Mendenhall Glacier has a nice Visitor Center. Entrance fee was $3 as of May, 2002 (honor system). Inside there's a viewing deck on the 2nd floor with huge glass windows and telescope, a comfortable theater showing nature film, and many interesting exhibits.
The photo shows Mendenhall Glacier viewed from Visitor Center's viewing deck. You can also see Nugget Creek Falls to the right and Mendenhall Lake surrounded by moraine rocks.
There are many trails around Mendenhall Glacier. The easy ones include the short, paved Photo Point Trail and Trail of Time. More moderate are East Glacier Loop, West Glacier Loop, and Nugget Creek Trail.
If weather permits, at least take a short walk along Mendenhall Lake beach to get a close-up view of the Glacier face (about 0.5 mile). Along the hike you'll see icebergs and walk on moraine rocks deposited by the receding Glacier.
Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most visited drive-in glaciers in Alaska (others include Portage Glacier near Anchorage and Exit Glacier near Seward). In the summer, busloads of visitors from cruise ships come here everyday. Its popularity comes from its proximity to Juneau -- about 12 miles north of the city and easily walkable from roadside.
To visit the Glacier from the city you can either join one of the many Glacier tours (about $20) or take Capital Transit, Juneau's city bus system. In year 2002 the bus ride was $1.25 one way. However, getting off the city bus at Glacier Spur Rd you still have to walk a couple of miles to the Visitor Center.
The photo was taken from AMH Kennicott (Alaska Marine Highway) on May 14, 2002. After spending 3 days in Juneau, I boarded AMH Kennicott to head north across the Gulf of Alaska to Valdez, a 38-hour ride. When the ferry left Auk Bay Ferry Terminal, I looked back and had a glance of Mendenhall Glacier for the last time.
As seen in photo, at the end of the hike along Mendenhall Lake beach you'll see Nugget Creek Falls just east of the Glacier. The water of Nugget Creek Falls originates from Nugget Glacier, a tributary of Mendenhall Glacier, and drops hundreds of feet into Mendenhall Lake.
My visit to the Glacier was in May, 2002. In the summer the water level of Mendenhall Lake rises and visitors can no longer get this close to the Falls.
Hiking along Mendenhall Lake beach I saw glacier-calved icebergs, as shown in photo. This was my first visit to a glacier. I was pretty excited despite the gloomy weather. In Mendenhall I also saw bald eagles for the first time.
The Lake receives water from Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Creek Falls, then flows into Gastineau Channel via Mendenhall River. Whitewater rafting along Mendenhall River is popular in summer. But I was thinking about paddling kayak on lake to touch the Glacier face. However, I couldn't find kayak rental nearby and the weather was not cooperating.
You must visit the beautiful Mendenhall Glacier, which is located only a few miles away from Juneau. Any taxi cab could take you there, or you could hire a tour, and it's one of the visits you can't miss. And yes, this picture IS mine - I mean, it's me who made it and it's not a postcard! Yippee!
You must see the Mendendall Glacier, located 21km from the city center, unless you've already seen a glacier (I'm guessing they mostly all look alike).
Very interesting to read about how the glaciers carved through hills and mountains in the area, and how they helped form the land.
Mendenhal Glacier. I believe this is the one I saw, but as for it being 10 years ago, I may be wrong. We took a bus to this place, but it dropped us off like 5 miles from the glacier, and I remember us having to walk like for an hour along a deserted highway to get to the damn thing. But when we took the corner and saw the glacier in the distance, it was breathtaking. The thing was huge! There was a nice park where we sat and look at the thing, and a big lake in front. Huge icebergs floated down from the glacier.
Fun experience getting there!
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