Mendenhall Glacier is a glacier about long located in Mendenhall Valley, about 12mi from downtown Juneau in the southeast area of the U.S. state of Alaska. The glacier and surrounding landscape is protected as part of the 5815acre Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, a federally designated unit of the Tongass National Forest.Using our online itinerary creator, Juneau attractions like Mendenhall Glacier can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
The Juneau Icefield Research Program has monitored the outlet glaciers of the Juneau Icefield since 1942, including Mendenhall Glacier. The glacier has also retreated 1.75mi since 1929, when Mendenhall Lake was created, and over 2.5mi since 1500. The end of the glacier currently has a negative glacier mass balance and will continue to retreat in the foreseeable future.
Given that average yearly temperatures are currently increasing, and the outlook is for this trend to continue, it is actually possible that the glacier might experience a period of stabilization or slight advance during its retreating march. This is because increasing amounts of warm, moist air will be carried up to the head of the icefield, where colder ambient temperatures will cause it to precipitate as snow. The increased amount of snow will feed the icefield, possibly enough to offset the continually increasing melting experienced at the glacier's terminus. However, this interesting phenomenon will fade away if temperatures continue to climb, since the head of the glacier will no longer have cold enough ambient temperatures to cause snow to precipitate.
It was originally known as Sitaantaago or Aak'wtaaksit, also Latinized as Aakwtaaksit, by the Tlingit. The glacier was named Auke Glacier by naturalist John Muir for the Tlingit Auk Kwaan band in 1888. In 1891 it was renamed in honor of Thomas Corwin Mendenhall. It extends from the Juneau Icefield, its source, to Mendenhall Lake.
Mendenhall Glacier reviews
This is my third visit to Mendenhall Glacier and I love it! The views are fantastic. However, it would be a good thing if there were restrooms available on the trail. The gift shop was very also very.... more
This is my third visit to Mendenhall Glacier and I love it! The views are fantastic. However, it would be a good thing if there were restrooms available on the trail. The gift shop was very also very.... more »
We took the public bus over to the glaciers. It saved us quite a bit of money, but honestly, given how little time we had in Juneau, I think it would have better just to have taken the cruise...
We took the public bus over to the glaciers. It saved us quite a bit of money, but honestly, given how little time we had in Juneau, I think it would have better just to have taken the cruise... more »
A 15-minute drive from Downtown Juneau. I went there late December, and the weather was a bit wacky so I thought I wouldn’t be able to see the glacier clearly, but I was wrong. Covered in snow, I could walk and get close to the glacier. It was really beautiful. People can take hikes as there are different trails, but I chose to only go to the Photo Point.
Words cannot describe the experience of visiting one of these wonders. You feel like you're part of ancient history when you stare out into the waters and see this massive glacier and as you learn more about it you realize how vulnerable it actually is. Rooting from the icefields far above this glacier comes down to the lake close enough for us to see. You can see little pieces of ice floating through the waters as you hear the Nugget waterfalls in the background. It's such a peaceful humbling experience and I recommend doing it as soon as you can if you're considering visiting alaska. We arrived on a bus tour which was about a short 20 minute drive through town and once we got there we made our way to the visitor center where we learned about the history of the glacier and made our way up the trail to get as close as we could. On your way you walk through lush green rainforests and if you're lucky enough you can spot some wildlife.
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