Glacier Trek Adventure to Spencer Glacier:
MINIMUM of 4 Guests required to book this trip. This trip is limited to only 10 guests per outing, with a max guide to guest ratio of 1 to 4. This trip is often private per booking party.
This trip is available departing from Anchorage or Girdwood on the Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic Train.
Glacier Trek Access: Access for 2020 and 2021 was by raft & so for all trips we utilized both kayaks & rafts for each group. This trip is suitable for ages 10 and older. Guests not comfortable paddling kayaks can go in a raft. Rafts are powered by a guide rowing, whereas kayaks are paddled by guests.
RIDE Both Glacier Discovery & Coastal Classic AK Railroad Trains: This tour utilizes 2 Alaska Railroad trains: The Glacier Discovery Train & Coastal Classic Train. Ride the Coastal Classic in the morning to the 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 – KAYAK or RAFT Tour on Spencer Lake to the Glacier.
11:30 – 2:00 PM – Glacier Trek onto the ice at Spencer Glacier, Look for Blue Ice Caves & Explore.
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 motorcoach back to Anchorage or 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 splash tops, spray skirts & Personal Flotation Device (life vest) for all kayak tours. 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, and trekking poles.
- 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 and hike distances: We will tailor the glacier trek distance dependent on your group’s experience and desires and can hike less than .5 miles or up to 3 miles.
- Spencer Lake & Placer River Float: The Placer River Float originating from Spencer Lake to our River Takeout at Luebner Lake is approximately 7 River Miles if you opt to do a scenic rafting trip in the afternoon.
- The maximum weight for kayaks is 240 lbs. The maximum height is 6’3″. We can provide the same tour via raft for guests that don’t meet weight & height restrictions. Please let us know ahead of time if you prefer rafting.
- 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
Weight & Size Considerations for KAYAKS:
The approximate maximum weight is 240 lbs.
The approximate maximum height is 6’3”.
Ultimately it is up to the guide’s discretion and comfort level of the guest if our kayaks will work for a kayak trip. Guests with large foot sizes and guests that don’t like to sit for up to 1-hour in a touring (sit-inside) kayak may also have difficulty fitting and/or being comfortable in kayaks. Thankfully, we can provide the same lake tour in a Raft for guests that don’t meet height/weight limits and/or don’t feel comfortable in kayaks. Please let us know ASAP if you think you may opt for a Raft instead of a Kayak for this trip. If you are close to the maximum size considerations, please be advised that we can not guarantee that a kayak trip will work until in the field, and any guide decisions are ultimately made with your safety being the utmost priority.
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 kayaking 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 AK 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
- 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.
Have you had any surgeries in the last year that might affect your abilities trekking on the glacier ice or kayaking?
Do you currently have any medical conditions that May affect your ability to trek on the ice?
Can you sit in a kayak for 1hr at a time 2hrs total?
Can you walk on bouldery and uneven surfaces?
If you answered YES to any of the above questions, please reach out to us directly, so that we can determine what the best adventure trip would be for you.
Weather and Trip Adjustments Water levels, wind, and other natural environmental factors beyond our control may cause us to alter your trip. We do not operate kayaks or canoes on whitecap days on the lake for your safety and enjoyment. In this situation (which is very rare in the mornings) we would offer an extended raft tour. We have other options with hiking, rafting, and a shortened kayak tour to provide a safe and enjoyable tour alternative under inclement weather. It is up to the guide’s discretion and safety experience to determine what is the most appropriate decision for the day 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.