Juneau – A trip to mendenhall Glacier (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Alaska

After our Whale-Watching Tour in Auke Bay, our tour went even further. By coach we drove 10 kilometers to the parking lot of Juneau’s most popular attraction: the Mendenhall Glacier.


The Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier, formerly known as Auke Glacier, is one of the foothills of the Juneau Icefield. The glacier river has a length of almost 20 kilometers. The ice is at least 150 years old at the glacier tongue, up to 67 meters high and more than 2 kilometers wide and flows into a glacial lake, Mendenhall Lake. The glacier was named in 1892 in honor of the American scientist Thomas Corwin Mendenhall.

The 3800 km2 Juneau Icefield is the base of about 140 glaciers, including the Mendenhall, Meade and Taku Glaciers. The entire ice field makes up almost 4 of the glaciated area of Alaska! The highest elevation in Juneau Icefield is the summit of the “Devils Paw” at 2,593 meters.

To the slightly higher Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center you can either take the stairs or take a lift. Here you can learn about the history of the glacier, the changing climate and the effects on the eternal ice. You can also see a 15-minute film explaining the interplay between the Tongass National Forest and its many glaciers.

Glacier Juneau, Mendenhall, Cruise, Day Trip, Princess, Alaska, USA, Travel Report

The Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Waterfall

A map of the hiking trails in the glacier area

Here we have found a good overview map, which shows all important hiking trails in the glacier area.

Mendenhall Glacier, Map, Hiking Trails, Alaska, USA, Travel Report Juneau

A map with all hiking trails at the Mendenhall Glacier

Viewpoints on the glacier

From the large car park it is not far to the first lookout point on the glacier. That’s why the Mendenhall Glacier is often referred to as “Alaska’s famous drive-in glacier” 🙂 We took the first pictures of the pavilion and then walked along the “Photo Point Trail”.

The Nugget Waterfall

Already from a distance you can see the water masses of the Nugget waterfall, which lies on the right side of the glacier. To get to the waterfall, go from the “Photo Point Trail” the junction to the “Nugget Falls Trail”. This is a 2 km long hiking trail that leads directly to the waterfall and for which one-way should be planned for about 15-20 minutes. The trail leads through partly dense forest and along Mendenhall Lake. The whole area is bear and porcupine area! So you should always keep your eyes open. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any bears, but we saw a porcupine that climbed up the tree 🙂

Nugget Waterfall, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, Juneau, USA, Travel Report, Cruise

The Nugget Waterfall at Mendenhall Glacier

The Steep Creek Trail

The Steep Creek Trail is a small trail that leads along a small river. Due to the many salmon in the river, there is also the possibility to observe bears in the wild.

Even though we couldn’t see any bears today, we have at least seen a beautiful bald eagle.

Bald Eagle, Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, USA, Travel Report

A bald eagle at Mendenhall Glacier

All travelogues from our Alaska Cruise

Our cruise on the Royal Princess took us for a week along the coast from Vancouver north to Whittier (Anchorage). On this great cruise adventure around the northernmost state of the USA we visited the cities of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. We also took a scenic cruise in Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord with breathtaking views of Alaska's glaciers.
Alaska Cruise Princess Cruises
Day 1: Visa – Entry to Canada (eTA Application) & to the USA (ESTA Application)
Day 1: Vancouver – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Canada)
Day 1: Royal Princess – Our ship for the Alaska Cruise
Day 2: Day at Sea
Day 3: Ketchikan – Totemp poles, bald eagles & salmon (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Things to do in the capital of Alaska (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – Orcas and humpback whales at Whale Watching (USA)
Day 4: Juneau – A trip to mendenhall Glacier (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – A walk through the old gold mining town (USA)
Day 5: Skagway – Musher’s Camp & Dog Sled Adventure (USA)
Day 5: Haines – Bears and bald eagles on the Chilkoot River (USA)
Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park – A Scenic Cruise in Alaska (USA)
Day 7: College Fjord – A Scenic Cruise & Arrival in Whittier (USA)
Day 8: Anchorage – Seward Highway & Alaska Wildlife Center (USA)