Hike Root Glacier & Explore Donoho Falls
Tap into your adventurous side and spend the day exploring the Root Glacier in the heart of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park! Escape the crowds and hike deep out onto this glacial wonderland, finding enormous blue pools, cave-like features, deep canyons, and gorgeous waterfalls.
Where you go is entirely up to you and your guide! A guide makes anything possible – and they can help you navigate through terrain that you’ll only believe once you see it. While you navigate this otherworldly landscape, you’ll catch impressive views of the incredible 16,390 ft Mt. Blackburn and the impressive 7,000 ft Stairway Icefall!
Want the full itinerary? See our Full-Day Glacier Hike Itinerary for more information!
ADVANCED RESERVATIONS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED!
Uneven trail and glacier travel including steep loose rock for ~200 ft. The last 1/4 mile of trail is not maintained and is subject to seasonal changes.
Tour Length – Day Trip
Tour start time
Daily from May 25th – September 8th, 2024
All ages welcome, but can be challenging for those 8 or under. Booking a private trip is recommended for those traveling with small children. Baby carrier required for those 2 or under.
6 guests to 1 guide, multiple tours can go out at once.
Private options available!
- Full day of exploration on one of Alaska’s best glaciers, the Root Glacier!
- Break away from the crowds and find unique glacial features like waterfalls, canyons, blue pools, moulins, and cave-like features
- Hike the full width of a glacier and explore Donoho Falls, a huge waterfall that plunges under the edge of the glacier
- The chance to jump into a glacial blue pool – our version of a Polar Plunge
- Knowledgeable guide to teach you about the local flora, fauna, and glaciology
- Experienced and knowledgeable guide
- Roundtrip transportation!
(Pick-up time and location vary depending on your lodging location. Please reference your confirmation for specific details.)
What’s Not Included?
Once you book your trip, you’ll receive a confirmation with all the information you need!
Come prepared with the following:
- Rain Gear – Both jacket and pants!
- Extra Layers – Warm sweater and/or jacket
- Hat and Light Gloves – Gloves are used to protect your hands from the jagged ice!
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen – The reflective nature of the glacier makes these an absolute necessity!
- Hiking Boots or Other Sturdy Walking Shoes
- Lunch, Snacks, and a Water Bottle
- Camera/Phone to Take Pictures!
- Backpack – Please make sure it is big enough to carry your extra layers, lunch, water, and the crampons we lend you
Each activity that we offer is unique and requires a different skills set that may not be suitable for all ages. Here are the age limits for our Day Trips:
Kennecott Mill Town Tour – All ages are welcome! Please keep in mind that there are steep stairs that all participants must be able to navigate independently. A hands free carrier is required for those 2 and under.
Half-Day Glacier Hike – All ages are welcome! Consider that you will hike between 5-6 miles. A hands free carrier is recommended for young children. A Private Trip is a great choice depending on the ages and abilities of your kids.
Full-Day Glacier Hike – All ages are welcome! Consider that you will hike between 8-11 miles. A hands free carrier is recommended for young children. To give your family the ultimate flexibility, a Private Trip is a great choice depending on the ages and abilities of your kids.
Ice Climbing – We recommend participants be 8 years old or older. Participants are expected to swing ice tools that can weigh between 2-5 lbs and use their own strength to move themself up the wall. Please consider your kid’s capabilities! We strongly encourage that families with children under 8 years old book a Private Trip.
Raft & Flightsee – We require participants be 8 years old or older. Participants must be able to hold on to the boat independently and be able to quickly and fully follow instructions given by the guide.
Kayaking Trips – We require participants be 3 years old or older.
Fly-In Hiking Trips – All ages are welcome! A hands free carrier is strongly recommended for those 2 or under.
We get asked this question a lot – and it’s a good one!
Both Glacier Hikes take the same 2.5 mile trail to the Root Glacier. However, on our Half-Day Glacier Hike you’ll hike an average of 5 miles over the course of 5-6 hours, while on the Full Day Hike you’ll hike closer to 8-11 miles over the course of 8-9 hours.
In general the Full-Day Glacier Hike is much more strenuous. You’ll get to go further out on the glacier, where the terrain can be more challenging and varied. Because you get further out on the glacier there is a chance you won’t see another group for hours! We consider our Full-Day Glacier Hike more exploratory and there is no set route.
We recommend that you join us for a Full-Day Glacier Hike if you’d like to jump into a Blue Pool, as the pools are not always accessible on a Half-Day Glacier Hike.
On both hikes you get to see incredible glacial features, learn about our local environment (including some glaciology), and interact with a surreal landscape that you’ll remember forever! You can’t go wrong no matter which hike you choose!
We understand that you may have luggage or things you don’t want to bring into the backcountry with you so we have a designated area at our headquarters where your guide will label and store your stuff while you’re out. This area is not locked, however, we have never had any issues with loss or damage. If you have a small item of great value that you are particularly nervous about, we may be able to store it in our office for you – just ask your guide.
On the Chitina River, Copper River, Source to Sea, or Custom Trips with different start and end points, any luggage you leave behind with us will be brought out to meet you at the end of the trip.
Meet the incredible guides that are the heart of our trips!
Who are the guides that make up the St. Elias Alpine Guides team? They are a diverse and competent group of people from all across the country. Their extensive outdoor experience, wilderness medical training, and great personalities make them stand out from the crowd. We put them through a thorough training program unique to our area – glaciology lessons, backcountry navigation, and training trips on the slopes of the Wrangell Mountains add to our guides’ abilities to adapt and dominate in the diverse terrain of WSENP. From a glacier hike to an 8-day expedition, they’ll be sure to make it a trip of a lifetime!
Because our schedule is as dynamic as the environment we live in, we usually assign guides the night before for our Day Trips. And while we can’t guarantee who your guide will be – we love and trust every one of them and we know you will too!