Portage Glacier. The sun shined brightly illuminating every inch of the ice. Potential Hazards: Avoid walking along the edge of Root Glacier as rotting ice and swift, cold water are potentially dangerous. Some of the caves I've explored extended for thousands of feet into total darkness. Walk along the edge of the glacier, up or down, and eventually you will find one of the many ice caves that appear in summer. We took the shuttle into town.The shuttle cost $5 but only takes cash so be sure to have some on you. We explored the ice cave and were in absolute awe of the formation, texture, and colors of the ice. There are two campgrounds before the footbridge; one is for tent camping and the other is for car camping. ... and two of the most accessible are Root Glacier and Kennicott Glacier, both … Glaciers are dynamic, which means they are always changing. After about seven miles out on the glacier we turned around and headed to the Donoho lakes campsite. Inside an Ice Cave on Root Glacier: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Alaska Be very careful to look at the cave before entering. We were lucky enough to have Tica be our guide for the 1/2 day glacier hike, town tour, and ice cave exploration. The crystal ceilings look like the underside of a river frozen by a magician. You can also pass the glacier turn-off trail and continue hiking all the way "around the bend" of the Root Glacier to get an up-close look at the Stairway Icefall that spills 6,000 feet off Mt. Most Alaskan visitors will see a glacier, but here in Kennicott, you can actually hike onto the Root Glacier and explore the fascinating world of moulons, pressure ridges, fathomless blue water pools, and exquisite and mysterious ice formations. The Erie Mine Trail continues past the turn to the Root Glacier, running parallel to the glacier for approximately 2.5 more miles. We eventually made it back to the van and a hot shower never felt better (yes, we have a hot outdoor shower on the van). These are typically smaller caves and more prone to cave … In search of adventure, we started the drive from Anchorage, Alaska to McCarthy & Kennecott. The tour starts with an interpretive walk through historic Kennicott and then onto a two-mile trail to the glacier, following the path of the … One of the more beautiful and accessible glacial hikes located right outside of Kennicott in Alaska's backcountry. Ice climbing and mountaineering are popular in addition to mountaineers and hikers training for future endeavors. Glaciers cover more than 25 per cent of the park, though most hiking (and ice-climbing) tours focus on the Root Glacier, which features ice caves such as the Jumbo Creek ice cave, where you can stand surrounded by glistening blue ice. As summer matures, dwarf fireweed and wild rose splash pink and vermilion alongside the path. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until September. We found another ice cave to explore near the Donoho waterfall but this one was much more difficult to access. After climbing out of the cave we got our packs back on and headed for the toe of the glacier. On our way back to Anchorage we caught an incredible sunset with a mountain in the background. The Root Glacier is just a 2 mile hike from Kennicott. Tour Overview. It is hard to believe that such places exist on Earth. Am I guaranteed to see the Mendenhall ice caves? Hike to Root Glacier and Explore the Ice Caves. If you want to keep going after reaching Root Glacier, head up to view the old Erie Mine. Dan-yr-Ogof, the National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Frasassi Caves (Grotte di Frasassi), Genga, Kennicott Glacier, Valdez-Cordova, AK, USA. Because early melt usually leaves the Root snow free by the end of May, this access may offer one of Alaska’s best spring and early summer opportunities to explore a remote, wilderness glacier on foot. A new unknown world is hidden under the majestic Alaskan glaciers. When pulling into town there is a footbridge that you can’t cross with your car. Tours are offered by two local companies, St. Elias Alpine Guides and Kennecott Wilderness Guides. After exploring an ice cave and jumping in a glacier pool I worried that my Alaskan adventures had peaked. An example of the dynamic nature of glacier caves is the former Paradise Ice Caves, located on Mt. The Root Glacier hike is a rare opportunity to hike on a large, active glacier that is easily accessible by car. Many people from all around the world come to Alaska to see this natural phenomenon. The most famous Alaskan ice caves are located under Mendenhall, Root, Spencer, Matanuska, and Kennicott Glaciers. You might even have the opportunity to check out some ice caves while at Root Glacier. I'm not sure the name of it so be sure to be on the lookout but on a clear day it’s impossible to miss! A stay at the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge puts you just four miles from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park’s main visitor center in Copper Center, Alaska, about a … Besides Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, you can easily find guided tours of Alaska ice caves in the summer at Root Glacier near Kennecott, Matanuska Glacier along the Glenn Highway, Spencer Glacier near an Alaska Railroad stop, and Valdez Glacier in Valdez, with some outfits offering winter tours as well. 1991 S 1100 E Unit ASalt Lake City Utah 84106. Just a winter parking lot to hike up and see the glacier. The use of crampons is strongly recommended. After about 15 minutes of searching, we found it! For a family friendly, safer alternative to the Byron Glacier Trail check out the year-round Matanuska Glacier’s guided tours or seasonal Root Glacier and Exit Glacier tours. These caves are probably the only one place in the world where you can see so many shades of natural blue. November 29, 2019 March 19, 2020. (The trail continues up the valley, roughly paralleling the glacier.) It’s a well-known fact that Mendenhall Glacier has been receding at an alarming rate over the past decade, which has brought both beautiful and heartbreaking changes to the glacier … In general, it’s safe to enter these caves but be very aware that they can, and do collapse. Peer into glacial ponds or deep blue holes (moulins), take in vast and open landscape, or follow the creeks on the surface of the glacier into their turquoise slot canyons. On this glacier hike day tour out of Kennicott-McCarthy, enjoy all the benefits of the half day hike but with additional time to explore the Root Glacier‘s dynamic features. The trail continues in and out of brush and along the top of the moraine, above the glacier. Wide open areas of non-crevassed glacier make for a great area for beginner-level mountaineering, and sport ice climbing. However, this is just a recommendation and my Sprinter van held up well on the road. From the parking area, it's a short 10 minute walk maybe. Root Glacier and Stairway Icefall Trail est un sentier allez-retour de 6.5 miles modérément fréquenté situé près de McCarthy, Alaska. Mountaineering on the Root Glacier. Note that the glacier centre is closed in winter. The turnoff to the toe of the Root Glacier is about 15 minutes past Jumbo Creek and clearly marked. Glad you asked! Root Glacier is great for further adventures if you’re up for the challenge. When the melted water freezes again, the channel is often preserved as a narrow cave. A selection of glacier cave photographs from several glaciers including Castner, Canwell, Black Rapids, Gakona, Root, and Augustana. Some glacier caves are relatively unstable due to melting and glacial motion, and are subject to localized or complete collapse, as well as elimination by glacial retreat. Shortly after, we came across what we called “ice slot canyons” and “blue pools” which we very cool (no pun intended) to discover. Hiking Root Glacier to Stairway Icefall. He wasn’t bothered by us much and didn’t cause much of a threat as he kept walking on his way into the sunset. Rated 5.0 /5 based on 1 customer reviews 6 miles 500 ft gain - Loop Trail Save Add Review Get Directions Add Photo. If you are unwilling to assume the risks or unprepared for a glacier trek then you can still enjoy the blue ice trail to Byron Glacier, just keep a safe distance from the cave and don’t follow all the tourists you see walking in unknowingly. Trip Description. So with 5 days, assuming after July 1st, I'd suggest getting to McCarthy for the Ice Cave (note they want most people to do the Root Glacier hike first, so they can ascertain if you're in good enough shape to do the ice caves, though if you are fit you can book a private tour). We left most of our gear outside the cave--they can be pretty hazardous in the summer months so we planned to be quick inside. All of the staff were helpful, courteous, and professional. Photographing these so-called "ice caves" is physically demanding, technically challenging, and sometimes dangerous. I was informed by a friend in Anchorage that the last 60 miles is a white-knuckling dirt road, and advised to bring two spare tires. In search of adventure, we started the drive from Anchorage, Alaska to McCarthy & Kennecott. After “lunch with a view”, the possibilities are endless. We stayed at the car camping one as we were staying in the van. The full day hike allows for ample time to explore all the amazing wonders of the Root Glacier with your experienced guide. The parking area is opposite from the glacier centre on the other side of the highway. Tica was AMAZING! Root Glacier runs along the mining town of Kennecott down to McCarthy at its toe. Look for falling rocks, unstable ceiling, etc. Added by Lucas Pols. Once you get off the glacier it’s about a half mile uphill climb to the campsite and there are cairns to help you along the way. Here you can find tons of crystal clear ice, artistic shapes made by nature through millions of years, and soft sunbeams that barely pierce frozen walls… Looking at this miracle, only one thing may come to mind: it truly is a palace for a Snow Queen. We spent about two hours inside the cave--way longer than planned--but we were having too much fun taking pictures and exploring something that we have never seen before. Later in the season, there may even be opportunities to explore ice caves on or under the glacier. A short, steep descent brings you right to an apron of grit-covered ice. The next day we packed up our gear and headed back out for the glacier. Words and photos by Coalatree Ambassador John Rosano. What to Pack for the Root Glacier Trail Le sentier vous offrira la possibilité d'observer la faune et sa difficulté est évaluée comme modérée. Strap on crampons and explore the otherworldly surface of the Root Glacier on this icy trek! The ice cave is located right at the glacier center. The ice caves are changing all the time but when we were there, in June of 2018, we'd heard there was an ice cave located in the glacier moraine, just before the toe of the glacier. 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