The Best Glacier Hiking in Alaska!
Your trip will begin at our office in the historic mining town of Kennecott, Alaska. You will meet your professional mountain guide who will fit you with crampons (metal spokes worn on your shoes so you can grip the glacial ice). Your guide will also make sure you have all the necessary clothing and equipment for a day of glacier hiking.
You and you guide will then head out on your adventure! You’ll walk down the main street of Kennecott, passing the historic red and white buildings from the mining days of years past. The main street eventually turns into the two-mile trail out to the white ice of the Root Glacier. Keep your eyes peeled for beautiful wildflowers, as beautiful blue lupine can be found blooming in May and June. As summer progresses, you can expect to see the pinks of dwarf fireweed and wild rose. Keep your cameras ready, as the wildflowers, waterfalls, and alpine scenery of this hike will keep even the amateur photographer busy!
The trail will start working its way downhill, as you descend to the glacier’s edge. While your guide explains glaciology, you can enjoy spectacular views of the mountain peaks around you, including 6,696’ Donoho Peak. As you near the glacier, you’ll notice the air is cooler, and you may even want to put an extra layer on. At the edge of the glacier, your guide will instruct you on how to attach your crampons, and will demonstrate some basic crampon techniques and discuss glacier safety.
And now it’s time to hike on the glacier for the rest of the day! There are various features on the surface of the ice, such as rivers, canyons, waterfalls, blue pools, and moulins. All these can be explored on your hike, and your guide can help lead you to areas that are particularly fascinating. Be careful as you look down into moulins (deep vertical shafts “milled” into the ice by the meltwater), as they can go down hundreds of feet! Keep your cameras ready to capture the brilliant color of blue pools, and the impressive mountain scenery in every direction. Listen to the sounds of the glacier gurgle, bubble, and roar as the meltwater moves across the surface and inside the heart of the glacier. And if you find a blue pool that looks particularly appetizing, check with your guide about taking a quick dip!
After you enjoy your “lunch with a view,” you can continue to explore the features of the glacier. You and your guide may decide to head up-glacier towards the mile-high Stairway Icefall, looking for moulins and blue pools. You also could hike across the width of the glacier to see Donoho Falls, and the monstrous cave it creates as it tunnels its way under the Root Glacier. Whatever you choose, this Alaskan day hike will leave you dazzled and ready to share your discoveries with other travelers over dinner.
As the day progresses and the light softens, you and your guide will make your way back to Kennecott. The trip is not over yet, as you should keep your eyes peeled for bears feeding along the glacial moraine. At this time of evening, the trail is quiet, and the wildlife are more likely to be out and about, so keep your camera ready!