As the planet continues its warming cycle, the magnificent glaciers of Alaska are at perilous risk. The most northern state has over 100,000 glaciers covering over 3% of the current land space. There are currently only 616 named glaciers in Alaska and more than three-quarters of these curious natural phenomena are located inside National Parks.
One of the pleasures of travel is the opportunity to see and visit new and unusual places. With over two million tourists heading to Alaska every year, the popularity of the remaining glaciers has become epic in proportion. With glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate, many travelers are anxious to get a glimpse at the crystalline blue ice structures before they are gone.
While planning your Alaskan vacation, your first priority after booking your accommodations in one of the rustic cabins at the Baycrest Lodge should be to book a glacier tour. There are many ways to see the glaciers to suit any taste and desired level of adventure. You can cruise the shores, get out in a sea kayak, and even hike along the top of a glacier yourself. Let’s take a look at some of the grandest and most spectacular glaciers that can’t be missed on your trip to Alaska.
Glacier Bay National Park
You can get the most bang for your glacier touring buck with a visit to Glacier Bay. This National Park is home to over 50 individual glaciers of all shapes, orientations, and sizes.
Most of the 400,000 visitors to the park see the glaciers via the decks of cruise ships. The area is well known for its glacial calving activity and the presence of a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, seals, and whales.
Sit back and enjoy your journey to the Spencer Glacier by train. This is the only way to see this deep blue glacier and lake. Once you arrive you can choose to hike onto the glacier or float gently along the Spencer lake shores on an exhilarating rafting trip.
Nestled in the heights of the Chugach Mountains, the Worthington Glacier is a favorite of snow lovers. Due to the record amounts of annual snowfall in the area, the Worthington glacier is not melting as quickly as some others in the state. You can take a short hike or an ice climb out onto the glacier once you arrive after a short drive from Valdez.
On the eastern reach of Prince William Sound, the Columbia glacier is one of the most actively calving glaciers in the state. It has been dramatically retreating for over two decades.
Huge slabs of ice and snow routinely crash down into the sound, making your day cruise a dramatic and startling journey. You can take a day cruise that will let you get up close to the 400-foot walls of the outer edges of the glacier.
In less than a three-hour drive from Anchorage, you can enjoy a day of hiking on one of the largest glaciers in Alaska. The Matanuska Glacier is a favorite of casual hikers and tourists that want to feel the ice beneath their feet. Take a guided hiking tour, clamp on a set of crampons and do some ice climbing or float along the edge of the glacier in a raft.
Alaska has so much to offer even the most seasoned world traveler. Your chance to see and feel these rapidly disappearing monsters of snow and ice is getting smaller each year. Book your trip to Alaska today so that you don’t miss your chance to see some of the most magnificent glaciers remaining on the planet today.
*This is a contributed post.