Flying across this icy, desolate and barren landscape it looks more like Antarctica from the window seat of the helicopter I’m flying in. But this is Alaska, the USA’s 49th state, and laid before us is the beautiful Juneau Icefield. As the fifth largest icefield in the Western hemisphere, this is a significant point of interest for visitors travelling the Inside Passage on their Alaska Cruise.

You join me as I’ve climbed out of a helicopter and stepped onto the Mendenhall Glacier for an ice trek. With crampons strapped to my feet and an Ice axe in my hand I’m ready to explore this vast frozen landscape.

Pilot Mark on the Mendenhall Glacier Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA

A highlight of your Alaska Cruise of the Inside Passage, the town of Juneau in Alaska is a port of call for the cruise ship industry who descend on this area for stop-overs every summer. A short drive to Juneau’s International Airport is needed from the cruise ship terminal to begin your helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield.

Flying across the Juneau Icefield

The only way to get to the Juneau Icefield is by aircraft. Helicopter flights provide visitors with the means of landing on Junea’s Mendenhall Glacier, the star attraction of this small town, for glacier treks. 40 separate glaciers emanate from the Juneau Icefield carving out the valleys below.

Helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield for trekking on the Mendenhall Glacier from an Alaska cruise and Inside Passage. Helicopter cockpit from GoPro Cmaera
Helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield
Helicopter Landing on Mendenhall Glacier on Juneau Icefield in Alaska for glacier trekking
Flying across the Alaska Wilderness to the Juneau Icefield and Mendenhall Glacier
Helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield for trekking on the Mendenhall Glacier from an Alaska cruise and Inside Passage. Helicopter cockpit from GoPro Cmaera
Views across the expansive Juneau Icefield
Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA. Helicopter flight for Glacier trek with Northstar Trekking on an Alaska Cruise and inside passage
Cathedrals of rock puncture the Juneau Icefield landscape
Flying above Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA. ALaska cruise and inside passage from Vancouver Seward
The helicopter pilot takes you on a flight through these rocky pillars

Mendenhall Glacier

The jewel in the crown of the Alaska Cruise Inside Passage, the Mendenhall Glacier is the destination of your helicopter flight. 13 miles long, this huge river of ice carves its way though the Mendenhall Valley. Worryingly, the Mendenhall Glacier has retreated over 1.75 miles since 1929, with this recession set to continue as our climate changes and global temperatures increase.

Helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield and mendenhall Glacier in Alaska USA with Northstar Trekking.
Flying over the Mendenhall Glacier from the Juneau Icefield
Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA. Helicopter flight for Glacier trek with Northstar Trekking on an Alaska Cruise and inside passage
Deep crevasses slice through the Mendenhall Glacier
Flying down the Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau Icefield in Alaska
Flying down the Mendenhall Glacier
Flying above Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA. ALaska cruise and inside passage from Vancouver Seward
The helicopter prepares to land on the Mendenhall Glacier

Glacier Trekking

The highlight of a stop-over in Juneau as part of an Alaska Cruise, is the opportunity to walk on the Mendenhall Glacier. Kitted out in climbing equipment, crampons and an ice axe, expert guides lead you safely across this unique landscape. With ropes tethered to your harness you’ll have the chance to visit some impressive geological glacial features.

Pilot Mark on the Mendenhall Glacier Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA
Trekking across the Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA for glacier trekking
Turqoise blue water washes across the Mendenhall Glacier’s surface
Juneau Icefield & Mendenhall Glacier
Unique ice formations in the Mendenhall Glacier
Moulin on the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska USA
Water rushes down a Moulin; a vertical shaft within the Mendenhall Glacier

Read more about an Alaska Cruise of the Inside Passage.

Fodor's The Complete Guide to Alaska Cruises (Full-color Travel Guide)
Fodor's Travel Guides - Publisher: Fodor's Travel - Edition no. 2 (03/31/2016) - Paperback: 368 pages
£14.99

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