Named after pioneering meteorologist and physicist Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier is located approximately 12 miles north of the city of Juneau. Visitors can catch a bus in Juneau that transports them to a popular glacier trailhead. Travelers can hike one of several trails surrounding Mendenhall Glacier and explore ancient forests, view stunning sapphire blue sheets of ice, and—depending on the time of year—potentially spot a bear snacking on some salmon.
The Mendenhall Glacier is part of the Juneau Icefield which extends all the way into British Columbia. The Juneau Icefield is home to over 100 glaciers. The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most noteworthy glaciers because in 2012, scientists discovered the remnants of an ancient forest which had been frozen in time for nearly 2,000 years beneath a melted portion of the glacier.
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center offers travelers a stunning view of blue icebergs bobbing up and down in a deep blue lake. Visitors can also view a towering mountain range, get a breathtaking view of the Mendenhall Glacier in all of its glory, and ask a U.S. Forest Ranger questions about the surrounding landscape.
Visitors who are interested in exploring Mendenhall Glacier can book one of several guided tours. Boat tours of Lake Mendenhall, helicopter tours which offer a spectacular aerial view of Mendenhall Glacier, and dog sledding tours which allow visitors to race up the side of an icy mountain are all quite popular.
Mendenhall Glacier is accessible year-round, but May through October is generally considered the best time to visit because warmer weather allows for more accessibility. If you have ever dreamed of visiting a glacier but questioned if you are rugged enough to trudge though snow and ice, a visit to Mendenhall Glacier is a must. One of Alaska‘s most majestic glaciers is mere miles away from Juneau.