Then you take a hike about a mile and a half to the glacier itself. The Glacier Discovery train leaves Anchorage each morning during the summer and heads south along the Turnagain Arm stopping in Girdwood and Portage before traveling through the tunnel to Whittier. Although a few glaciers are advancing, many are in re-treat, especially those situated at lower elevations. The glacier is a wild place, it was a hike to remember. Happy trails! I personally didn't think it was worth the 1.2 mile each way effort due to dodging a ton of animal scat and overgrown bushes but my husband disagrees- he thought it was a fine trail. /ˈärjo͞oəs/ adjective After a short but scenic train ride, arrive at Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop aboard the Alaska Railroad. There is a trail near the RR depot called the Glacier Discovery Trail- Basically it's an overgrown road that leads out to a shallow part of the gorge. Spencer Glacier is truly a wilderness, filled with the awe-inspiring power of nature. We hiked around and then met up with the. Once you reach the glacier you will be amazed. involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring.) Until next time!! Grab the train and a picnic lunch and spend 3 hours scouting around on very easy peasy trail and watching the icebergs. Spencer Glacier rises 3,500 feet in a stunning, natural ramp from a lake of royal-blue icebergs in the Chugach National Forest just 60 miles south of Anchorage. Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps. Once at the Spencer Bench cabin you will find a nearby stream water source and a new outhouse system that has you burning your used toilet paper in a bucket. It is a seasonal train, only operating between the months of May and September. On the hike you will learn about the flora, fauna and local history of this glacial valley. There are 2 group camp sites and 3 groups of established campsites along the trail. First you take the train back into the wilderness to the Spencer glacier whistle stop because there are no roads. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. The train ride was comfy and beautiful. You have just enough time to go get a meal to go during your 40 minute stop over in Whittier. It’s a bit of a chunk of change to do this hike. There is a 1.7 mile trail that extends from Spencer Lake to Spencer Glacier. The Spencer Bench trail is an arduous 3 mile switchback trail that climbs 1800 vertical feet and terminates at a foot bridge. Modern maps, charts, satellite $80 cabin, $135 train ticket. Had to use rocks on top of the pegs. Experience beautiful scenery, blue icebergs and a majestic glacier! The cabin sits at an elevation of 1,900’ at the end of the Spencer Bench Trail, climbing away from the lake revealing breathtaking views of the Placer River valley and Spencer Glacier below. It's an extraordinary sight, and definitely worth the trip. I would LOVE to do it again. Hope this helps some of you out! maintained. However, we were pretty satisfied with just hiking the moraines and had a blast. The Glacier Discovery is a passenger train operated by the Alaska Railroad between the towns of Anchorage, Whittier Alaska and south on the Seward rail line as far as Grandview whistle stop; then back again. Rome2rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. Have fun Hiking family! I classify it as a solid upper “moderate”. In fact, it is practically impossible to hike to the glacier and back in that amount of time. The Spencer Whistle Stop and Glacier are located just South of Portage Valley and the Turnagain Arm in the Kenai Mountains and the Chugach National Forest. After a safety briefing, you’ll load up and float across Spencer Lake, getting up close to icebergs and taking in panoramic views of Spencer Glacier. Upon completing the hike I think they aren’t listing it fairly. Discover the wilderness just beyond Anchorage with these unique and adventurous tours out of the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. Spencer Glacier rises 3,500 feet in a stunning, natural ramp from a lake of royal-blue icebergs in the Chugach National Forest just 60 miles south of Anchorage. Spencer Glacier is a () and has the latitude of 60.63333 and longitude of -148.90278. It is massive and truly gorgeous. The train then took us to a bus station just for the park; Whistle Stop and dropped us off near the glacier. Loved the walk. I had 10 minutes of hyperextending my throat muscles when they failed to produce my Kimber upon our return to Anchorage. Enjoy a float down Placer River, witnessing Spencer Glacier in all of its beauty. I am used to trails falling in the normal intermediate, moderate, difficult classification and had never had one be listed as arduous. Due to a fast flowing river, one is apparently not able to (easily) access the left side of the glacier. The third campsite (closest to the glacier) is where we camped. Enable JavaScript to see Google Maps. Spencer Glacier was our third glacier tour in two days, but it was anything but ho-hum. We stuck with the ranger because she had bear spray!! Be careful when pouring the kerosene in, it likes to dribble all over your arm which can really harsh your mellow when lighting poopy toilet paper fires. Do order ahead from the Wild Catch cafe for lunch. rafting crew and went down the river. You probably ended up here because you were looking to visit Spencer Glacier, but the tours to Spencer Glacier are, let’s face it, ludicrously expensive.There’s good news for you! Alaska is pure beauty at its finest. The railroad says you have to bring a kennel but fails to mention there will be a $20 kennel fee AND that your precious barely 1 year old puppy will be put into a cavernous empty loud cargo box car without heat for 4 hours each way. This trip to Spencer glacier is worth every penny. Portage Glacier. It's best to call for reservations: (800)544-0552 or 265-2494 in Anchorage. We saw bear scat and a few piles of odd bear berry vomit. To travel on the railroad between Portage and Spencer Glacier is just $64. Fresh bear droppings on the trail. Tour Overview. Spencer Lake Iceberg & Glacier Tour. THIS IS NOT YOUR MAMA’s TRAIL RUNNERS HIKE! The trail continues until it abruptly ends near the left lateral moraine of the glacier. Spencer Glacier from Mapcarta, the free map. Spencer Iceberg and Placer River Float Regardless of age or physical ability, you’ll get to experience picture-postcard Alaska with … Kids explore the waterline at Spencer Lake with a good view of Spencer Glacier and some of its icebergs on Saturday, June 11, 2016. McBride Glacier, the only tidewater glacier in the East Arm, is approximately 40 nautical … The hiking trails are wide and well. After a short 1 mile van ride your guide will outfit you in paddling gear and give a kayaking and safety briefing. If you want to bring your dog like I did there are some things you should know. The trail is compressed gravel and is in excellent condition. This ice-age setting is rugged and primeval—mile-high peaks, sheer headwalls towering over gravel outwash plains, astonishing waterfalls and braided rivers. When you have eliminated the JavaScript , whatever remains must be an empty page. more, Is this a place or activity you would suggest for, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Is this a place or activity you would go to on a. Spencer is spectacular, scintilating and special! Find all the transport options for your trip from Anchorage to Spencer Glacier right here. We went by Alaska RR and took the trail walk with a Park Ranger (checking out tracks of animals and following our guide who had the bear spray!) Online resources: This average hiker girl was nervous. This amazing tour suitable for all ages and abilities starts with an easy hike from the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop along the banks of the Placer River down to Spencer Lake. No technical shenanigans and a hecka gradual but never ending ascent. Both the second and third campsites have sand for the tent sites which initially look super great, but underneath is mostly rock and we had a tough time getting our tent pegs to stay in the ground. Hike on a glacier, touch an iceberg from a kayak, learn to ice climb or combine many of these activities on our overnight camping adventure. Day Tours from Anchorage or Girdwood Start your day in Anchorage or Girdwood and join one of glacier day tours to get off the beaten path on a small group adventure, led by friendly and knowledgeable guides. The second and third sites have 3 clusters of tent sites each (too close to each other, IMHO). Station Stops. (Other passengers rafted around the glacial lake and then downriver, and were picked up by the train on its return trip. Also, be prepared for a hiking trip that costs about the same as a 1 way ticket to Hawaii. View panoramic mountain & glacial landscapes on a 7-mile scenic river float down the pristine Placer River. Yes, it’s 49 switchbacks up up up, but apart from the shale rock trail sections that sometimes make it hard to discern where the trail actually is, it is very doable. Take a tour with a Forest Service interpreter around the foot of Spencer Lake and then float among the icebergs that have calved off of the great glacier while the guide steers an Alaskan Native canoe. Enjoy a float down Placer River, witnessing Spencer Glacier in all of its beauty. Get up close to picturesque icebergs at Spencer Glacier lake after your scenic train ride on the AK Railroad’s Glacier Discovery Train. The Glacier Discovery Project is a proposed linked three hut system along on the Glacier Discovery Trail in the Kenai Mountains. The most easily and frequently measured glacier-fluctuation parameter is the geographic position of the terminus. I loved the snowmobiles and I loved looking at that blue ice. Take the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop Train in Alaska. It is entirely off the road system, so we ride the scenic Alaska Railroad from Anchorage or Girdwood with breathtaking views of … The Glacier Discovery utilizes part of the Anchorage - Seward route. Otherwise no bears. (It did finally turn up after a lengthy train shakedown). Rome2rio makes travelling from Anchorage to Spencer Glacier easy. In the evening the same train offers this service in reverse, traveling from Whittier back to Anchorage. I saw people biking the trail and also bringing overnight gear in using Radio Flyer pull carts. Our trip to Spencer Glacier with Amy was awesome! This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. The area is open to overnight use by either staying at the Spencer Bench Cabin (5.4 mile hike), dispersal camping outside the Developed Recreation area, or in the group campground. Hikers can access the area, south of … We tried to hike as much as we can further around the lake toward the iceberg, but had to turn back halfway to catch the train. The first "dispersed" sites have enough sites for easily 5+ tents. Then you take a hike about a mile and a half to the glacier itself. Their clam chowder is marvelous. Or take a leisurely journey by raft down the Placer River toward Turnagain Arm. shrunk since 1890 is what more people need to see. and were shocked with the beauty of the glacier! No other campers joined us, so we were happy. Working in partnership with Chugach National Forest and the Alaska Railroad, we plan to build a 25 bed lodge overlooking Spencer Glacier, followed by … Leave your Altras at home. BEST thing ever! From the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, cabin users will hike 2.4 miles along the Spencer Glacier Trail around the north side of the lake to reach the signed trailhead for the Spencer Bench Trail. Glacier Bay. $20 kennel fee, $30 rail road parking lot fee. She is a skilled and knowledgable guide, and made certain we were properly "geared up" before we left. Spencer Whistle Stop Hop off the Train at the Spencer Whistle Stop! It's so beautiful you'd think it was fake. Chugach Adventures’ was the original guide service at Spencer Glacier pioneering the area since 2001. The second campsite was sheltered, but no glacier view so we moved on. She took us safely to a beautiful, incredible place. When the Begich-Boggs Visitors Center was originally built, it was right at the foot … First you take the train back into the wilderness to the Spencer glacier whistle stop because there are no roads. We took the train in and camped overnight. The trail leads to Spencer Lake for spectacular glacier viewing. We had a ranger conduct the tour but you could go out on your own as well. This ice-age setting is rugged and primeval—mile-high peaks, sheer headwalls towering over gravel outwash plains, astonishing waterfalls and braided rivers. Transfer from Girdwood to the Portage train station provided. used to produce those estimates. I wish I had thought of this.) (Just don’t miss your 4:30 train!) Also note that the ending climb shown on the route profile is … Our trip began with a short train ride from the station in Portage (which is not really a town anymore), but the Glacier Discovery train actually sets out from Anchorage. The trail is wide with crushed gravel and super easy to navigate. Looking at the history of the railroad construction and how much the glacier has. A smidge traumatizing! Spencer Glacier Iceberg Float Your experienced raft guides will meet you at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. It’s also home to one of the most spectacular and visible glaciers along the Railbelt: Spencer Glacier, a massive wall of ice cascading down the mountains to Spencer Lake. Our train arrived at the Spencer stop at 2pm, and the return train was at 4:30pm. *I stashed the empty gun case inside of the kennel in the bushes near the SB train “depot” while I was hiking. In hindsight, although expensive, we wished we had taken the inflatable boat to the side of the icebergs looks amazing! Spencer Glacier is a glacier in Alaska and has an elevation of 2234 feet. We followed the waterline and climbed up and hiked on the high dirt moraines (no trail, just using the least path of resistance) to the lake directly across from the Glacier. We had to meet at the railroad station since there are no roads to this glacier. Had a beautiful view of the glacier from the tent. If you wake up early enough and grab a snickers bar and/or a line of cocaine you can do some real off trail navigational exploring to the ice caves at Railroad Peak glacier. Even if you don’t make it back to the ice caves, just exploring past the end of the trail was like being in the opening scene of “The Sound of Music” and this time of year there were lots of low bush blueberries to snack on —yum! The most interesting aspect of the glacier was the ice boulders on the lake, both apparently a result of the receding of the glacier. If you want to bring a gun they require it be in a locked gun case and surrendered to them. It is plenty of time, however, to hike to the lake and enjoy the many floating icebergs with the glacier visible in the distance. The cabin uses kerosene, the first setting does a great job taking the edge off without cooking you out. Disembark at the Spencer Glacier Whistlestop, and gear up for an exploration of the iceberg-choked Spencer Lake and points beyond. There was a campfire ring in each of the 3 sections of the campsites and a stream for filtering water was a 2 minute walk away. Updated March 2020, Visit Spencer Glacier on the Whistle Stop Train was originally written in June 2017. This trip to Spencer glacier is worth every penny. Spencer Bench Cabin sleeps 6-8 … You'll be riding on the frozen lake and not on the actual glacier, which is not recommended. Spencer Glacier (United States) Map, Weather and Photos. ous The glacier was at. Enjoy a float down Placer River, witnessing Spencer Glacier in all of its beauty. Kayakers Josh Bastyr and Andrew Hooper ventured out on what they called a “peaceful glacier exploration” at Alaska’s Spencer Glacier. Mystery Pass to Longspur Falls via Berry Pass. The boat launch on Spencer Lake is a quick drive down a down former mining road. • Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Topographic MapNational Geographic's Trails Illustrated map of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska's panhandle is perfect for hiking, camping, boating, paddling, and wildlife viewing in this scenic, rugged frontier. The Spencer Bench Cabin is the newest public use cabin in the Chugach National Forest. First of all, this trail is only accessible by train, and the ticket is not cheap (even starting from Portage -- a stone's throw away or more precisely a 20 minute slow train ride -- the roundtrip ticket is more than $80 as of 2019). From here, choose your own route across to tour ice bergs frozen in the lake and the ice wall of Spencer Glacier. More importantly, the train schedule puts a tight time constraint on how far one can hike. the stop after Portage, and from here, we took a short guided walk to the glacier itself. 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