Mendenhall Glacier & Ice Caves
The Mendenhall Glacier in the Inside Passage is perhaps Alaska’s most famous glacier. Many tourists kayak to reach it and explore the rapidly melting ice caves at the base of the glacier wall. One can also hike around on top, careful to avoid hundred foot drops, crevasses, and moulins on the surface. The first photo is especially illustrative of what the surface looks like. Pictured, is the tour guide standing on the precipice of a massive crevasse. She's looking out into a canyon of continually shifting ice that was about the length of an entire football field. The deep blue color is ice formed thousands of years ago that was compressed and devoid of any air. I had never seen anything like it in my life. This was one of the times when nature made you feel so insignificant.
North and South Sawyer Glaciers
The twin tidewater Sawyer Glaciers, North (picture one) and South (picture two) can be found in the Tracy Arm fjord of Alaska near Juneau. Both are absolutely stunning. Best of all, Tracy Arm is not visited by many large cruise ships partly because ice calved off the two glaciers often don't allow ships to get even within sight of them. The glaciers are best seen on intimate, small boat excursions from Juneau, which allow you to observe the massive faces of the twin glaciers up close.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park’s only has one official trail - but what a trail it is! The Harding Icefield trek is a strenuous hike of almost 4,000 feet straight up and passes by the beautiful Exit Glacier. The effort pays off when arriving at the campsite at the top – an overlook of the Icefield. The Icefield is so large that it feeds 40 glaciers on its sides. On my visit, I was totally alone up there I could hear faint cracking noises, which were the sounds of massive glaciers the size of multistory buildings calving miles away. The next morning, I awoke to the spectacular sight of fog literally circling the huge Kenai Fjords like some kind of tie or band wrapping around a Christmas present. The clouds were heavy but beams of golden hour light shined through.
Prince William sound & Columbia Glacier
Prince William Sound is a kayaker’s dream. Located on the south coast of Alaska, the Sound is ringed by the steep and glaciated Chugach Mountains and the coastline is convoluted, with many islands and fjords, several of which contain tidewater glaciers. One of these, the Columbia Glacier expels huge icebergs and kayaks are the best way to explore their otherworldly shapes and enormous sizes.