Privately Guided Mendenhall Glacier Trek

Trip Details

2018 Cost: 2 people – $450 per person, 3-6 people – $300 per person, 7-12 people – $275 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)

Trip Duration: Up to 9 hours round-trip

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What to Expect

Highlights: Hiking, Glacier trekking, Glacier exploration, Custom Timeline, Glacier Photography, Family Friendly

Areas you can cross off your bucket list are:
Mendenhall Glacier, hiking in a temperate rain forest, Going into an Ice Cave (ice caves are not guaranteed – depends on group pace, weather, and safety of glacial features)

Hike at your own pace with a private guide!

Experience the glacier to the fullest with your own private guide!

Enjoy the Mendenhall Glacier and West Glacier trail hike with just your group. Booking our Privately Guided Mendenhall Glacier Trek allows us the flexibility to cater the trip to your pace, ability, interests and available time. Common reasons to request a private trip include:

  • Slower parties – Get the special attention you need to safely make the trip without the worries of slowing down other clients on the trip
  • Faster parties – Take advantage of your ability to hike faster to maximize your time on the glacier
  • Can accommodate any group size (minimum of 2)
  • Groups with children under the age of 12
  • The ability to spend more time on the glacier depending on group’s pace and time constraints

Walk through an ecological timeline to get to the mighty Mendenhall where you will be introduced to glacier trekking, ice climbing, and the natural history of the area! The trip begins with a drive from your pick up point to the Mendenhall Valley where the West Glacier Trailhead is located.  At the trailhead you will be outfitted with a backpack that includes all of the necessary glacier gear.  Afterwards you will embark on a three and a half mile trail hike through the temperate rainforest along Mendenhall Lake.  The first mile of the trail is well maintained and relatively flat with the exception of a short uphill switchback section while the second two and a half miles is on an unmaintained strenuous trail.  This strenuous trail is uneven and includes areas of mud, slippery bedrock, loose gravel, rock scrambling, and multiple short, steep up and downhill sections.  Upon reaching the top of the most difficult section of the trail, the rock scramble, all of the effort you’ve invested instantly pays off as the Mendenhall Glacier and the surrounding peaks come into full view.  From this point you will breath in the scenery with every step as you make your way down an open slope of bedrock to the edge of the ice.

My boyfriend and I did the Private Mendenhall Glacier Trek & Climb. We we were able to try ice climbing and visit the ice cave. It was amazing; the pictures don’t do it justice! It was the highlight of our entire cruise 

- Tripadvisor review August 2013

Once you reach the glacier, your guide will help you put on your glacier gear and locate the safest entrance to get on the ice.  Following a safety briefing the group will spend approximately 1-2 hours on the ice (dependent on group’s hiking pace) exploring accessible features such as crevasses, ice caves, moulins, melt water streams, pools, etc.  After glacier play time is over you will repack your backpack and head back to the trailhead. Make sure you save energy for the hike back! 🙂

Trip Activities: Hiking, Glacier trekking, Glacier Exploration

Trip Rating: Challenging

Sample Itinerary:

  • 30 minutes – Van transport to West Glacier Trailhead
  • 30 minutes – Orientation & gear fitting
  • 2.5 hours – Trail hike to glacier
  • 15 minutes – Gearing up at glacier’s edge
  • 2 hours – Glacier trekking
  • 2.5 hours – Trail hike back to West Glacier Trailhead
  • 15 minutes – Unpack gear/personal belongings
  • 30 minutes – Van transport to drop off locations
  • Cost: 2 people – $450 per person, 3-6 people – $300 per person, 7-12 people – $275 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)

  • Trip Duration: ~Up to 9 hours roundtrip

  • Bucket List:  Mendenhall Glacier, glacier trekking, visiting an ice cave (if safe and accessible), hiking through a temperate rain forest

  • Highlights/Trip Activities: Hiking, glacier trekking, visiting an ice cave (if conditions permit)

  • Trip Rating: Challenging

  • Age Requirements:

    • Minimum = Private trip minimum = 8 years old.  Contact us if you have children that are younger, exceptions might be possible.
    • Maximum = None, however, you must meet the physical requirements of the trip
  • Fitness Requirements: Must be fit enough to hike for 7+ hours covering over 8-9 miles of strenuous terrain (see trip description and read tripadvisor reviews) carrying a 10-15 pound backpack. 

  • Professional Guide

  • Backpack

  • Helmet

  • Harness

  • Ice Axe or Trekking Pole

  • Microspikes  

  • Rain Gear (Jacket/Pants)

  • Hearty Snack/Bottled Water

  • Round-trip van transportation from near the cruise ship docks and many of the major hotels in Juneau. 

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.


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


  • Long Underwear (weather dependent)
  • Hiking Pants
  • Hiking Boots (preferably high top)*

* Running shoes, particularly lightweight ones are strongly discouraged.  “Toe Shoes” such as Five Fingers are NOT allowed.  If you do not have stiff soled hiking boots, then ice climbing will be very challenging.


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

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

Our glacier trips cater to all ages and abilities, however, you must be in good enough shape to hike for up to 7 hours, covering over 8 miles round trip on challenging terrain (equivalent to over 12 miles of flat terrain). All clients will need to hike with a backpack the entire way on this trip. We provide a backpack and it weighs approximately 10-15 pounds and holds mountaineering gear, snacks/water, and extra clothing that you bring.

  • The first mile of the trail is well maintained and goes through forests with a few switchbacks. The remaining two and a half miles of the trail are very off the beaten path and requires hiking on bedrock with rock scrambling on steep sections. It’s important to have sturdy hiking boots that provide good ankle support while hiking on the rocky terrain. For a relatively fit group, it takes a little over two hours to hike to the glacier.
  • On all our glacier trips, we can’t guarantee how much exact time you will get on the glacier with crampons. The amount of time you get on the glacier is dependent on your group’s pace and weather conditions for the day. Most groups get over an hour on the glacier with crampons.
  • If a participant scheduled on a regular group trip cannot keep up with the pace of the group requiring another ABAK employee coming to assist additional charges will apply.

  • Visiting specific features such as ice caves cannot be guaranteed due to the constantly changing nature of the Mendenhall glacier.  Your guide will assess the hazards the day of the trip and determine if a particular area is safe enough to trek upon or enter.  Additionally, some groups will have an insufficient amount of time due to time constraints or too slow of a pace to access any ice caves.

  • We prefer clients not schedule other excursions directly before or after our trip. Please let us know if you do have another excursion booked on the same day, as we need to make a note of this in your booking form.



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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