The Wildland Glacier Tour is an active, off the beaten path adventure to one of the largest protected wilderness areas on Earth. One of our favorite trips!
The Wildland Glacier Tour is an inspiring Alaskan road trip into the heart of one of the largest protected wilderness areas on Earth. Wrangell St. Elias National Park, recognized part of a World Heritage site, exemplifies the essence of Alaska’s wild spirit. We’ll venture into the park to McCarthy and Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark to explore one of Alaska’s most impressive landscapes. If you are interested in hiking up onto a glacier with crampons or ice climbing with ice axes and ropes, Wrangell St. Elias National Park is world famous for both. Next, we’re off to Valdez and Prince William Sound, a temperate rainforest that is often referred to as the “Little Switzerland” of Alaska. Valdez is a stunning location where the steep Chugach Mountains meet the sea. Mountains, glaciers, and the ocean combine to create a world class sea kayaking destination. You will have the opportunity to kayak amongst wildlife, floating ice burgs, and a calving glacier; quintessential Alaska sea kayaking! Finally, we’ll board the world famous Alaska Marine Ferry and travel across Prince William Sound along the base of the towering Chugach Mountains. Weather permitting; hundreds of glaciers will grace us along the way.
The Wildland Glacier Tour captures the heart of all those that make the journey
Sea kayaking- to the face of a glacier; glacier hiking- at the base of a 5000 ft. icefall; ice climbing; glacier/ wildlife cruise; flight seeing; historic mine tour and more!
A full time Alaska Outdoors guide, top of the line camping equipment, all but 2 meals (taken at restaurants), transportation throughout, park entrance fees and specified included activities.
Our trips are designed as full service trips and include many opportunities for exploration. However, for those looking for a little more adventure, opportunities abound. Additional optional adventure tours are available throughout your trip and little or no prior experience is needed to enjoy them. We strongly suggest checking out the glacier hiking and sea kayaking trips on this tour. Other great options include flight seeing and the mine tour.
The Wildland Glacier Tour offers the opportunity for world class sea kayaking (up to the face of a glacier); glacier hiking and/or ice climbing (within Alaska’s largest National Park); flight seeing; a wildlife/glacier cruise and more!
These activities can generally be arranged during your trip with the local area experts at the places we visit. Your guide will make all of the arrangements and will recommend our favorite activities. See detailed itinerary description for optional trip descriptions and prices (all prices are approximate and subject to change). If you have any questions concerning these activities please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.
Please Note: This itinerary may operate in a slightly different order depending on local conditions. All features of the itinerary will be the same, only the destination order will be altered.
We'll depart Anchorage in the morning for a trip to the Matanuska Glacier, the largest accessible glacier in Alaska. The Matanuska Glacier is 26 miles long and 4 miles wide at its terminus and is ranked #2 by Alaska Magazine of “the places to visit” in Alaska. En route we’ll visit the Hatcher Pass Recreation Area and Independence Mine State Historic Park, ranked #5 by Alaska Magazine of places to visit in Alaska. The park is well known among locals for its scenic beauty as well as outstanding hiking opportunities. For those interested in Alaska history, a visit to the turn of the century gold camp is a must.
After a day of exploring we’ll set up camp near the Matanuska Glacier and enjoy a delicious dinner worthy of the Alaskan wilderness. This evening we will have the opportunity to walk up onto the glacial ice!
Wrangell St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the U.S. (13.2 million acres) and is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world (a world heritage site). Four major mountain ranges can be found here; the Chugach, St. Elias, Alaska, and the Wrangell Mountains, containing some of North America's highest peaks.
Our destination within the park is the old copper mining towns of McCarthy and Kennicott. En route we'll cross the mighty Copper River and travel the old railway path to McCarthy.
The Kennecott mines (different spelling than the town) were developed starting in 1907 and were, for a while, the most productive copper mines in the U.S. Today they remain as a national historic landmark and an excellent example of early 20th century Alaskan history.
Located nearby are the massive Kennicott and Root Glaciers. They converge here and are overshadowed by the 5000 foot Stairway Icefall. This is a truly unique location not accessible to the average tourist.
You will have a full day here to participate in a variety of recreational activities. We recommend taking advantage of the great hiking in the area. Hike along the side of the Root glacier or climb up to Bonanza Mine for sweeping views. For those feeling like being a bit more adventurous; getting out onto the glacier with crampons is a must.
Glacier Hiking with Crampons: Wrangell St. Elias National Park is one of the best places for glacier hiking in Alaska. The approach to the glacier begins with a walk through a historic ghost town and along the side of the vast Root Glacier below the base of the magnificent 5,000 foot Stairway Icefall. Donoho Peak and Mt Blackburn loom in the distance. Once equipped with crampons the hike continues onto the white and blue expanse of the glacier. The glacier comes to life while your guide describes its unique features. $80-$110.
Ice Climbing: Expert guides will show you “the ropes” of glacier climbing. This trip is like the above glacier hike but includes the opportunity to ice climb on the glacier as well. An introduction to the sport, basic skills and several techniques will be applied to explore a few ice cliffs. All ice climbing equipment is provided. $135.
Flight Seeing: From the air you will be offered an entirely new perspective of this vast area. You will have the opportunity to witness a variety of natural wonders, including; 16,000 ft peaks, volcanoes, rivers, glacial expanses, alpine lakes, and dramatic waterfalls. Wildlife including Bear, Dall Sheep, moose, caribou, and Mt Goats may be seen. From $120-$270.
Historic Mine Tours: Take a guided tour of Kennicott and learn about the area’s fascinating human history. The historic Copper mine of Kennecott (different spelling) was built in the early 1900’s and is a National Historic Landmark. Throughout the 2 ½ hour tour you will venture into the 14-story Mill Building and walk back in time. Your guide will provide you with a fully narrated tour; allowing you a glimpse into the history of this remote wilderness mine. $27.50.
En route to Valdez we’ll view the Alaska Pipeline and stop at the road accessible Worthington Glacier for a short hike. Later, we’ll cross scenic Thompson Pass and arrive in Valdez in time to explore the harbor or go on a short hike.
Often referred to as the 'Little Switzerland" of Alaska, Valdez is beautifully situated at the base of the towering Chugach Mountains on the shores of Prince William Sound. Made famous by the Alaska Pipeline, and later the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Valdez has since become a popular tourist destination. Visitors are attracted to the lush landscape, high concentration of glaciers, and great outdoor recreation.
You will have a full day here to participate in a variety of recreational activities. We recommend taking advantage of the great hiking in the area. For those feeling like being a bit more adventurous; getting out in a sea kayak is a must.
Sea Kayaking: There are two excellent sea kayaking trips from Valdez that we highly recommend.
An outstanding sea kayaking trip to the face of Shoup Glacier: view wildlife and a tidewater glacier, perfectly suitable for beginners. On this full day trip you will paddle within a protective cove past one of the largest Kittiwake rookeries in the area up to the face of Shoup Glacier. If you are lucky ice from the glacier will calve into the sea. $209.
Or, consider the slightly longer trip to the Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound! Here you can paddle among the icebergs and through some remote bays that are completely inaccessible by motorized boats. $259.
Glacier/Wildlife Cruises: Look for wildlife and enjoy the outstanding glacial scenery while you cruise Prince William Sound. Not only will you see South Central Alaska’s largest tidewater glacier, the Columbia Glacier, you will have the opportunity to view fantastic wildlife of that area including; sea lions, whales, seals, puffins, sea otters, eagles, goats, bears and much more. $130, $65 Ages to 12.
Ocean Fishing: Fish for halibut and/or salmon. Your choice of either an all day Halibut fishing trip, approximately 12 hrs, between May and September; or a silver salmon charter between July and September. Halibut- From $300 Salmon- From $225.
Today we’ll cross Prince William Sound on the Alaska State Ferry along the base of the towering Chugach Mountains. We'll look for bears, humpback and killer whales, Dall porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals, and mountain goats as we relax and enjoy the scenery. En route we'll pass the Columbia Glacier, one of the largest and most magnificent tidewater glaciers in the state. The Columbia Glacier covers an area the size of Los Angeles and casts thousands of tons of ice into the sea each year.
Our ferry brings us back to Whittier, just south of Anchorage, in the heart of the Chugach National Forest. Time permitting we’ll take a short hike before returning to Anchorage by about 5:00-5:30 pm.
The Wildland Glaceier Tour capture the hearts of all those that make the journey.
Add our Classic Alaskan Tour to the Wildland Glacier Tour to form a combination tour you will never forget: Grand Tour Combo - 13 days
We believe that our trips are outstanding, but we don’t expect you to take our word for it. Many of our past guests have offered to act as references for us. If you would like to contact our past guests we encourage you to. Get in touch with our office and we’ll be happy to send you their info.
“I am not sure if your travelers do write and let you know, but for us, it was a great experience. From the moment your guide picked us up she was perfect. She felt immediately like a part of our family and her knowledge and experience obviously were equally amazing. Having the 7 of us that have never really camped before, she made the experience incredible every day.”