Mendenhall Glacier website
- Hours: Open year round, with longer hours in summer
- Reservations: Not required for the visitor center
- Cost: Small fee at the visitor center in summer
- Location: 13 miles from downtown Juneau, driving directions below
- How Long: Allow an hour if you take a short hike, up to all day for longer hikes or guided tours
- Best Time to Visit: Most visitors come in summer, but Mendenhall Glacier is accessible year round
Mendenhall Glacier ReviewThe most famous of the glaciers in the Juneau Ice Field, Mendenhall Glacier is named for Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, who served on the Alaska Boundary Commission that surveyed the international boundary between Canada and Alaska.
The Mendenhall Glacier is 12 miles long and 1-1/2 miles wide where it stretches across the Mendenhall Valley. Its ice can be 400 to 800 feet deep.
Hiking trails around the Mendenhall Glacier visitor center range from a short, 0.3-mile walk to a 6.8-mile hike with a 1,300-foot elevation gain. These trails will give great views of Mendenhall Glacier, but will not take you onto the ice. Walking on Mendenhall Glacier is dangerous, and should only be done if you have proper training.
Most Mendenhall Glacier visitors see it as a shore excursion from a cruise. If you're looking for a lower-cost way to see it from a cruise ship, or if you're visiting Juneau on your own, Mendenhall Glacier Transport's blue "Glacier Express" buses run from downtown to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center every half hour or so.
For a more intimate tour, there are plenty of private tour operators to choose from. Tour options include flighsteeing and helicopter tours, guided glacier treks and combination glacier/Mendenhall River float trips.