Packed with beautiful blue light streaming through the ice, the Mendenhall Glacier Caves in Alaska are something that surely can enlighten your day. Simply said, these ice caves are USA’s treasure trove that will surely excite you with its marvelous and natural glory.
The Mendenhall Glacier was formed within an ice body (glacier) while the water flows via the same forming a passageway. These glaciers can range anywhere from small cute ones that barely allow you to squeeze through to massive caverns that can easily accommodate several people in a single go.
These Alaska-based caves will definitely bring you a dreamlike experience of being in a fairytale. The place is a true example of ethereal beauty where you can glimpse the dancing ombre of the spectacular blues. From colors like aqua to cobalt and sapphire, these caves will show you “50 Shades of Blue” (If you know what we mean).
Being within the Mendenhall Glacier is similar to exploring a canvas of ice packed with colors. Stretching to a length of 12 miles, this glacier is located in Mendenhall Valley. The glacier is at a distance of 12 miles starting from the Downtown Juneau which is located in Alaska’s South Eastern section.
Originally, this glacier has 2 names. The first being Sitaantaagu or “Glacier Behind the Town,” while the second was Aak’wtaaksit or the “Glacier Behind the Little Lake.” Once inside this glacier, you can get a glimpse of the blue-colored ice caves that are accessible only for the ones that can kayak all the way to the ice’s edge, followed by a climb to the glacier.
Sadly, given the global warming conditions, the glacier has been retreating at an increasingly fast rate. Since the year 1958, this Alaskan Glacier has decreased by 2 miles in length. Before global warming took a toll over Earth, this glacier had receded mere 0.5 miles since the year 1500. If you have plans to visit this otherworldly cave, you don’t have to make your own purchase for the ice-trekking session. You can get in touch with the local trekking and tour guides for the same. They can provide you with high-quality trekking gears & aid you with the dos and don’ts of safe trekking and ice climbing sessions.
By nature, glaciers tend to be dynamic. This means they keep on changing and more so given the global warming issues. As this ice river continues changing, caves are being formed that can last months, maybe weeks, or even some days before the meltdown and collapse happen. However, you can be assured that the ice caves are open, accessible, as well as declared safe for entry by local guides. These guides are well-trained to detect the signs that suggest weakness or instability inside the cave. The caves in the area can keep changing, and you might not end up visiting a cave your friend visited back in 2016. It might have melted down and collapsed while others might have formed in the area. So, when planning for a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier, make sure you ask your guide about the glacier you are about to visit. While the cave might be a different one, beauty is surely the same.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that glaciers can be pretty cold, especially during the winters. So, make sure you layer up in warm clothes & bring some waterproof jackets + boots to keep away from the dripping water inside the Mendenhall Glacier.
How to Reach
If you are wondering how you can get to the Mendenhall Glacier, the first thing you need to do is to reach Juneau. There are three ways to reach Juneau via popular locations in the United States. You can visit this place via air, cruise ship, and marine highway (the ferry).
The Mendenhall Glacier is close to 12 miles towards north from Downtown Juneau. In order to get to the glacier, you have to head northwest by taking the Egan Drive. After you reach the area, you need to trek all the way to the Mendenhall Glacier. As you start with the West Glacier Trail, you need to trek about 4.5 miles in order to reach this glacier.
About the Trek
This trek can be long and a bit difficult, so make sure you bring along a guide to help you out. The pathway can be a bit slippery, so make sure you are cautious throughout the journey. Mind your steps through places such as bridges, inclines, loose rocks, declines, or even the stairs. While on your way, you might also see places such as the Mendenhall Lake & the Nugget Falls.
Once inside the Mendenhall Glacier, you will surely get a feel of being inside sapphire in a surreal yet calming way. So, start planning your visit today to these naturally wonderful caves!