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“Mendenhall Glacier Lake self-guided kayaking package”

Above & Beyond Alaska
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Juneau Shore Excursion: Mendenhall Glacier Trek and Climb
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Exclusive Pack Creek Bear Viewing from Juneau
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Mendenhall Glacier Trek
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A huge variety of both day and overnight trips offered throughout the Juneau area. Including guided glacier trekking, ice climbing, wildlife viewing, and sea kayaking. We cater to all ages and abilities. Providing quality, small groups, and off the beaten path experiences. We are the top rated wilderness guide service in the area and welcome large groups, photographers, and production companies. We offer custom trips too! Book with the company who has worked with the Travel Channel, BBC, Nat Geo, Good Morning America, the Today Show, 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.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed August 6, 2013

This is a tour fairly seldom reviewed here, but there are a few thoughts and recommendations that might come handy.
First off - the round trip is around 3 miles. You do have to be in a decent physical shape. Not superhuman, not professional athlete - but you shall be able to paddle at a moderate pace for about 2.5 - 3 hours. Of course - you can always cut the trip short - but then you won't be able to get close to Mendenhall Glacier, and to the scenic waterfall - which are definite highlights and "musts".
Secondly - if you don't kayak on a regular basis - be prepared to get a blister or two by the end of this. I did. Not a problem for me, might be for some.
Next - don't overdress. It is not that much colder on the water than it is on the shore. But - do take advantage of the company-provided rain jacket and rain pants. Not only will they deliver moisture protection - they will provide an additional layer of clothing. Bringing thin athletic gloves might also be a good idea; your arms will get a bit wet and chilly at the end; also - at least some protection against blisters.
Now - on the very concept of this self-guided tour. The company charges around $120-140 per person (depending on coupons and promotions du jour). Some might say this is just a glorified kayak rental. I would disagree. From where our group stood - the convenience of the round trip transportation from and to the cruise ships dock, provided with most all gear, map of the lake, and helpful tips - was well worth it.
Now - their directions on where you are picked up might be a bit confusing. Basically - their van will wait for you in a parking lot next to the Mt. Roberts tramway main entrance.
Kayaking itself was totally spectacular. Overall - highly recommended, with the caveats above :-)

3  Thank kisaDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 1, 2013

I would encourage anyone who is physically fit to do this hike as it is an unblievable expierence to be on the glacier! As amazing as it is to see them from what we think is close up it is nothing like being on them and realizing how massive they truly are! To see those blue crevices and the water that runs through them...amazing!
If you are going to do this you must do it with Above & Beyond Alaska as they really are interested in who they are taking out and making it a wonderful expierence for each member of the hike. We were a party of 12 and were so fortunate to have for our guides Steve & Peter. They were amazing as we were traveling with one older person in our party and they literally made sure of every single step she took allowing the rest of us to expierence and enjoy the hike & glacier as well as giving her the opportunity of a lifetime!
We plan on going back and we will try other trips with them!
P.S. Got amazing pictures!!!!

Thank sandra s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

I can't stress enough how amazing this was! My wife and I did the Mendenhall Glacier Trek and it was by far the highlight of our Alaskan vacation. We did excursions on every stop we made on our cruise and nothing came close to this! We had Sarah as our guide and I would highly recommend her as your guide. She's from Juneau and is very knowledgable about Mendenhall and the area. With her as our guide never once did anyone in our group feel unsafe or worried about anything. The hike starts off on a very well maintained trail for the first 2.5 miles. During this part of the trail there's about 3 what I call up and downs (where you climb up a hill and come right back down). Once we got to the end of this part of the trail you start the last mile on unmaintained trail. This part is the hardest of the hike. I will tell you this, if you are in decent shape you will be able to do this. Once you complete the 3.5 mile trek back to the glacier you know then exactly why you did it! It's absolutely stunning! We sat down at the base of the glacier and put on our crampons (shoes that act as ice picks so you can walk on the ice). Sarah then found a good anchor point to anchor the ropes that allowed us to climb up on the glacier. Once up on the glacier I swear it was like being in a different world! Pictures and words cannot describe the shear mass of beauty this was! For me, once I stood on that glacier was the whole reason I wanted to come to Alaska. There were some steep inclines we walked up on the glacier but at this point none of that mattered because all you wanted to see was what was on the other side. We got to see deep bright blue crevasses, glacier streams and ponds, glacier caves, drink glacier water, use ice axes and crampons. All of it was AWESOME! What a wonderful day. We made new friends and had the best guide! After a day like that you can lay down that night and say to yourself "I lived today!" To me, days like that is what life is all about! Now all my wife and I want to do is "do what Sarah does."

3  Thank Shawn G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Our guide, Chelsea, picked us up at Goldbelt Hotel and we stopped at Auke Bay to hook up the trailer and then she took us to Amalga Harbor to kayak. We were in a group of 5 plus Chelsea. We headed out towards an island with the plan on being picked up there, but as we were going around the island we spotted water spouts. So, we headed towards it and we were able to capture some awesome pictures of a humpback whale. Since we were having a grand time, we had the option to do a water transfer in lieu of heading to the island. Sean, the captain, picked us up and while we snacked on bagels with a variety of cream cheeses and other varied snacks we watched the waters. We spotted some Dall porpoises that we were able to video up close and personal. In addition to spotting more humpbacks we also got to see seals, sea lions, harlequin ducks, murrelets, and eagles.

Thank bnbgroupie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

This excursion was by far the highlight of my Alaskan Inside Passage cruise. I was concerned about the time constraints because our cruise schedule was tight, but the office assured me that it would be do-able. My other concern was for the safety of my wife, who really wanted this hike but was 12 weeks pregnant at the time. Well we both completed the hike just fine, and I'm happy to have gone through this amazing experience.

I would say that if you are concerned about the hike because of a tight cruise schedule then your total glacier time may be decreased if 1) conditions are too wet (requiring longer time to hike to the glacier) and 2) if you are de-conditioned, as the hike to the glacier can be strenuous if you are not fit. On the hike back we had minimal rest stops as we needed to get back onto the ship in time. Our guide was Brad, who was fantastic. He had a great attitude, and I think went out of his way to make sure we were all having a good time.

Once the glacier comes into view, you'll feel like it was all worth it. Hard to describe unless you actually experience it yourself. Amazing time all around. I do regret not having the chance to go inside an ice cave, which I gather is because of unsafe conditions. If I had more time and had a chance to do it again, I would do a private tour to ensure more glacier time (we spent about 1 hour on the glacier).

Unfortunately it appears that Mendenhall has been retreating/melting very rapidly as of late, and I'm sad that this may not be a possible trip for a future trip.

1  Thank GastroMan88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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