing ice. I would just google “mendenhall glacier ice caves guided tour” and compare a few companies and prices. All and all a great hike but do not do it expecting caves like those pictured. 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). Juneau is just a mere 10 miles from the glacier range, and tours are conducted year round. Then, spend about an hour to an hour and a half on the glacier. 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. 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. 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. The ice caves at the Mendenhall have received a lot of publicity lately, as the glacier's recession has allowed access by curious visitors. 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 … 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. Check out the Juneau Travel Guide + 19 Things To Do In Juneau. Glad to hear you made it out there! Though the glacier can feel like another planet, the Mendenhall Ice Caves are surprisingly easy to get to. You’ll arrive in one of three ways. But a visit to the Mendenhall Ice Caves will likely be one of the most amazing … Despite the harsh terrain and the exhausting climb, once you arrive at the Mendenhall Ice Caves it will all be worth it. 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. The caves, while filled with and made up of ice and flowing water, are a result of flowing water themselves. Follow Skater’s Cabin road to the parking lot at the end. Great weekend trip with Piriya, Nae, Pla and Ter! FlickrA pond of meltwater in the ice caves. Walk north along the western flank of the glacier. 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. 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. Firstly, you’ll need to get to Juneau. Join us on the Mendenhall Glacier for the ultimate overnight camping adventure! The enchanting Root Glacier is located in America’s largest national … Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Picture Information. 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. It just depends on how the glacier has shifted. In the winter, if the ice is thick enough it is possible to walk across the frozen lake from the Visitor Center. This can be largely dependent on the weather on a particular year though. Explore the 3,000-year-old Mendenhall Glacier on this 5.5-hour adventure tour from Alaska’s capital city, Juneau. Many people from all around the world come to Alaska to see this natural phenom enon. Additionally once you get to the saddle, above the glacier, the trail descends loose, dangerous scree for several hundred feet now. $5.99 + $3.96 shipping . Hey Cheryl, I’m not in Juneau right now, so I don’t have any more current information on if the caves have collapsed. 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. Do take care as people have fallen through the ice in the past. After an hour of either paddling or hiking, visitors will reach the glacier. Learn more! 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 glacier is located about 12 miles north of downtown Juneau. Starting with a canoe ride across the lake, you paddle your way straight to the face of the glacier before landing on the beach. It is advisable to get an early start, especially in the winter when days are short. We set out to look for the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves, which were apparently hard to locate. Nestled in Mendenhall Valley, the Mendenhall Glacier is a 13-mile-long stunning frozen formation located just 12 short miles from downtown Juneau. The trail gets increasingly steeper as it nears the glacier, and in the rainy season can be slick and muddy. 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. We had a great experience! The Surreality of the Underbelly: The Mendenhall Cave, Inside a Glacier was originally written in January 2016. You can hear the constant movement of the glacier with the occasional groan and creak. Regardless of if your schedule (or comfort level) allows for a winter or summer adventure, the glacier is open. For those who aren’t ready to commit to such a watery trek, there are much drier options. Login Logout Entries Feed Privacy Policy & Disclaimer. We cannot guarantee any specific glacial features including caves. Beyond AK does take groups out to the ice caves but only if they are reasonably safe to access. The network of cerulean ice caves is what makes Mendenhall Glacier so unique and special. It first formed in the Juneau Icefield, which is over 3,000 years old. But a visit to the Mendenhall Ice Caves will likely be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. The caves come and go as mother nature chooses and are accessible only to the most adventurous of travelers. The Mendenhall Ice Caves offer an adventure like no other, the opportunity to see what it looks like inside a glacier. JUNEAU -- A Mendenhall Glacier ice cave that had become a popular but increasingly dangerous attraction has collapsed, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Experience the best of Alaska on our hiking, canoeing, and adventure tours! Then comes the ice climbing. 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. Specifically about 12 miles from downtown Juneau in southeast Alaska. 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. The last of the caves that could be entered collapsed in May of 2019. 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. Updated November 2020, How to get to Mendenhall Ice Caves was originally written in February 2016. Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting. 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 The Mendenhall Glacier is melting at an expedited rate. Other visitors report having to duck down or even crawl to enter. We went last year and used your blog post to guide us there, it was even more surreal in person . Looking for more ideas for your time in Juneau? 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. Is the glacier retreating? Good to know, thanks for the update. Once you’ve located the entrance, follow the tunnel in. Hire a guide! Glaciers are constantly changing and so are glacial features including the famous Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves. Root & Kennicott Glaciers. 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. I hope they haven’t, but it does seem to happen every few years, When are these photos taken? Ice caves in the Mendenhall Glacier are not unique. 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. Experience the splendor of Mendenhall Glacier at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. There are no ice caves left at this point. Visitors can watch the ice melt and turn to meltwater, before refreezing and turning back into the glaciers. Don’t put off a visit to Mendenhall Ice Cave, its constantly shifting and changing, and will collapse every so often and reform. EXTRA 11% OFF See all eligible items.