The Juneau icefield is an impressive sight to behold, bringing droves of visitors to southeast Alaska each year. The Juneau icefield is the 5th largest icefield in North America, encompassing 1,500 square miles. It serves as the origin of at least 38 Alaska glaciers, including Juneau’s famed Mendenhall Glacier.
Seeing the Juneau Icefield in person, not to mention the glaciers that arise from this massive marvel of nature, is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The vibrant icy blue shade of this 3,000-year-old ice is stunning. Though some Alaska glaciers, like Mendenhall, are relatively easy to access, which is partly why it is so popular, reaching the Juneau Icefield takes a little more effort.
Spend a few days with us at our downtown Juneau Hotel, and we’ll help you enjoy the very best of this fantastic city. From helping you arrange the top tours to the Juneau Icefield to recommending hikes, restaurants, and more, we are well-situated to help you launch an adventure of a lifetime. Book your room at our downtown Juneau hotel today.
5 Ways to See the Juneau Icefield
Though it is possible to hike to the Juneau Icefield, the best way to witness the majesty of this vast space is by flying over it. Several experienced glacier tour operators lead tours up to the Juneau Icefield by helicopter and small plane. You can even add fun things like dogsledding to your adventure! Here are the best ways to experience the Juneau Icefield:
- Tour the beautiful Tracy Arm Fjord by boat, and see the Sawyer Glacier up close and personal. The tour is a full day’s adventure, but once you lay eyes on the towering granite walls tower over the water’s surface and the face of the South Sawyer Glacier, you’ll know why you’ve come. It’s also a great place to see Alaska’s wildlife, including whales, bald eagles, seals, and black bears.
- The Taku Glacier is one of the best Alaska glaciers to visit because it’s the deepest and thickest ever discovered. It makes up a big part of the Juneau Icefield. It’s an adventure to get there, only reached by helicopter and then airboat, which brings you close to the Glacier.
- Herbert Glacier can be reached by a few means: on foot by a relatively easy 5-mile hike, a helicopter tour, or a glacial dog sledding expedition. Now wouldn’t that be crossing something off of the bucket list? The Herbert Glacier is a beautiful alternative to the crowded Mendenhall Glacier.
- Lemon Creek Glacier is only about 5 miles from downtown Juneau. If you’re feeling brave and up for a challenging hike, you can make it here by foot, but a safer bet would be a flightseeing tour. Seaplane rides are a comfortable way to take in the gorgeous, rugged scenery and local wildlife.
Easy Access to Alaska Glaciers in Juneau
Those the above referenced Alaska glaciers are magnificent and worth every ounce of effort it takes to visit them, Juneau is also home to one of the easiest to access Alaska glaciers; Mendenhall Glacier.
Only 12 miles from our downtown Juneau Hotel, the Mendenhall Glacier is a great place to start when becoming acquainted with the Juneau Icefield. You can walk, bike, or ride public transit to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center, where you’ll find paved and wheelchair-accessible trails and viewing points. In a state that can otherwise be overwhelming and challenging to explore, this easy access to one of the top Alaska glaciers is a big selling point.
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is the place to start, especially if you’re interested in the history of the area and about the ecosystems that surround the Glacier. Here, you’ll hike through a moist rainforest before coming face to face with the massive, craggy icefield that flows down from the Juneau Icefield.
There are other hikes in the area, including the short trek to Nugget Falls, which takes you to a beach just below the Mendenhall glacier and allows for alternative views of this massive Glacier. Alternatively, you can arrange to kayak on the lake in front of the Glacier for unobstructed views of this immense beauty.
To view even more incredible Alaska glaciers near Juneau, we recommend planning some time to visit the breathtaking waters of Glacier Bay National Park. It is one of the most pristine and spectacular places to visit in southeast Alaska. There are more than 1,000 tidewater and terrestrial glaciers here and abundant marine wildlife.
Unwind at the Best Downtown Juneau Hotel
As you plan your adventure visiting these amazing Alaska Glaciers in the Juneau Icefield, we hope that you’ll make our Downtown Juneau Hotel your home away from home. As a family-run business, we know the importance of feeling comfort and nourishment while out of town and exploring new areas. That shows in our attention to detail in our modern guest rooms and in our healthy organic breakfast served every morning.
Downtown Juneau has so much to offer, and when you stay at our downtown Juneau hotel, you’ll be within walking distance from the bulk of it. Great restaurants, breweries, and galleries are all surrounded by the expansive mountains and gorgeous Alaskan scenery. We know that visiting these Alaska glaciers and the Juneau Icefield will make lasting memories, as will a stay with us. Book your room at our Juneau Hotel today!