Glacier Lake Kayak Paddle

Trip Details

2017 Cost: $169 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)
Min of 2 required

Trip Duration: Approximately 4.5 hours roundtrip

Trip Rating: Moderate – no experience necessary

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What to Expect

Highlights: Paddling around icebergs and near the face of the glacier, large waterfalls and mountains

Areas you can cross off your bucket list are:
Mendenhall Glacier, Tongass National Forest, Kayaking by Icebergs and in Front of a Glacier

Enjoy the Mendenhall Glacier  up close from the seat of a Kayak!

This trip was featured on the cover page of Canoe & Kayak Magazine!

Mendenhall KayakOne of the best Alaskan wilderness adventures nestled just 20 minutes away from downtown Juneau.  Join us to experience the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier and Lake from an unparalleled advantage point! Imagine paddling through a glacial environment alight with the glow of an immense river of ice, icebergs dotting your path, and waterfalls raging from the towering rainforest covered peaks.

This guided kayak trip on Mendenhall Lake is great for those who seek the gratification of being “out there”. Adventurers of all experience levels are invited on this intimate excursion where our guide staff will enhance the natural beauty of the area with personal stories and naturalist interpretation. Don’t miss the opportunity to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet day on the water.

Our van shuttle picks you up from the cruise ship dock and most Juneau area hotels and transports you to the edge of Mendenhall Lake. A short walk brings us to our kayaks where we outfit you with gear. Following a safety briefing we point our bows toward the awe-inspiring glacier ahead and paddle on the silt-rich lake that glows with icebergs of all shapes and sizes beneath the grand peaks of the Coastal Mountain Range. Enroute to the terminus of the glacier don’t forget to look toward the shorelines, mountains, and sky around you for possible wildlife sightings – mountain goats, black bear, porcupine, river otter, beaver, eagles, arctic terns, gulls, and more inhabit this area! After a few hours on the lake you are returned back to your ship or local accommodations with memories and photos to share with family and friends.

Trip Activities: Paddling near icebergs with close-up views of Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls

Trip Rating: Moderate No Experience Required

Sample Itinerary:

  • 30 minutes – Van Transport to Mendenhall Lake
  • 45 minutes – Gear Outfitting, Safety Briefing, and Kayak Adjustments
  • 2.5 hours – Guided paddle on Mendenhall Lake
  • 30 minutes – Return Van Transport to Drop Off Locations
  • Cost: $169 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)

  • Trip Duration: ~4.5 hours roundtrip
  • Bucket List: Mendenhall Glacier, Mendenhall Lake, Kayaking Near a Glacier, Kayaking with Icebergs

  • Highlights/Trip Activities:  Paddling near icebergs, close-up views of Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls, showing off photos and bragging about the experience to family and friends following the trip

  • Trip Rating: Moderate – No Experience Required

  • Group Size: Minimum of 2, Maximum of 12.
  • Age Requirements:

    • Minimum = 8 years old (6 years old on a private trip)

    • Maximum = None as long as they meet the minimum fitness requirements

  • Minimum Fitness Requirements: Fit enough to paddle 5-6 miles roundtrip.  Strong and agile enough to re-enter a kayak with assistance from a professional guide.

  • ABAK’s Map of Mendenhall Lake

  • Mendenhall Lake – Kayaking Safety Tips and Information 

  • Professional Guide
  • Roundtrip van transportation from near the cruise ship docks and many of the major hotels in Juneau
  • Double Sea Kayaks and Paddling Accessories

  • Rain Gear (Jacket/Pants)

  • Rubber Boots

  • Small Snack/Bottled Water

  • Small Dry Bag and/or Zip Lock bags for cell phones and cameras

  • USFS Permit

We recommend you prepare for rain and hope for sunshine in regards to the weather.  Due to the cool, damp climate it is best NOT to wear cotton and instead, wear clothing made of polyester, wool, fleece, nylon, polypropylene, and/or capilene.

TOP LAYERS

  • T-Shirt
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Insulating Layer (i.e. Fleece Jacket)
  • Gloves (fleece liner type)
  • Warm Hat
  • Sunglasses

BOTTOM LAYERS

  • Long Underwear (weather dependent)
  • Comfortable Pants
  • Pair of Socks (for wearing in rubber boots) 

OPTIONAL ITEMS TO BRING

  • Sun Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellent
  • Camera
  • Extra Snacks
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Binoculars
  • Reusable Water Bottle (Pre-Filled)
  • Staff Gratuities

*WAIVER FORM and RENTAL CONTRACT*  Each individual on the trip must sign a waiver form and rental contract at the start of the trip. Alterations and/or deletions to these documents is not permitted.

  • Trips may be canceled by ABAK on the day of the trip due to unsafe weather conditions.  In this instance clients will be refunded in full.
  • Trips on warm sunny days afternoon trip departures may experience challenging conditions due to strong winds. These katabatic winds pick up during the day and cause the lake to have unpredictable winds and white capped, choppy waters.  A katabatic wind is just a fancy word for a cold, downslope wind.  They occur when there is a large temperature variation between the cold air sitting on the glacier and the warm air above.  The cold air sinks and the warm air rises creating the initial breeze.  On sunny days the wind is increased by an overabundance of cold air at the glacier surface caused by the sublimation of ice (ice transforming directly to cold air).  The ice sublimates as a result of the heat from the sun and from the breeze flowing over it.  If you have the choice, book this trip for a morning departure.
  • We outfit all clients in sit-in double kayaks with spray skirts.
  • For safety reasons we always stay a minimum of 150 yards from the face of the glacier to avoid calving ice and 25-50 yards from icebergs; icebergs can flip at any given moment causing a paddler to capsize if they are too close.
  • The padding distance from our kayak launch site on the west side of Mendenhall Lake to views of Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls is about 2.5 miles one-way (or 5-miles roundtrip based on the loop outlined in our map).  You must be physically capable of paddling this distance in less than three hours.
  • NOTE ON KAYAKING SIZE/WEIGHT LIMITATIONS: Our kayaks can accommodate a maximum torso (waist-chest) diameter of  55 inches (132cm). Maximum weight limits including gear are 600lbs (272kg) for the double kayaks. People taller than 6’2″ (188cm) may have a hard time operating the rudder because the pedals only adjust to a certain maximum distance. However, people as tall as 6’8″ have been able to paddle in our kayaks (though it may not be considered “comfortable”).
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  • About ABAK

    Above & Beyond Alaska, LLC is a local, employee-owned guiding company based in Juneau. We have been exploring the region from Ocean to Ice for over 25 years and guiding others since 2002. Our goal is to provide a complete Alaskan wilderness experience by sharing with clients our passion for the outdoors, technical know-how, and natural history knowledge.

© 2013 Above & Beyond AK, LLC US Forest Service Permitted by the U.S. Forest Service, Tongass National Wilderness Back to top