Summers can prove quite exhausting in high-temperature areas. One only craves a break from the scorching heat and what can be a better treat than planning a trip to lighten up your mood. Beach? Mountains? Valleys? Countryside? There are so many options to decide from.
But what if we tell you that a valley with ice caves hidden in glaciers is waiting for your way. Excited? Yes, the Mendenhall Ice Caves in the US state of Alaska are ready to be on your bucket list for all the electrifying reasons.
Dipped in the enchanting hues of aqua, cobalt, and sapphire with water preserved in all its natural states; these caves are going to welcome you with glittering ice protruding, gushing springs, and an air of excitement.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s roll in.
Where are they located?
Mendenhall caves are located inside the Mendenhall Glacier. This 21.9 km long glacier is present in Mendenhall Valley, encompassed in Juneau, Alaska. Glacier has covered an extensive area of 2353 hectares and is officially protected by the state. The surreal caves are present deep down the glacier and are accessible either by kayaking in the summers or taking a hiking trek.
An interesting aspect of these caves is the gradual formation and collapse with time. The caves you are visiting today might not be there after some years. The greenhouse effect or global warming has further accelerated the process. It is, therefore, better to accompany a guide to stay on track and enjoy this enchanting trip.
Which time is the best to visit?
The caves remain accessible all around the year. In winters, it is easier to walk upon the ice and move into the caves. However, you might miss the bewitching beauty of the springs and dripping water in winters. Moreover, the guided tours are only available from mid-July to mid-September.
So, if you are looking for a guided trip and not want to miss out on the enticing beauty of the frozen walls, the summer months are the best to visit Mendenhall ice caves.
How to get there?
Juneau is a town near Mendenhall Valley. So, your journey will start from either flying, taking a cruise, or a ferry trip to Juneau. From Juneau, it is convenient to rent a car to arrive at West Glacier Trail. This 4.5-mile trail will take you to the caves.
West Glacier Trail is not a piece of cake to get across. It is quite slippery and can cause injury if safety measures are not adopted. It takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete this trail on one side.
The trek leaps through the ups and downs of Tongass National Rainforest until the steepest pinnacle of Mendenhall glacier. You would then need to gear up with crumples, helmet, harness, and other safety gadgets to continue this daring journey to reach the caves.
You are lucky enough if there is water splashing across the way in the glacier. Because, here is when you would get a chance to explore the caves while paddling. Canoes usually take 7 to 12 visitors and people get to paddle in turns.
What to explore?
We have built the intrigue. Is not it? You are excited to find out more about the mystical Mendenhall caves and what awaits you under those thick covers of ice. It is of no doubt that the crystal-clear ice with mesmerizing hues of blue bewilders a person at the first sight. Yet, there is much more to wander, explore, and capture behind the lens.
As you move deep down in the caves, you will get to see the mighty peaks of Thunder Mountain and Mt. McGinnis. Do not miss out on the alluring Nugget Falls by the Arctic Terns. Trekking in the glacier is quite an experience as the track is often muddy and is splattered by the loose rocks.
The caves are not of a similar height. At some points, you would have to be on all your four to get along while on other points, it feels like you are carrying tons of ice on your back. The glacier is rapidly retreating due to the increasing temperature of the Earth. Therefore, if you do not want to miss out on these caves, plan your trip right away and get these mesmerizing caves off your bucket list.
Burn your summer heat
Icy destinations are never a disappointment. So, why not check out the trip guide to Reykjavik to hit this summer. We promise you a mystical trip where you would love to get lost amid sturdy mountains, rusty volcanoes, and extensive ice fields. Glide, slide and wipe off your summer heat with these ice rides. You will get to feel equally amazing and exciting to visit this touristy destination. Thank us later!