Showing posts from July, 2011

Ice Caves Hike (June 2011)

On the west side of the Mendenhall River (the opposite side from the visitor center where the buses take the tourists) there is a trail that goes to the Mendenhall Glacier. It is considered the country's most accessible glacier. A three mile hike on the West Glacier Trail, then the Ice Caves Trail will get you to its edge. Along the sides of the glacier there are ice caves big enough that you can walk in.
On the way out I hiked up the Mendenhall Lake Edge Trail which is an unofficial trail with lots of flowers. 

This trail runs splits off from and rejoins the West Glacier Trail; it is mainly a walk along the edge of the lake. When the lake level is up, this trail is underwater. After rejoining the West Glacier Trail, I took a right turn onto an "Unmaintained Hazardous" trail, which is a rough trail marked with cairns that leads to the side of the glacier. At the end of this trail, there is a short descent to the glacier. I did not see any ice caves right away so I walked …

Herbert Glacier Trail (June 2011)

The Herbert Glacier trail is an easy 4.5 mile trail about 16 miles north of the Mendenhall Valley in Juneau Alaska. The trail is a compacted gravel trail which many people bike. It follows the Herbert river up to the Herbert Glacier.
Near the end of the trail, we left it and walked across a wash, crossing a couple of streams, to get closer to the glacier.
We came upon the main flow of the creek feeding the Herbert River and were not able to cross it so we went up along it. This part of the hike included a bit of rock scrambling and going through bushes. It was a welcome challenge after the smooth trail.
We did not find a place to get across the creek, so we did not get the glacier itself, but we had some close views of it. We also looked at the class 5 rapids in the creek.

The main trail is great if your looking for something easy with great views at the end. Most other trails in the area are a bit rougher. The trail is about 9 miles roundtrip, but with the additional hiking we did along …