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Where can I stay to see the best Glaciers?

Ingatestone, United...
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Where can I stay to see the best Glaciers?

We're hoping to visit Alaska late August/early September 06. So far we have decided that we're going to hire a car and stay in B&B's for part of the trip to visit Anchorage, Talkeetna, Healy (Denali), and possibly Fairbanks. We're also planning on flying to Katmai to stay at Brooks Lodge for bear-viewing for a couple of days.

However,being in Alaska, we obviously don't want to miss the amazing scenery in the South, especially the Glaciers. If whale watching is available at this time of year, this would be fantastic.

Can anyone recommend a good location to stay in which is not too hard -or expensive- to get to from Anchorage? (Should we drive there or is different transportation a better idea?).

What cruises are recommended? (a full day cruise would suit us).

On another note: Is Fairbanks worth visiting, and/or is there anywhere else that is a must-see?


Eagle River, AK
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1. Re: Where can I stay to see the best Glaciers?


You can drive to the Matanuska Glacier from Anchorage in about 2.5 hours and after paying a small fee to use the access road to get there walk up to and on the glacier.

In Seward, you can take one of several tours that will take you near glaciers on a tour boat and just up the road (about 10 miles) you can go to Exit Glacier and/or hike up next to the glacier to the Harding Ice Field, a huge field of ice (I'm talking 100s of square miles.

In Whittier they have a tour called the 26 Glacier Tour with lots of glaciers.

You can take a ferry from Valdez to Whittier that will take you in to College Fjord that will take you right up to several glaciers.

And quite near Anchorage, there are two fairly easily accessed glaciers, one at Portage, AK and one you can see in the distance from Wasilla, AK (20 miles from Anchorage) called the Knik (pronounced Ka-nick).

You can barely turn around here without running in to a glacier.

Enjoy your trip!

Destination Expert
for Alaska
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2. Re: Where can I stay to see the best Glaciers?

I'll skip the locations to stay for now & hope others address that. HOW do you wish to see the glaciers? Experience them, as in walk or ski or hike on them?

To add to just seeing them and the amazing Ice Fields, be sure to book window seats on the right side of the aircraft flying from the lower 48 to Alaska and the left side upon departure (POSH for Alaskans, Port Outboard, Starboard Homebound). That puts you on the side of the aircraft with the St Elias Mountains - meaning you may have steady ice fields to view from just past Juneau to Anchorage.

On the flight to King Salmon on your way to Brooks Camp, take the right seats again southbound and our volcanoes and ice fields should also be visible.

On the road there is the drive up the valley to Portage glacier, and the hike to Portage glacier (as opposed to the boat trip, which you can better experience out of Whittier and Seward, two distinct trips in themselves.)

If you drive to Valdez then stop at the Worthington Glacier at the top of Thompson's Pass. If you drive to Fairbanks, take the Old Highway (Richardson Highway) going north to enjoy the glaciers, and consider hiking to the bases of Canwell or Castner glaciers, accessible between Upper and Lower Miller creeks. That is also right at the pipeline Earthquake area, so you can check that out at the same time.


Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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3. Re: Where can I stay to see the best Glaciers?

Hi there! Well, if you do a boat tour to see glaciers from Whittier, you can easily do that as a day trip from Anchorage. But if you want to do one from Seward, it would be best to drive there, and stay for a day or so. Here's a few helpful sites: http://www.seward.com/ and http://www.majormarine.com/ You can also hike to Exit glacier and visit the Sea Life center while there.

You can take the train to both Whittier and Seward, but it limits your explorating w/o a vehicle.

I think Fairbanks is worth visiting, but I like Fairbanks - some folks aren't impressed, but it depends what you want to see. It has a lot of history, an excellent museum at the University, the Riverboat discovery, etc. The terrain is different - more rolling hills w/the mtns in the distance. Really depends on what all you want to do while you are here. Fairbanks is only about 2 hr. drive North of Denali Park, so if you are in this area, it's an easy drive. Also, let me know if you want B&B recommendations for the Healy area - we have many lovely ones. Happy planning! :)