The “Coolest” Glacier Hiking in Alaska!
If you were to do only one day hike on your trip to Alaska, glacier hiking on the Root Glacier is the hike to do. It combines beautiful mountain vistas with impressive glacial features, including blue pools, canyons, rivers, and waterfalls into an unforgettable adventure. With 30 years of guiding in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the guides of Copper Oar and St. Elias Alpine Guides are here to provide a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience to every adventurer who comes our way.
The hike will begin at our office in the historic mining town of Kennecott, Alaska. Your professional guide will fit you with crampons (metal spikes that attach to your shoes and allow you to grip the ice of the glacier), and make sure you have all the necessary gear you’ll need for a day of glacier hiking.
Next, it’s time to head off to the glacier! You’ll enjoy learning about the history of the Kennecott mining buildings you’ll be walking past on the trail to the glacier. The ghost town of Kennecott contains an impressive array of well-preserved buildings and machines from the early 1900’s. As you pass through town and begin hiking along the glacial moraine, keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful blue lupine flowers that bloom in May and June. As summer progresses, you can expect to see a rainbow of colors as dwarf fireweed and goldenrod begin to bloom. Our guides are very knowledgeable in local geology, flora, and fauna, and will be sure to answer any questions you have.
Soon you’ll hike down to the beautiful white ice of the Root Glacier, where you’ll pause to put on your crampons – following the instruction of your guide. While you hike down towards the Glacier, the air will cool, the vegetation will change, and you can really understand the immense size of the glacier you are about to traverse.
Day hiking on the glacier involves exploring the fascinating details of its surface. There is water constantly running over the ice surface, carving canyons and creating waterfalls, bubbling streams, and brooks. The rivers cutting through the ice resemble a water slide – however it would certainly be a chilly ride! As the ice gives way to themelting water, deep holes, known as moulins, are formed on the glacier. They are impressively loud features, and give onlookers views of the deep blue ice towards the glacier’s interior.
After taking a break to enjoy lunch on the glacier (find a spot with a nice 360 degree view), it’s time to make your way back to Kennecott. However, don’t think your adventure is over yet! Keep an eye out for the ice climbers scaling the icy cliffs of the glacier, or bears feeding along the glacial moraine. For those of you who are intrigued by the history of the Kennecott mining town, the trip will return to Kennecott in plenty of time to take a quick break before the start of the Kennecott Mill Tour.