Natalie Morales from the Today Show highlights her trip with us to Mendenhall Glacier
Cameron Mathison from Good Morning America joins us for an Extreme Camp Out Adventure on the Taku Glacier
Glacier Trekking and Ice Climbing
We booked the Mendenhall Glacier Trek directly through Above and Beyond’s website. They were very responsive to my questions and reservations were easily made. Steve and Sara met us at the designated pick up spot, and as soon as each member of our group accounted for, we headed for the trail. They even stopped at a hotel to pick up a couple who were touring Alaska by land. The equipment was first rate (the backpacks appeared to be brand new) and they supplied us with everything that we needed to make the hike safely and comfortably. Steve and Sara were both knowledgeable, personable and well-suited for their work. They confirmed (twice) the time that we needed to be back to our respective ships, and took advantage of a long day to give us some extra time on the glacier. I cannot overstate how well we were taken care of.
Of course, nature provided most of the enjoyment for the day. The 3 and a half mile (or so) hike to the glacier is over varied terrain. The first mile is very easy, along a well-used trail. After that, footing becomes less sure, and there are a few somewhat challenging points along the way, but the guides ensured that everyone arrived at the ice, safe and sound. The glacier is stunning. Hiking allowed us to see things that those who viewed from a distance, or came in by chopper, would not be able to see. Again, instructions for using crampons and other equipment was very clear, and safety was clearly priority one. The highlight, of course, was the ice cave; an experience that few people will know. Our total distance hiked was just over 9 miles for the day, and there were some significant ascents and descents. This is not a nature trail for sneakers and flip-flops. You should be prepared and reasonably fit, though our group ranged in both age and fitness levels (mid – 20’s to mid – 50’s).
If you are debating, do it. These folks know how to get you there and back, and can explain what you are witnessing all along the way.”
My boyfriend and I (both 24) did the private Mendenhall Glacier Trek the last week in August 2013. We were picked up on-time by our guide (Bjorn) at the cruise ship terminal. It was a short trip to the start of the trail. As others have said, the first mile of the trail is well maintained and then you start off the beaten path. I was worried about the difficulty of this hike, but we managed just fine. It was certainly not for the faint of heart, but our guide gave tips or help whenever needed. We are glad that we booked the private tour so that we could go at our own pace. There was a group going that day as well and we seemed to be about 1.5 hours ahead of them in terms of pace. Since we were on the private tour, we were able to try ice climbing and visit the ice cave. I wasn’t up for the ice climbing (looking over the edge was enough for me!), but I took pictures while my boyfriend participated. After this, we headed down to the ice cave. It was amazing; the pictures don’t do it justice! Be forewarned tough, our guide told us that because of warm weather, people on tours earlier in the summer did not get to experience it. We felt very lucky we were able to. Overall, Above & Beyond Alaska did a great job with the tour. We felt safe, knowing that we had a knowledgeable guide, proper equipment (we did see people on the glacier without crampons, crazy!), and plenty of snacks. Highlight of our entire cruise!
BostonTraveler0729, Boston, MA - 2013
We did the hike to Mendenhall glacier and back and absolutely loved it. Our hiking guide, Brad, was a true professional and was extremely helpful and informative the whole time. We traveled with a small group of 6 total people so that helped our pace. The hike through the forest was refreshing and challenging but wait until you get to the glacier. The views are incredible and ice-trekking on the glacier is a great experience. There’s a surprise on the glacier if your group makes good time hiking there! Hiking is definitely the way to go- we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Jim V, Palm City, Florida - September 2013
Tongass Coast Kayak
We loved our kayak tour in Juneau. Dawn and Brittany were very skilled and knowledgeable. While the scenery and wildlife were awesome, Dawn’s narrative on the history of Juneau, coupled with both of their love of nature and the outdoors made this a highlight of our overall Alaska experience. Oh, and the fact that they were both a lot of fun helped too!!!
Becky, co-owner of Above & Beyond Alaska, helped us in selecting the right tour for our experience and putting to rest any concerns we may have had.
I highly recommend using this company for your Alaskan experience!!”
Tucson, Arizona - May 28, 2013
This was without a doubt the highlight of my entire Alaska vacation. We paddled out about two and a half miles and on our way back we came across a young humpback whale who was feeding in a cove. Even without seeing him this would have been the trip of a lifetime but that was icing of the cake. The weather was ideal and our guide was fabulous.”
SMK - July 2013
Admiralty Brown Bear Viewing and Kayak
My partner and I recently took this trip while in Juneau prior to joining a small ship cruise. We were a little hesitant at the price, but decided that we really wanted to see bears and hopefully they would also be catching fish. I had joked before we left home that the tour had cost us ‘an arm and 3 legs’ but it was well worth every penny.
We had the most amazing day! Made even more amazing by the fact that we were the only 2 who had booked the tour! It was as though we had a personal guide for the day.
We were picked up from our hotel in the morning by our guide Corey and driven to the airport for our floatplane trip to Windfall Island. That in itself was pretty spectacular. We then kayaked over to Pack Creek. Neither of us had done any paddling for many years, but it was an easy paddle and being out there in the middle of absolutely nowhere was very special indeed.
We saw 8 bears and were able to watch them eating, playing, and foraging for quite some time. There were also about 15 bald eagles on the beach fishing and bathing. We had lunch on the beach, and a short walk through the forest, then it was time to paddle back to connect with our floatplane back to Juneau.
Corey was a great guide, and took some pretty amazing photos for us as well – I think he can use our camera better than we can.
All in all – a fabulous day! Highly recommended!
Brisbane, Australia - Summer 2012
Premium Kayak and Whale Watch
OMG, what a great time we had!! We took our 12 year old grandson and this was one of mine and his favorite excursions. The two guys that took us whale watching and kayaking were so much fun and very educational without being boring. Since it was our boat for the day, they accommodated whatever we wanted to do. The whale watching was wonderful, they (around 10 whales) were almost close enough to touch. They were bubble netting (feeding) and we watched them do that for a while. What I really liked was that we didn’t have to look over anyone to see the whales and take pictures. The larger boats looked as if they would turn over as everyone would come to one side to watch the whales. The kayaking was great also. We so enjoyed the excursion, wished we had more time to do other excursions with them. Who knows, we may have to go back!!!
Above & Beyond Alaska (ABAK) is a great company. It is run well, all the employees are great communicators. I did the whale watch and kayak, very well organized. Peter our guide was considerate and respectful to all clients and the captain. Everybody at this company works well together. After the day on the water, my friends and I were stoked. This is the best company for all your excursions whether you fly in for the week or on a cruise, ABAK is on time there and back!! Enjoy!!
Casey S, Austin, Texas - August 2013
Mendenhall Glacier Lake Self-Guided Kayak
We had a wonderful experience with Above and Beyond in Juneau. Beautiful kayaking on Mendenhall Lake. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. Megan did an excellent job going through the basics with us before we paddled away. I forgot my coat and hat and they mailed them to my home free of charge. I offered to pay but they refused – said they do that as a service to their customers. Needless to say, they went above and beyond… And you don’t want to miss paddling among the ice floes on Mendenhall Lake. You can paddle up to Mendenhall Glacier. Phenomenal!
Susie S - August 2012
Above & Beyond made our trip to Mendenhall Glacier amazing. We were picked up on time, taken to a spot where we were geared up (rain jackets, pants, boots, mitts for kayaking, waterproof bags, etc.), then taken to the drop off at the glacier for our kayak excursion. It was spectacular. Low key, not a lot of people, and at our own pace we kayaked Glacier Bay. After being on a cruise ship for several days the quiet setting with only us on the water was just what we needed… Highly recommend Above & beyond! You will not be disappointed.
Melissa C, Rockwall, Texas - August 2013
We wanted to thank Above and Beyond Alaska for an awesome adventure last weekend. The glacier was breathtaking, the ice climbing thrilling, and food delicious. Please let David know what a great job he did as our guide. I will never forget sitting in the satellite tent with the neon blue “disco” ice floor eating his homemade Salmon fettucine alfredo! Thanks again and we hope to visit Juneau again in the near future.
Becky Marquette and Josh Brown, Utah
Gourmet meals, top quality gear and expert guides made it a life-changing experience. They have a wonderful way of customizing to the unique and differing levels of individual clients, focusing on very small groups to keep the experience unique and special.
Diane Pearson, Alaska
It was very well planned and gave a quintessential taste of Alaska. We would have loved to stay longer on the glacier- it was spectacular!
Vanessa Petsuch, California
Sea Kayak Camping
This trip was a spectacular opportunity to see bears, eagles, seals and lots of other wildlife in a gorgeous setting close to Juneau. The owners of the company are extremely friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to their customers. Our guide was a Juneau-native who was confident, professional and a pleasant guy to be around for 5 days. The food was plentiful, varied and very tasty. We also ended up using their equipment, which was clean and of good quality. I highly recommend this trip and this outfitter. For my husband and I, it was just perfect.
Kathleen H., California
I have sea kayaked all over the world and dealt with many different outfitters so it was great to work with such a professional, friendly and knowledgeable company. We did a 6 day whale watching paddle near Shelter and Lincoln Islands and then a 3 day trip to Tracy Arm. The boats and gear were top of the line and in good condition. They helped with planning and made great recommendations of where to go to get the most out of the sea kayaking in the area. I recommend them for a self guided trip or one of their standard trips. It’s a beautiful area to paddle.
Amherst, MA - August 7, 2013