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About Above & Beyond Alaska
We specialize in high-quality, small group, active adventures throughout the Juneau area featuring glaciers, bears, and whales. Come join us for guided glacier trekking, ice climbing, 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.
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Grumbly wrote a review Sep 2021
Tampa53 contributions43 helpful votes
Unsure what to write as it is possible our adventure simply had the luck of the Irish, as it was amazing. Above and Beyond Alaska is an excellent, organized, high-quality company with skilled guides. Extremely responsive and friendly to my many questions. Had done two tours with them this trip, the other a bear excursion to Admiralty Island (which was fine, though not nearly as memorable). This specific tour (5 guests) was guided by Kris, a personable and knowledgeable gal. Bused to a boat, there is then a fairly lengthy trip to where booted off. The ride offered gorgeous views, manned by a cordial captain. Saw plenty of humpback whales, and a couple of sea lions. The whales did not breach. Also, boats not allowed to get within 100 yards, though the whales could come closer (I tried to entice one with peanut butter). Doubt any got within 300 yards. I believe Kris mentioned guests get closer to whales while in the boat as opposed to kayaking, which was a bit of a bummer. Then we were dropped off for kayaking. Good thing Kris knew where we were as pretty secluded. (Swear I saw Bigfoot.) We get in two person kayaks (suited and layered). Not for the feint of heart as when away from land the currents/wakes had some size. As we are trolling along we see whales in the distance. Far, but still cool. Then...dun Dun DUN!!! Our kayaks a good distance from lan, at one point we were seeing a lot of whales, and they were coming closer and closer. Kris (fear in her voice???) ordered us to bunch our kayaks for safety and stability, a humpback headed our way, apparently in search of peanut butter. It easily got within 60’ .(Got one of those memorable trip videos, the whale fluking after it passed. After a fair amount of time gathering ourselves, Kris said to head in. Then...DUN DUN DUN... Two massive whales appeared right in front of us, easily within 10-20’, from my view appearing to almost knock one kayak over. Unknown how much Kris tipped the whales for this performance, but it was well worth it. After this adrenaline rush, we paddled a looooong distance to land. I don’t want to attempt to convey all will have this experience, as I sense this was very unique. For our tiny lil group, what a memory. If book this trip, I suggest bring some peanut butter as b
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from ElizabethBarlow, Manager at Above & Beyond Alaska
Responded 4 weeks ago
Thank you for your review! Glad to hear you had such a memorable trip with Kris. Wildlife can be very unpredictable and sounds like a great day on the water!
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Grumbly wrote a review Sep 2021
Tampa53 contributions43 helpful votes
Booked twice with Above and Beyond Alaska. Company is excellent: organized, prompt, friendly, and professional. My first trip was kayaking with whales, which was AMAZING!!! (I left a review.) This bear trip was Ok. That is based on my expectations, and how the day played out. Of course, animals are unpredictable. This was a kayak trip, too, but I learned when I artived that day that kayaking was cancelled. Heard a couple reasons why, though still unsure. I conveyed that such info should have been provided much sooner. Met at their location, geared up, and headed to the float plane. Kristan, pleasant, personable and knowledgeable, was our fearless leader, another member, Mallory, joining us. First time on a tiny float plane, the ride was pretty cool. Flight about 25 minutes. Arrived on Admiralty Island. As everywhere in Alaska the scenery is stunning. A short hike to Pack Creek. There is a viewing area, with some logs to sit. Either a park ranger or someone from fish and wildlife there to make sure humans behave, and not lure the bears closer with peanut butter. Across the way, bears. No fence or barrier. We saw a mom and 2 cubs, each initially napping. An older female also arrived and caught a salmon, so saw her in action. The other 3 bears ultimately awoke, stirring a bit. Possibly a fifth bear far down the creek, but by then it could have been the older female, as grass is high and she could have made her way there. (Some thought it a male. Dunno.) We returned to the beach to lunch, then a 3 mile roundtrip, ankle-breaking (lots of rocks, roots, branches) moderate hike to another creek with a twenty foot viewing platform. Great view. No bears. My expectations were different and probably unrealistic, expecting to see active bears fairly up close, and maybe wrestling one :-) At Pack Creek the mother and cubs were at least 100 yards away, the older female a bit closer when fishing for salmon. At the other creek with the tower, if Yogi and Boo Boo strolled by they would be closer. Unfortunately, they were prowling another area for picnic baskets that day. At other places such as Brooks Falls and Lake Clark, bears can stroll right by folks (insert frightened emoji). That is more of what I expected. Depending upon what is important for guests, many may find this trip a treat overall. Wasn’t quite the adventure for me, and of course it is very pricey.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from ElizabethBarlow, Manager at Above & Beyond Alaska
Responded Sep 9, 2021
Thank you Greg for taking the time to write a review. We appreciate you leaving this feedback and providing us an opportunity to respond. We apologize that this tour did not meet your expectations. The kayak portion of this tour was cancelled due to weather. The forecast for this date was calling for deteriorating marine conditions. The time that would have been spent kayaking was replaced with additional bear viewing time at Pack Creek. We assess weather on every trip and this weather decision was made the day prior to the tour, all guests received the notification. Safety is our number one priority with our company. We are happy to hear you enjoyed the scenery and the floatplane experience. Pack Creek Brown Bear Sanctuary is a regulated bear viewing area and the Forest Service only allows a limited number of visitors per day. There are designated viewing platforms in the sanctuary in order to limit our impact and presence while in their habitat. Most of the bear viewing happens from the safety of the viewing areas, at a distance. However, on occasion we can get closer views of bears while we are walking along the beach or on the trail to the viewing tower. All visitors entering Pack Creek have to follow these same guidelines. Based on your description of how many bears you saw, it sounds like that was a great day in Pack Creek. Wildlife is unpredictable and it is an amazing day when you see 5 bears, especially a mom and her cubs. Thank you for joining us for this adventure and our Paddle with Whales Kayaking Adventure. Please know that your feedback is of tremendous value as we continue to strive to offer customer service and wilderness adventures of the highest quality and caliber. Please feel free to get in touch with any other questions, comments or concerns. Thanks again for coming out with us and we hope you had a wonderful time in Juneau.
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Chris L wrote a review Aug 2021
Boulder, Colorado10 contributions1 helpful vote
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.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from ElizabethBarlow, Manager at Above & Beyond Alaska
Responded Sep 5, 2021
Thank you for your review! Sounds like an amazing day out there with Kristin!
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wander1 wrote a review Aug 2021
Atlanta, GA273 contributions101 helpful votes
It's a solid hike of about 4.5 miles, then you put on your crampons and go walking on a Glacier! The hike is not a flat trail but is very doable (sturdy shoes or boots are a must). It's the prize at the end that you're there for. There was an ice cave there that we got to explore a bit. Then you back track the 4.5 miles back to the car. Our guide was knowledgeable and efficient. Gear was provided and well explained (having never worn crampons before). We enjoyed it and recommend it.
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Date of experience: July 2021
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Response from ElizabethBarlow, Manager at Above & Beyond Alaska
Responded Aug 26, 2021
Thank you for your review! That is amazing you were able to visit an ice cave, as they are a rather unpredictable feature of the glacier and come and go as the glacier changes. Thank you for making us a part of your Alaskan vacation.
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Jef with one F wrote a review Aug 2021
Carlsbad, California4 contributions
Six of us, including the bride and groom from the prior day's wedding, were led through the forest, over the mountain and across the glacier to the ice caves by our phenomenal guide Leah. I can't possibly say enough good things about her and her skills as a professional and fun-loving guide. () This was a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for far more than just a hike. which is why I posted the video titled "Juneau Alaska Mendenhall Glacier Trek" on YouTube. Hands down this is the most challenging trek most of us had been on and yet it was the most rewarding too. Great Job Above and Beyond! I'll be coming back again.
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Date of experience: August 2021
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Response from ElizabethBarlow, Manager at Above & Beyond Alaska
Responded Aug 26, 2021
Thank you for your review! Glad to hear you had a such a great time with Leah. Great video and thanks for sharing! Come back and join us again anytime.
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