Alaska’s glaciers are massive and majestic, bright white and deep blue, icy cold and oh so cool, and truly must be seen to be believed. Alaska glacier cruises, hiking and flightseeing offer all visitors one of the 49th state’s most iconic traveler experiences. When glaciers crack, it sounds like thunder striking. When they calve into the sea, chunks as big as your SUV or condo can come crashing down. And with over 100,000 glaciers in Alaska, even in an age of global warming, there’s plenty of awe-inspiring glacier fun to be had whether you explore them on foot, by boat, by rail or by helicopter.
Some of Alaska’s sparkling glaciers you can practically walk up to (Exit Glacier in Seward, Worthington Glacier in Valdez) or even walk on (Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Matanuska Glacier outside of Palmer, Kennicott Glacier in the old mining area of McCarthy-Kennecott). Aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Glacier Discovery route, you can hop off at a whistle stop and spend the afternoon with Spencer Glacier south of Anchorage.
Other Alaska glaciers are easily accessible by boat or air. Prince William Sound is packed with glaciers or take a day cruise out of Whittier and see more than 20 glaciers in a day. If you visit Southeast Alaska, make a plan to spend time in Glacier Bay National Park, which certainly lives up to its name with more than 50 named glaciers in the area. Magestic Margerie Glacier is the princess of the park, massive and constantly calving. Fly and land on Ruth Glacier, which is near Denali and arguably as impressive – it sits nearly 3,800 feet tall, grander than the Grand Canyon, and framed by Denali National Park’s majestic mountains and granite walls.