Glacier Canoe Paddle & Trek

Trip Details

2018 Cost: $349 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)
Min of 2 required (solo travelers, please email us for available times)

Trip Duration: Approximately 6.5 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, hiking and trekking on the Glacier and Ice Cave Exploration (if safe and accessible to enter)

Areas you can cross off your bucket list are:
Mendenhall Glacier, Tongass National Forest, Paddling by Icebergs and in Front of a Glacier, Trekking on the Glacier, Exploring Ice Caves (if safe and accessible to enter)

Enjoy the Mendenhall Glacier up close!

Experience the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier and Lake by canoe paddling to the face then trekking onto the glacier’s surface and exploring the dynamic features. We have hosted BBC Wild Alaska, Good Morning America, Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin, Gayle King with CBS Morning This Morning and O Magazine, and numerous magazine writers and photographers on this tour. 

A classic adventure on the most famous glacier in Alaska!

Adventurers of all experience levels are invited to join us on this intimate excursion to the famous Mendenhall Glacier. With a maximum group of twelve participants, we provide an intimate and remote experience without ever leaving the Juneau city limits. Our guides are happy to orientate you and your family to the paddle and glacier trek experience regardless of past paddling or trekking history. The entire family can join us on this multi-sport journey through an ecological timeline to experience the Mendenhall from land and water!

Trip Activities: Paddling near icebergs with close-up views of Nugget Falls, trekking on Mendenhall Glacier, exploring ice caves (if safe to access)

Trip Rating: Moderate No Experience Required

Sample Itinerary:

  • 30 minutes – Van Transport to ABAK Office for outfitting
  • 45 minutes – Gear Outfitting, Safety Briefing, and Transport to Lake
  • 1 hour – Guided paddle on Mendenhall Lake in Canoes
  • 2 hours – Hiking to edge of Glacier, Trekking and Ice Cave Exploration (if safe to access)
  • 1 hour – Guided Paddle on Mendenhall Lake in Canoes
  • 45 minutes – Return to ABAK Office, Change out Gear
  • 30 minutes – Return Transport to Drop Off Locations
  • Cost: $349 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)

  • Trip Duration: ~6.5 hours roundtrip
  • Bucket List: Mendenhall Glacier, Mendenhall Lake, Paddling Near a Glacier & Icebergs,  Trekking on Glacier, Ice Cave Exploration

  • Highlights/Trip Activities:  Paddling near icebergs, close-up views of Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls, Trekking on Glacier, Ice Cave Exploration, and up close with other glacial features.

  • Trip Rating: Moderate – No Experience Required

  • Group Size: Minimum of 2, Maximum of 14 (7 clients and 1 guide per canoe).
  • Age Requirements:

    • Minimum = 12 years old

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

  • Minimum Fitness Requirements: Fit enough to paddle up to 5-6 miles roundtrip and hike 2-miles roundtrip.  Strong and agile enough to re-enter a canoe with assistance from a professional guide.

  • ABAK’s Map of Mendenhall Lake


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

  • Glacier Trekking Equipment and Backpack
  • 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

Prepare for rain and hope for sunshine.  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.


  • T-Shirt (not cotton)
  • Long Sleeve Shirt (not cotton)
  • Insulating Layer (i.e. Fleece Jacket)
  • Gloves (fleece liner type)
  • Warm Hat
  • Sunglasses


  • Long Underwear (weather dependent)
  • Hiking Pants
  • Pair of Socks
  • Sturdy shoes



  • 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 canoes with a guide.
  • 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 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.
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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