Spencer Glacier Ice Trek


Trekking on Spencer Glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is our most adventurous & rigorous trip (although not technically difficult), and one of the best full-day glacier adventure tours in Alaska.  Raft by icebergs, trek next to crevasses, peer into blue moulins, and glacier blue pools; and adventure within this spectacular remote glacier landscape.  

A minimum of 4 Guests is REQUIRED to book this trip.

  • Full-Day 7 hours of Adventure
  • Round Trip Train Tickets included
  • Iceberg Rafting approximately 4 miles
  • Glacier Trekking up to 3 miles
  • Guide to Guest Ratio is 1:4

NOTE: Coastal Classic Train does not stop at Spencer Glacier on Thursdays & Fridays.

The highlight of our trip to Alaska! This tour encompasses the Alaskan Railroad, rafting, hiking with crampons on a massive glacier, and hiking on the “beach”. Our guide, Stuart, was extremely knowledgeable in all things Alaskan wilderness and outdoor adventures. Highly recommended! – August 2020 Review – Thanks ssmalley1014 for joining us!


Glacier Trek Adventure to Spencer Glacier:

A MINIMUM of 4 Guests is required to book this trip.  This trip is limited to only 12 guests per outing, with a max guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 4.  This trip is often private per booking party and does not operate daily.

This trip is available departing from Anchorage or Girdwood on the Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic Train.

Glacier Trek Access:  Access for 2020-2023 was by raft & so for all trips, we utilize rafts to get across Spencer Lake and onto Spencer Glacier.  Rafts are powered by a guide rowing. This trip is suitable for ages 10 and older.

RIDE BOTH Glacier Discovery Train & Coastal Classic Train:

This tour utilizes two Alaska Railroad Trains: The Glacier Discovery Train & Coastal Classic Train.  Ride the Coastal Classic in the morning to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, and return via the Glacier Discovery Train.

Glacier Trek Itinerary:

6:45 AM – Coastal Classic departs Anchorage
8:05 AM – Coastal Classic departs Girdwood
9 AM – Arrive at Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – Raft Tour across Spencer Lake to the Glacier access point.
11:30 – 2:00 PM – Glacier Trek onto the ice at Spencer Glacier looking for ice features, pools, caves, etc.
2-4:30 PM – Depending on your group’s desires, your guide’s discretion & advice, as well as the weather of the day will determine your options below.
#1 –  Continue Exploring the Glacier and get more time Exploring on the ice.  (MOST COMMON since this tour focuses on seeking out amazing ice features and exploring Spencer Glacier)
#2 – With inclement weather, jump aboard the AK Railroad’s Glacier Discovery Train and go to Grandview – the most scenic section of the AK Railroad.
5:15 PM – Arrive in Portage and board the motorcoach back to Anchorage or van shuttle back to Girdwood
5:45 PM – Arrival in Girdwood
6:45 PM – Arrival in Anchorage via Motorcoach Bus


  • A catered sack lunch is provided (sandwich, fruit, dessert & bottled water).  Veggie or other dietary requests are welcome, please notify us ahead of time.
  • We provide life vests & rain ponchos if needed for all raft trips.
  • We will provide ice crampons or ice cleats for your glacier walk depending on glacier conditions & your footwear.
  • Bring warm clothes & layers, plus warm socks to wear.
  • Most guests bring their cameras, we can’t guarantee that they won’t get wet, but you should get amazing photos.
  • We require all guests to sign a release of liability on the rafting/canoe/kayak/glacier tours.
  • Spencer Lake Distances:  2 miles one way to the glacier.  It takes anywhere between 20 Minutes (With Calm Perfect weather) to 1+ hour to paddle across the lake.
  • Spencer Glacier Trek distances:  We will tailor the glacier trek distance depending on your group’s experience and desires and can hike less than .5 miles or up to 3 miles.
  • This trip is suitable for ages 10 and older.
  • There are restrooms on the train and at the Spencer Whistle Stop.  There are no restrooms once we are on the glacier or river, backcountry options only

Chugach Adventures’ GLACIER TREK Screening & Preparedness Information:

Trekking on Spencer Glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but requires a certain level of fitness and preparedness for the active traveler.  This is one of the most full-day adventure tours in Alaska with approximately 7 hours of activity, both rafting approximately 4 miles, and glacier trekking with crampons up to 3 miles on Spencer Glacier.  Guests are required to come prepared for this trip.  This trip operates in all inclement weather and guests are required to be prepared for a full-day Alaskan adventure in the elements.

Recommended GEAR LIST for each guest:

  • Good hiking boots with ankle support or a Good High-Quality Trail Running Shoe  (THIS IS REQUIRED for Strap-on BD Crampons).
  • Thin insulating base layer next to the skin
  • Puffy mid-layer jacket or fleece 
  • Hardshell waterproof outer layer jacket and pants
  • Small personal backpack 30L or less
  • Personal water bottle
  • Sunscreen and lip balm 
  • Sunglasses 
  • A Baseball cap or visor will fit under your helmet
  • A warm hat without a ball on top will fit under your helmet
  • Warm gloves

Your guides will have some supplemental gear, but if you do not intend to provide some/if not all of the recommended gear above, then we recommend other adventure trips.  While not technically difficult, this is our most adventurous & rigorous trip, and so your preparedness & understanding is essential for your safety & the success of the trip.

Additional Questions:

Have you had any surgeries in the last year that might affect your ability to trek on the glacier ice? 

Do you currently have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to trek on the ice? 

Can you sit upright in a raft for 1hr at a time 2hrs total? 

Can you walk on bouldery and uneven surfaces?

If any of the above questions apply to you, please reach out to us directly, so that we can determine what the best adventure trip would be for you.

Weather – Trip Adjustments:

Water levels, wind, and other natural factors beyond our control may cause us to alter your trip for your safety & enjoyment. 

For example on windy days, if you have booked a Kayak trip, we reserve the right to have you join us on a rafting trip. With our Spencer Glacier Float trip, the river portion is based on water levels in the river. We reserve the right to modify your rafting trip to a Spencer Glacier Float lake tour going closer to the glacier if the water levels are not sufficient for a safe/enjoyable trip down the Placer River.  

Landing zone locations and the extent of our glacier hiking & moraine treks are dictated mostly by the weather of the day and the group’s activity level & speed.

Chugach Adventures does not cancel trips due to inclement weather, nor provide refunds when adventures are adjusted based on weather.

Cancellation Policy for Day Tour Bookings:

Cancellations made 10 days or more in advance are 90% refundable.   

Cancellations within 10 days are non-refundable.  

AK RAILROAD Cancellation Policy & Change Fee Information:  All paid bookings are subject to a 10% change fee for the Railroad portion of the trip cost, if a date change is requested within 30 days.

Gratuity / Tip:
Our guides are expected to go above and beyond for this trip and greatly appreciate any & all gratuities.

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