Above & Beyond Alaska
Above & Beyond Alaska
Hiking & Camping Tours • Private Tours • Nature & Wildlife Tours • Kayaking & Canoeing • Day Trips
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8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
We specialize in high-quality, small group, active adventures throughout the Juneau area featuring glaciers, bears, and whales. Come join us for guided glacier hiking, wildlife viewing, and sea kayaking. We cater to all abilities! Beginners welcome! We are the top rated wilderness guide service in the area and welcome large groups, photographers, and production companies. We offer custom trips too! Join the company who has worked with Oprah, the Travel Channel, BBC, Nat Geo, Good Morning America and so many more! We also operate the Alaska Boat & Kayak Center, Juneau's only kayak rental and retail shop located in Auke Bay boat harbor.
Juneau, Alaska

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Tours and Tickets by Above & Beyond Alaska
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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1,119 reviews
Very good

Island c
2 contributions
Sep 2022
I recently book the Mendenhall Glacier Paddle and Trek with Above and Beyond and it was amazing!! Our two guides (Sheppy and Hailey) were awesome. They went out of their way to show us the best excursion ever!! The company is great, were provided rain coats, pants, rubber boots, snacks, drink bottle of water and gloves for our trip. We got up close to an amazing waterfall then paddled over to Mendenhall Glacier where we got out of our canoe and got up close and personal with the glacier. They were both very knowledgeable of the area and provided information about the area. Highly recommend them and this excursion. This was by far the best excursion I participated in while in Alaska!!
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review! What a great day with Cheffy and Hailey and the views of the waterfall and glacier are unmatched. Thank you for making us a part of your Alaskan adventure.
Written November 10, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Chris Lissard Seaward
Boulder, CO23 contributions
Aug 2021 • Couples
What an amazing kayak trip! Kristen was our guide and she was fantastic. Very knowledgeable about whales and a “whale whisperer.” We kayaked around for about 1.5 hours and saw probably 6 humpbacks that we came comfortably close to. Lucky for us we had great weather that day and the water was like glass. It’s a whole different experience to be in the water with the whales. I highly recommend this company.
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review! Sounds like an amazing day out there with Kristin!
Written September 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

2 contributions
May 2019
While on an Inside Passage cruise my son picked out the Paddle and Trek tour on Mendenhall Glacier as the excursion to do. I was a bit hesitant wondering how my 50's body would handle the paddling. Not to worry we had many helpers on a small tour group of 4 with 4 guides. The whole experience was fantastic, the guides amazing with a great sense of humour and have a passion for sharing their beautiful environment as well as taking great care of your safety. No doubt the ice cave we entered has since changed shape and may longer exist but that is what makes this so special. Then trekking on top of the Mendenhall Glacier looking into the crevices and moulins such an amazing landscape. An exhilarating excursion that does require some effort but you are well rewarded by a lifetime memory.
Written January 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review! That is great that you were able to experience an ice cave. Since they are a feature of the glacier, ice caves come and go as the glacier changes. It is truly special if you can have that experience in addition to the trekking and exploring the surface of the glacier. Hope the rest of your Alaskan vacation was great; come back and see us again!
Written January 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Colleen H
Sarasota, FL42 contributions
Jun 2021
First full day in AK & we did an all day hike on the western side to get to Mendenhall glacier! Didn't want to get my hopes up for a glacier cave bc I didn't want to be disappointed. The hike to the glacier through the Tongass Forest & the glacier itself were so beautiful-no way to be disappointed! Then our guide Leah added the glacier cave & WOW- just amazing! Super worried about hiking that long, but most of it was pretty flat. There were a few tougher areas so you do need to be a little active, but I wouldn't say you need to be a super athlete!
Written July 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review! That is amazing you were able to see an ice cave. They are truly an unique feature, that is not always available. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your Alaskan vacation!
Written July 17, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan A.
Bend, OR14 contributions
Sep 2022
We had seen a glacier before from a large boat and thought it was nice. So we had second thoughts about going on a helicopter & climbing. Seeing how large the glacier is was spectacular! The views were amazing, I literally had to hold my jaw closed. I was scared I would fall on the ice, but the guide stayed close by me and we took our time. Luckily I was with friends and they were understanding of my balance issues & just being clumsy. I would go again and I wouldn't be afraid. Do not miss this once in a life time opportunity.
Written September 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review!
Written November 10, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

USA6 contributions
Sep 2011 • Couples
My now fiancee and I did the full day Mendenhall Glacier Trek while visiting Juneau. We were on a cruise ship but researched and booked this trip directly with Above & Beyond Alaska.

This turned out to be a great hike and a challenging one at that which takes up the whole day. The tour provider picked us up directly from the ship, provided gear (see below), and acted as the guide for the trip. In this particular

case which we liked there was no handing us off between different guides, drivers, etc. One person did it all which was great. At the end we were also driven back to the ship. We can't say enough about our guide Dawn, we had a great

time throughout. I'm sure other guides are similar based on various correspondence with Above & Beyond Alaska.

We did the full day very active Mendenhall Glacier hike so the following will apply to that option only. We aren't sure about other options as this is the only thing we had time for and wanted to do. I would say contact the tour

operator via phone or email with questions and concerns.

The hike itself is quite challenging especially during inclement weather. We had mostly mist and then pouring rain but had a blast on our trip. This adventure is really going to be most enjoyable if you generally are fit, active, play

sports, have hiking experience, and are ok with getting dirty/wet at times (it's nature what do you want). The trip is also 6-8hrs long including driving from Juneau to the trail head and back. Plan on a solid 5+ hrs of hiking and

related activity throughout the day. This is definitely one of those hikes I would recommend to just anyone.

The effort is well worth it. The trip begins as most normal hikes do through the woods and remains relatively flat with a few scenic initial stops. The terrain once you get deeper into the rainforest (yes rainforest) changes in some

cases quite drastically in both fauna and obstacles encountered such as boulders, creeks (with and without bridges), and rock that can be slick as it's flat due to glacial movements. These are not difficult to overcome but require some

dexterity and faith that the rock in the creek isn't really as slippery as it looks. At length, you'll end up coming out of the forest and into a rocky area where the glacier has receded over. This in essence will feel like bouldering

for those that have done that but doesn't require any very elaborate climbing skills or rope. It is definitely school yard playground/treehouse rules of climbing. After making the trek over this area you'll actually reach the base of

the retreating glacier. This is where the cramp ons and ice fun start. Walking on the glacier with cramp ons is definitely something. Don't worry, if you've made it this far this part will be fun and not nearly as tiring, the cramp

ons make good work of the ice. The sights on the glacier are amazing and each step is a photo opp for those budding photographers out there but be sure to lift your head out behind the camera and up from the ice and see what's out there

too. Since the glacier is moving, obviously I can't tell you what you'll see but some things we saw included icebergs floating, ice (small chunks) breaking off, water tunneling at the surface, and even an ice cave. Two things you will

definitely see and appreciate is the blueness of the ice and the true expansiveness of the ice. No National Geographic/Discovery channel and HDTV can do the magnificance and magnitude of that justice. Once you get back off the glacier

it's time to trek back but we took a different way home than where we came which was an adventure of itself. The trek back is where some of the conditioning (or our lack thereof) was felt and it includes lots of vertical ascents and

descents through gullies and riverbeds. The general geography is up and down. There's lots of hanging onto a branch to step down from a higher ledge and similar type of stuff. A little more akin to a descent off a mountain hike. It

can get really tiring and we made many more stops as a group then we did on the way to the glacier.

Definitely book directly if you can. Seasoned travelers will know that's generally the best way to book "excursions" especially if you are on a ship or traveling with another operator (which will charge their cut on top of the normal

tour price).

Contact Above & Beyond Alaska directly if you have special requests like scheduling, gear, etc. They were very helpful in explaining what they could and couldn't do. In our case they were able to speed up the trek some because our ship

was only at the port for about 7 hours and usually 8 or so hours is recommended. I had really good luck communicating via email due to timezone differences.

Gear included:
1) snack/bottle of water
2) Backpack which was a large climbing pack.
3) Helmet, ax, harness, crampons -- that's all the ice gear and you'll use all of it on the glacier not anywhere else
4) Rain gear -- This to those that aren't familiar means a windbreaker like shell with a hood that's waterproof. It doesn't provide warmth, it's only to keep the water off you and is worn over your other coat or layers

Gear you should consider/need to bring yourself:
1) Hiking boots, not sneakers, the crampons will hurt with sneakers/not work. I had low top hiking boots and those worked fine with the crampons although full hiking boots would have been better.
2) Dry bag or similar -- We put our stuff into a dry bag that we had and then into the backpack, this was for wallets, phones, etc. For those in the US, yes your cell phoen will work suprisingly along most of the trek so it's a good

emergency item to have on you.
3) Layers -- Think typical active thermal wear. Your mileage may vary in the summer but the glacier is always cold -- it's ice, duh
4) Gloves -- I really did well with a set of old skiing gloves, others had more spring skiing gloves or knit gloves. I was happy with my warm pair others were fine with lighter.
5) Additional food/water -- Not an all out dinner but energy bars, some water, or candy
6) Coat -- We wore light skiing/active jackets which worked well especially since some of that high tec fabric was water resistant enough until it started to pour.
7) Hat -- a good hat, wool hat, or the like goes a long way.
8) Good Attitude -- There's a lot of nature here so there's going to be things out of your control.

Lastly one word of caution in general based on our experience having done many similar things in new areas all around the world where we didn't live or spent a lot of time in -- use a tour guide to do this hike. Technically speaking if

you've traveled enough you go, well heck I could have done that myself from time to time, but this is Alaska, not your backyard -- there's way too many things that you won't be familiar with here and it's fairly technical hike and the

route, especially back is not marked/visible. Perhaps someone that's a mountaineer/extensively experienced hikers will attempt something like this on their own but those people have all their own gear, work in groups, and likely have

made plans with someone local before they set out. We saw at least one other pair of people trying to walk on the glacier without gear (nearly impossible) and neither had weather gear, a backpack, etc, etc. They went out of sight and

we didn't cross them again but given that it started pouring they at the very best had a horrible trip back. Do you really want to be those people on the cell phone asking for an airlift via chopper because you are ill equipped, lost,

and are close to being out of usable light for the day?
Written October 4, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Redding, CA300 contributions
Aug 2016 • Couples
We were on an Alaskan cruise and signed up for the Glacier Paddle & Trek. The meeting point was just a minute away from where the ships docked. The girl who was meeting had a sign, but she was just sitting at a table with the sign face down. There were 25 people signed up for the tour gathered around her amongst the mess of thousands of people getting off the cruise ships. She would’ve been easy to find if had stood up and held her sign… The 25 people were there for 2 different tours (glacier paddle & trek and glacier only?), and when the vans arrived, the girl mixed everyone up & sent people into the wrong vans. She was so meekly spoken that NO ONE could hear what she was saying in the rain and wind. An unnecessarily complicated mess that took 10 minutes to get sorted out while we stood there in the freezing rain. I think a cardboard cutout of a person would’ve done her job better.

The vans took us to the company’s office to get our gear (they provide waterproof backpacks, snacks, warm waterproof jackets, waterproof pants, crampons, and waterproof boots – our size shoe was requested when we signed up). Our group doing the Glacier Paddle & Trek consisted of 18 people. When we got to the office, we were assigned a backpack & then they handed out boots. It would’ve been nice if the boot size we picked in advance was also in front of the backpack we were assigned. The 3 staff, who were to be our tour guides, went around asking people’s shoe size & handing out boots. When they got to me (last), they only had kids’ boots or a men’s 9 (I’m a female size 8.. big difference!). VERY uncomfortable to be wearing 2 sizes too big shoes for the entire trip! This gear outfitting was half an hour of absolute chaos. 18 people totally confused/everyone talking over each other/frantically putting stuff on wrong & then putting it on again. The 3 guides were kind of telling people what to do individually, but none of them were being assertive to quiet down the group, take a leadership role and have everyone quietly listen as they show people what to do as a whole.

We were then driven to the canoes at Mendenhall Lake. The 3 guides separated us into groups of 6 for the canoeing portion. It was 6 of us per canoe, plus the guide in the back steering us. They demo’d how to properly paddle and emphasized that we all work as a team & they will call people out if they get out of rhythm or stop paddling. My boyfriend & I got the front of the canoe, and were unfortunate enough to be paired with a family of 4 who had the drive and physical fitness of sloths. As we paddled the entire time with only a break for a couple of photos, the family of 4 sat there chit chatting, taking selfies, and relaxing for 90% of the time (no exaggeration). They acted as if they were on a gondola & we were their drivers. Our guide NEVER said anything to them! I was very disappointed the guide didn’t step up, take charge & tell them to paddle – the other 2 canoes all paddled together. It’s not hard to paddle a canoe as a team, but for 2 people to paddle 800 lb of extra dead weight was pretty difficult!!! It was ridiculous. The lake was breathtaking, especially with the fog, but this soured my experience a little.

After paddling across Mendenhall Lake, we arrived at the glacier. We parked the canoes, got our crampons on, and trekked on top of a glacier! A once-in-a-lifetime experience! We were able to stand outside of the ice cave & view it, but the ice on top was too thin for us to safely enter. The pictures don’t even do it justice! So cool! We trekked back to the canoes, canoed back (2 of us did, while the other 4 enjoyed their gondola ride), took the van back to the office, unloaded our borrowed gear, and were driven back to our pickup location.

A great time overall (how could it not be! Look where we were!), but I would’ve liked more organization from the staff, more assertiveness and take-charge attitudes to take control of the huge group. The 3 young guides were too laid back & easygoing, which is not good for managing that many confused tourists.
Written October 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you Roxanne for your feedback! We really appreciate it being constructive and informative. We are taking it seriously and will be adjusting our training of staff to reflect points of your feedback. We are so happy you had a great trip overall and we would love to welcome you back anytime!
Written January 17, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

112 contributions
May 2016
Just returned from an Alaskan cruise (May 2016) and booked this excursion by ourselves. We are both in general good health but not gym goers - so we had concerns regarding the actual trek. They were very responsive through email. We were debating between the full hike versus the paddle and hike, we decided on the latter with the hopes of getting the best out of both experiences. The trek was not difficult. The paddling was tiring. Both were doable.
ABAK guides were about 10 minutes late.
We were outfitted with rain gear, rain boots and a back pack with snacks and a bottle of water. Also a helmet, crampons and a walking pole. Small dry bag not supplied for camera/phones. The backpack was not heavy at all as most of the time we were wearing the gear - so the the trek was not difficult with the backpack. The folks who helped us get into the boats were friendly. We had 2 guides in our group of 6, however, only one was actually pointing out interesting sights, however, if you were out of earshot then you won't hear anything he said, you literally would have to sit or stand right next to him. The water was calm with scattered icebergs. When we reached the glacier our guide was careful to make sure we were safe. Ice cave not available to us - we knew it wasn't a guarantee but still disappointed.
Spent about 1 hour and change paddling (each way) and about 1 hour and change on the glacier (the confirmation email gave an approximate time of 2 hours).
Overall, would recommend getting on the glacier. Regarding the tour however, would probably not recommend Above & Beyond - perhaps it was the cost? for 300 per person we did expect a guide who was more engaging.
Agreed with the other posts stating "overrated" and "not worth the price"
Don't believe a personal guided tour would have made a difference as $300 pp was not cheap and the private trip tour was about the same price for our group.
This was difficult to write because we know that this is a company's/person's livelihood. It's nothing personal - just wanted to share an experience that might help other travelers as this could be someone's first and last experience.
Written May 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

3 contributions
Sep 2015 • Couples
I couldn't have been more excited with how my idea to propose to my now fiancé worked out. I had been playing with and throwing ideas around and came up with the idea to propose in an ice cave during our cruise to alaska. So after numerous emails and planning we made it happen. Our tour guide Anne was fantastic. She was in on the whole thing and took the pictures of the proposal. So after she said yes and was wearing the ring, Anne surprised us with a bottle of champagne to make it even more special. Even though the hike is very very tough and strenuous for non hikers. It was well worth it just to get the story of going in an ice cave and hike on a glacier. And, I get the story of proposing inside and ice glacier 3700 miles from home. I couldn't be more grateful for how everything turned out.
Written September 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kirkland, WA741 contributions
Jun 2014 • Family
If I could give Above & Beyond Alaska 6 stars I would without hesitation. In fact they make me re-evaluate my rating system in my tripadvisor reviews--I've been too generous to others. We booked a private Mendenhall Glacier hike with 3 adults and 3 kids and it was quite possibly the best guided tour we have ever been on anywhere in the world. We were incredibly lucky to get guides Sam and Miles (who the kids immediately dubbed team SMILES). They were simply exceptional guides in the true sense of the word. They were great conversationalists, had endearing personalities, and were educated and knowledgeable. They had the pulse of all the hikers in our group and knew when someone needed to stop and when to push a little. They knew when to give the kids leash to run ahead and when to reign them in for safety. Most of all they were DETERMINED to accomplish OUR goals at the Mendenhall. Never once did I feel rushed or pressured not to stop to enjoy a view or take pictures. Not once did they ever hesitate to take pics for us. Not once did they lose their patience or their cheerful attitude. I simply don't have enough superlatives for team SMILES. We were very lucky to have them.

For those of you reading this who are debating between the regular tour and the private tour, I cannot recommend the private tour enough--especially if you have kids and ESPECIALLY if you want the best possible chance of getting the whole Mendenhall glacier experience--including ice climbing and ice caving. There are so many factors that are out of your control on the Mendenhall glacier in a larger group: 1) The fitness of your group--if you have slow hikers amongst you, that takes away from your time on the glacier. I wouldn't want to be slowed down by other hikers because that robs me of time on the glacier. Likewise I would feel bad if I was the slow one and robbed others of time on the glacier. Time is pretty much the KEY to enjoying the glacier--the more time you have the better. 2) The size of your group--the more people you have the more you have to cook for. If you really want to ice cave and everyone else wants to ice climb and you only have time for one thing, guess what? Ice climbing can be a slow process--especially if you have a large group. Only five in our party did the ice climb and the waiting around time was significant. I can't imagine having to wait for a large group. 3) You won't be the only group on the glacier. When we arrived at the base of the glacier SMILES told us to quickly take a break, eat something, and gear up in our crampons quickly because they wanted to get ahead of the massive cruise ship tour group that was just behind us so that we could get on the glacier first and have it to ourselves (and so they could pick out a prime spot to ice climb). It worked perfectly. We did so much more than the other group I was laughing with schadenfreude. They just climbed down a slope and left the glacier. While a private tour can't guarantee anything, it just gives you the best shot. The weather is an independent factor--if it's too hot and the ice caves are considered to be unstable, you can't go in. Luckily that was not the case for us!

The hike itself had three distinct parts: the West Glacier Trail to Mendenhall was relatively easy and mostly flat until you get closer to the glacier where you have to manage a few inclines. Layers are really important because the first part of the hike was warm and we were really hot. As you get higher and closer to the glacier it gets windier and cold--and of course it's Alaska and it can rain at anytime. Once you get to the glacier it's generally cold and you get in climbing gear--ice axe and crampons. You must have sturdy hiking shoes to effectively use the crampons. Then the really fun part begins and you trek on the glacier itself. Everywhere the landscape is spectacular. After exploring some crevices and moulins, we did our ice climbs and then hiked down to the big ice cave for the grand finale. It is truly spectacular. The last part of the hike we took a totally different trail to return to the trailhead. This was the most brutal leg of the trip not only because it had a lot of climbing, but it was really pouring cold rain by then and you've burnt a lot of energy trekking on the glacier. You also experience an adrenaline dump after the high of ice climbing and seeing the ice cave. They provide you with two water bottles each but I would still recommend you bring extra as you dehydrate quickly. You definitely have to be in decent shape for this tour, and I really wouldn't recommend it for elementary age kids--too perilous and tiring. Our tween/teens killed it easily of course and made their parents look bad. At the end of the tour SMILES drove us straight back to our cruise ship--exhausted but still exhilarated. It was by far the best shore excursion (not surprisingly independently booked) of our entire Alaska vacation, and easily one of if not THE best guided tour we have ever experienced anywhere on planet Earth. Absolutely unforgettable.
Written July 3, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Above & Beyond Alaska (Juneau) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go