Best Glacier Hiking in Alaska
From our office, you and your guide set off down the main street of Kennecott, passing the red and white buildings that stand as a reminder of the highly successful copper mining operation that boomed here in the early 1900’s. The main street gradually turns into the 2 mile glacier trail that was originally built in the ‘20’s as a wagon road to supply the Erie Mine, six miles up the Root Glacier. In May and June, brilliant blue lupine bloom alongside the path. As summer matures, dwarf fireweed and wild rose splash pink and vermilion alongside the path. A mile from town you’ll pass a tumbled down shed, the original “dynamite shack,” remnants of the early copper mining days. All good miners put the dynamite shack a healthy distance out of town!
Day hiking on the Root Glacier has been likened to a walk in the tide pools near the ocean and you can literally spend hours discovering the fascinating details on its surface. Water runs all over the ice surface, joining into bubbling streams and waterfalls. In steeper terrain, the water picks up speed, and carves deep canyon-like ravines in the ice, forming beautiful and enticing water slides. At level spots, the water collects and reflects a breathtaking blue. Another 50 degrees warmer and you might think about a quick swim! As the ice gives way to the melting water, holes, known as moulins, form. Although many of these holes are huge black caverns, with a roaring waterfall dumping straight down hundreds of feet into the very heart of the glacier, some are no bigger around than your arm and make a sound like a gurgling coffee pot.
As the day draws to a close and the light softens, you and your guide make your way back to Kennecott. Rushing water and your own footsteps are the only sounds as you hike and your mind wanders back over the highlights of the day. The adventure is far from over, though. It’s this time of the evening, when the trail is quiet, that we’ve had some of our most spectacular wildlife sightings. Keep your camera ready!