This is the most popular Skagway train tour. You can book your Summit Train tour at the M&M Tours Office located ashore, after exiting your cruise pier. Climb 2,888 feet from the tidewaters where your cruise ship docks to the magnificent summit of White Pass. This fully narrated tour travels through two tunnels, over sky-high train trestles, and passes multiple cascading waterfalls. You will even see the worn footpath along a steep mountain precipice, which was made by gold-seekers during the Klondike Gold Rush.
There is no better thrill ride in all of Alaska! Quench your need for speed in our coast guard approved ocean raft, as we conquer the waves of the deepest fjord in North America. Get up close and personal with towering waterfalls, and keep your eyes peeled for breaching whales, cruising porpoises, and other animals like sea lions and seals. Our shock-absorbing seats provide maximum comfort on the water, and you will be provided with your own fitted exposure suit to keep you warm and cozy in any weather.
We are capable of handling large groups, but please book well in advance. The minimum age is 10 years old. The maximum weight is 350 pounds. Pregnant women and persons with neck or back injuries are not allowed, due to the high activity level of this Skagway tour.
Tour Description: There are few things in life more exhilarating than feeling the breeze blowing through your hair as you zip around one of the largest fjords on the planet in a high-speed ocean raft. Your tour starts when you are picked up near your cruise ship by a smiling tour guide ready to make your experience truly marvelous. Your knowledgable tour guide will load you into the stylish Ocean Raft Company van and take you to their Survival Suit headquarters where you will be fitted with your own survival suit and provided with a brief safety lecture. Remember: safety always comes first. Once you're outfitted with your cool survival suit, you will load into your Ocean Raft, ready for adventure and excitement. Right from the start, you will go fast. The fun will almost overwhelm you but your survival suit will keep you warm and cozy. Your captain will stop occasionally because they want you to see some wildlife, waterfalls, and a few surprises. An onboard naturalist will explain what you are seeing, which is handy if you don't know much about local wildlife. Is that a seal or a sea lion? Your naturalist will tell you! Once your tour is over, you will head back to the Skagway small boat harbor, take off your survival suit, and begin cherishing memories of your trip. Undoubtedly, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Alaska's pristine wilderness, and you're probably going to enjoy a few laughs along the way.
Where does the Ocean Raft excursion go?
The obvious answer is that the Ocean Raft excursion goes in the ocean and while that statement is technically true, there is more to it than a simple obvious joke. The Ocean Raft excursion actually travels through the deepest and second-longest fjord in North America. While this fjord, mistakenly called the Upper Lynn Canal, is indeed part of the ocean, it is also its own body of water and part of the Inside Passage.
When you tour through the fjord on the Ocean Raft tour, you will see some amazing things and you might see some other amazing things. The things you are definitely going to see include a very high waterfall that makes for some interesting photos. The name of this waterfall is “High Falls” because that makes good sense.
There are many other geological features you are going to see on every single Ocean Raft shore excursion. This is because all of the mountains and glaciers and waterfalls within the fjord aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The things you may see on the Ocean Raft tour include wildlife, natural phenomena, and something one might call random surprises. Let’s break this down.
What kind of wildlife will I see on the Ocean Raft Tour?
People visiting Alaska want to see wildlife. There is no better place to see wildlife than in places where wildlife lives. There are many kinds of wild animals that live in the ocean, which is why the Ocean Raft shore tour is a good choice for anyone hoping to see wildlife.
We can break down wildlife into three subcategories - common, uncommon, and rare. Common varieties of wildlife are seen on just about every tour. Uncommon wildlife may be seen on some tours but not all, or seeing these animals may depend on the time of year. Rare species are seldom seen but you might just get lucky. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
Here is a breakdown of the animals you may see on the Ocean Raft excursion:
Common Wildlife - These are the animals you are likely going to see on just about every Ocean Raft tour, regardless of when you travel. Seagulls, crows, bald eagles, ducks, harbor seals, river otters, and humans. I stuck that last one in as a joke but humans do get a little wild sometimes!
On the Ocean Raft tour, harbor seals are frequently spotted entirely out of the water, laying on a rock or patch of seaweed. They are really cute and resemble marine sausage dogs. Sometimes there are multiple harbor seals hanging out together. Bald eagles are synonymous with America and they’re all over the place in Alaska. Some of the more common ducks you may see on the Ocean Raft include surf scoters, harlequin ducks, and mergansers. Keep your camera handy!
Uncommon Wildlife - These are animals you may see on the Ocean Raft tour. Some are more common than others at certain times of the year. Sea lions, humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, orcas, and mountain goats. I bet you didn’t expect that last one. Mountain goats aren’t seen swimming around the ocean but during the spring months, they commonly come down to the shoreline to lick salt off the rocks. Mountain goats love salt. The ocean is full of salt. It’s a match made in heaven.
Sea lions are spotted more frequently than any of these other animals and can be spotted randomly throughout the year. Keep an eye out for a large brown animal with a pointy nose. Humpback whales are unpredictable in the fjord. Some years, they can be spotted just about every day. During other seasons, they may be rarely spotted. Visitors enjoy seeing them because they are very big animals yet very gentle.
The rest of the animals on this list are far less common but also not rare. Guests on the Ocean Raft tour often see these animals and it’s possible you will too.
Rare Wildlife - These are animals you are probably not going to see but you should never give up hope. Harbor porpoises, minke whales, basking sharks, black bears, brown bears, Bigfoots. While bears are common in Alaska, they aren’t seen very often on the Ocean Raft tour. There have been some lucky tour groups that have seen them over the years, which proves that anything is possible.
The other marine mammals on this list sometimes wander into the fjord to frolic or feed on whatever it is they eat. Many people claim Bigfoots aren’t real but one passenger swore he saw a Bigfoot back in 2015, so who’s to say for sure? If you see a Bigfoot, get a photo and you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams.
What kind of boat is an Ocean Raft?
You are going to ride in the same boat used by the US Coast Guard and Navy Seals when they perform search and rescue operations. Even though it’s called an ocean raft, it’s actually a deep ‘V’ aluminum hull boat with an inflatable raft collar that helps keep it stable in rough waters. Fun fact: the ocean raft is the safest vessel of its kind. If it’s good enough for Navy Seals, it’s good enough for everyone! Those folks are tough as nails.
The ocean raft is equipped with three, count them, THREE 250-horsepower outboard engines. Now you’re playing with real power. You are going to go fast and you’re going to be safe while you do it. Amazing!
Comfort is important which is why the ocean raft is outfitted with custom-made shock-absorbing seats. You can go fast and bounce around in the ocean having all sorts of fun without having to worry about your sensitive backside.
Is the Ocean Raft Shore Excursion safe?
Many people that ask this question have no problem driving an automobile during rush hour in their hometown but it’s important to feel safe, so let’s talk about that. It’s a lot easier to have a few laughs on your ocean raft excursion if you know you’re perfectly safe.
First of all, as mentioned above the vessel is the safest of its kind. You are in the boat used by search and rescue. If your cruise ship sank and you had to be rescued, you would end up getting a free tour on an ocean raft but it would not be enjoyable in any way.
When you ride on the ocean raft, you are provided with all of the gear you need to be safe, comfortable, and stylish. You get to wear a very expensive exposure suit, goggles, and other stuff that keeps you warm and safe in the unlikely event of an accident.
Philosophically speaking, nothing is safe, but you’re far more likely to injure yourself in your own bathroom than on the ocean raft, so it’s best not to worry about these things.
What if I get seasick?
If you’re prone to motion sickness, there are medications you can take that will allow you to enjoy a tour like the Ocean Raft. We recommend taking that medicine and following the directions carefully. If you aren’t able to take the medicine, maybe a land tour is a better option. Or you can check with the excursion specialist when you get into port and find out about weather conditions.
Canoe nearby the magnificent Davidson Glacier, on the adventure of a lifetime. Your Skagway tour will start aboard one of our custom-designed vessels, as you explore North America's deepest fjord looking for whales, eagles, sea lions, and scores of other wildlife species. Next comes a beach landing at Glacier Point, where you will breathe the clean air of Alaska's pristine remote wilderness. Your 31-foot canoe will take you near the glacier and around some spectacular landscape, as your guide helps bring the natural history of the area to life.
A life jacket and boots are provided before your canoe ride. A jacket and camera are recommended. Meal or light snacks are provided depending on the time of day you take the tour. You must be in good physical condition to take this tour and be able to hike 1/4 mile over natural terrain. Guests must be between 50 and 350 pounds.
Get your thrills amidst the treetops as you thrill to Southest Alaska's most exciting zipline adventure. With 11 ziplines, four suspension bridges, and incredible drops over waterfalls and remote rainforest, this Skagway tour is for those with an unquenchable thirst for adrenaline. Your tour includes transportation to and from Skagway, and a Unimog ride to the top fo our custom-built zipline course that features a 750-foot long zip and a high-speed line that lets you achieve speeds up to 45 miles per hour - IF YOU DARE!
A brake system allows you to control your own speed on the zips. Round-trip transportation provided, and you must be between 50 and 265 lbs. Minimum age is 6 yrs. This Skagway tour is designed for persons in good physical condition. If you are burdened with existing injuries, seizure disorders, and/or current or re-occurring medical conditions, of if you are pregnant, you should not take this tour.
This Skagway Tour if for people who love horseback riding, and have a passion for the outdoors. Your ride will take place in Dyea, just a short ride from Skagway. Once outfitted with your horse companion, we will make our way as a group through lush temporate rainforest before reaching the vast scenic expanse of the Dyea tidal flats. In this area, wildlife abounds and we commonly see eagles, otters, migratory birds, and the occasional bear. During the peak of summer, salmon running upstream to spawn are so thick that they can be spotted everywhere along the creek that flows throughout the flats.
A snack of salmon pate' adn beverage is included. Round-trip transportation providedand all riders must weigh less than 250 lbs. and at least 4’10” tall. Any personal physical restrictions must be announced, for safety purposes, and it is recommended that you be in good physical condition. Riders of all skill levels can be accomodated.
This is the ultimate Alaskan adventure, suitable for all ages. This Skagway Tour includes a helicopter tour to the remote Denver Glacier, where you will be dropped off for your own dog mushing experience on real snow. Snow pack atop the glacier allows for summer-long adventures, where you get to experience the life of an Iditarod musher.
This tour includes approximately 25 minutes of flight time on the helicopter, and nearly an hour on the glacier at the mushing camp. Camera, jacket and sunglasses recommended. There will be an additional $100 (+ tax) fee for persons weighing over 250 pounds.
Tour Description: Your tour starts when you're picked up near your cruise ship dock (or downtown) by a friendly and uniformed Temsco employee who will drive you to their headquarters, less than a mile away. You will then be shown a safety video and outfitted with stylish safety boots and a sporty safety vest. You and your group will then be lined up on the helicopter pad and loaded into your own fancy helicopter. Once inside, you will buckle in and place state-of-the-art headphones on your ears. The headphones will allow you to hear and communicate with your skilled pilot. In total, you will spend about 25 minutes flying in the helicopter, so your flight to the dog camp may be around 15 minutes, give or take a few minutes depending on weather and a variety of other factors. Make no mistake, you will have a few laughs on the flight before you land on the glacier, where the dog camp is situated. After getting off your helicopter, you will have time to look at dogs and perhaps even see some adorable little Alaskan husky puppies. Rest assured, they are all good boys, yes they are. This is when the excitement really begins because you get on a sled and the huskies will pull you all over the snow-covered glacier. You will spend about 55 minutes on the glacier. It will be something you will never forget. When you're done with your sled ride, you will get to the choppa and fly back to the heliport. You will then have the option to be transported back to your ship or Downtown Skagway. Either way, you will undoubtedly start sharing your dog sledding on social media, making everyone you know back at home very jealous, especially if they're at work.
Port: Skagway, Alaska
Stand on a living glacier, and enjoy a helicopter tour featuring dozens more. This Skagway Tour includes a 40-minute helicopter tour where you will get up close and personal with ancient glaciers, towering waterfalls, and the bottomless depths of the deepest fjord in the world. You will spend another 40 minutes touring a living glacier on foot with an experienced guide who will show you features such as crevasses, moulins, and crystal-blue glacial pools.
Before your flight, you will be equipped with glacier boots and a safety vest, and then shown a short video designed to familiarize you with all necessary safety precautions. This tour is recommended for all ages. Persons over 250 pounds will be charged an additional $100 (+tax). Infants up to 23 months are free. Sunglasses, a camera, and a jacket are recommended.
Tour Description: Your tour starts by being picked up by a uniformed Temsco driver, next to the cruise ship dock or downtown (your ticket outlines your pickup location). When you arrive at Temsco, you will be outfitted with glacier boots and shown a brief safety video. You and your group will then be led to the helicopter landing pad and loaded into the chopper. Once you are safely buckled into your seat, you will put on a pair of high-tech headphones so you can easily communicate with your experienced pilot. You will spend 40 minutes in the air and 40 minutes on the glacier. Your flight will be customized to the day's weather and pilot preference. When you land on the glacier, you will be met by a glacier expert who will safely show you around the ancient ice, pointing out features such as crevasses, moulins, and seracs. Glaciers are literally alive and always in motion, so your experience will be unique. There will be ample time to take photos and have a few laughs with family and friends. Be sure to keep an eye out for ice worms!
Glacier Fun Facts: If you’re taking a Skagway helicopter excursion, you probably want to know a few things before you go. What exactly is a glacier? In short, it’s a massive chunk of ice formed by the accumulation of snow. As snow accumulates at higher elevations, it compresses into dense ice and begins to flow downhill. This means that glaciers only form when more snow falls than melts. In fact, it takes 100 feet of snow to create one foot of glacial ice. Wow.
During the last ice age which ended about 12,000 years ago, far more snow fell than melted every year. Glaciers became larger and larger. The glacier that covered Skagway was over a mile thick! That is a whole lot of ice.
Today, the planet is warming at a very high rate, especially during the last 75 years. Because of this, snow is melting faster than it can accumulate, which means glaciers are receding. The heavy, dense ice still flows downhill but the overall amount of ice declines every year. Still, the glaciers are so large that it will still take a long time for many of them to melt entirely.
There are 100,000 glaciers in Alaska. Only 10 of them are advancing. One is the Hubbard Glacier, about 90 miles west of Skagway. The Hubbard Glacier is also a tidewater glacier, which means it can be seen calving as it advances. Calving is when a tidewater glacier breaks apart and large chunks of ice fall into the water. People on Skagway excursions enjoy watching glaciers calve because it makes a loud noise and is very exciting.
Even though the glacier that covered Skagway has been gone for nearly 12,000 years, the effects of this massive piece of ice are still being felt. The ice covering Skagway was so heavy that it compressed the ground and bedrock underneath. Because of this, Skagway is rising between one and two inches every year. This process is called isostatic rebound.
When you consider the fact that the Klondike Gold Rush was around 124 years ago, this means that Skagway has risen about 17 feet since that time! Indeed, photos from the Gold Rush show that the high water line was near what is not the middle of town. Science sure is something!
What glacier does the Skagway helicopter excursion visit? Whenever you visit a place or geographical feature, it’s interesting to know what it’s called so you can tell people, “I took a Skagway helicopter excursion to the (name here) glacier.”
Most Skagway helicopter excursions land on the Meade Glacier, which is located only a few miles east of town. Why is it called the Meade Glacier? Nobody knows. Perhaps the person that named it after his beloved Meade Notebook from grade school. Maybe it was named after some guy named Billy Meade. Feel free to use your imagination.
What is known is that the Meade Glacier is very pretty and one of the largest glaciers on the Juneau Ice Field.
What is the Juneau Ice Field? It’s a field of ice, silly! But seriously, the Juneau Ice Field is a 1,500 square mile field of glacial ice from which many of the most famous glaciers extend. The Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is also a part of the Juneau Ice Field. This means that it extends all the way from Downtown Juneau to Skagway. That’s enough ice to keep a cooler full of beer cold for 100 billion years!
What makes the ice flow downhill? Even though the glacial ice is very dense and heavy, it is still water. What does water do? It flows downhill! This means that glaciers are always moving because the solid water is flowing downhill.
Why does the ice flow downhill? Gravity. Gravity is a natural force that makes things attract other things. The planet earth is big but the glacier is small by comparison, so the glacier flows toward the mass of the earth. This means that glacial ice is constantly being replenished. So, while a glacier can be 30,000 years old, ice still only takes around 250 years to flow from top to bottom.
Not all glaciers are from the same time period. While larger glaciers like the Meade Glacier and Hubbard Glacier are quite old, some glaciers were formed relatively recently, during an era called the Little Ice Age.
The Little Ice Age was not truly an “ice age” but it extended from around 1300 to 1850. However, experts agree that it was cold enough to make glaciers advance and for some to form. When you’re traveling through Southeast Alaska and see small glaciers at high elevations that look relatively small, it was likely formed during the Little Ice Age.
In Skagway, if you look southwest across the fjord, you will see a glacier on top of Mount Harding. This glacier is creatively named Harding Glacier. Both the mountain and the glacier are named after President Warren Harding, who knew nothing about glaciers but happened to visit Skagway. Since he is the only president to visit Skagway, he got some stuff named after him.
Anyway, the little glacier at the top of the mountain was formed during the Little Ice Age. Harding Glacier is quickly receding and will eventually dry up entirely if the climate keeps warming.
What kind of helicopter will I ride in? There are a lot of different kinds of helicopters. When you take a Skagway helicopter excursion, it’s normal to wonder what kind of helicopter you’re flying in.
The helicopters used by Temsco for their Skagway helicopter tours are A-Star Helicopters, which are also known as Airbus AS350s in other parts of the world. But you’re in Alaska, so it’s called an A-Star.
These helicopters (also called “choppers” by cool people) have a single-engine and three-blade primary rotor, whatever that means. They are very maneuverable and quick. A-Stars are also easy to start up and switch off, which is nice. Because they are one of the largest non-military helicopters, they are ideal for hauling a half dozen tourists to a glacier.
A-Star helicopters are one of the most popular commercial aircraft in the world. And you get to ride in one! They are routinely used by law enforcement, medical teams, and those nightly news traffic guys that fly around telling you about bad traffic and highway police chases. A-Stars are also very reliable at high altitudes, which is good when you’re flying over Alaska mountain ranges to land on large chunks of ice.
If you’re undecided whether to take a Skagway helicopter tour while in port, remember the immortalized words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 movie Predator when he said, “GET TO THE CHOPPA!”
You won’t regret it.
Marvel at Alaska's Crown Jewel, Glacier Bay, on this one-hour flight that features pristine wilderness, frequent wildlife spottings, and dozens of glaciers. The East Arm of Glacier Bay is known for its glaciation, and your pilot Paul will provide you with closeups of both land-based and tidewater glaciers on this incredible Skagway tour.
No weight restrictions on this tour. Infants up to two years old are free. Sunglasses and camera recommended. Paul can accommodate groups and families of up to eight people on one flight. Landings are also available for an additional $75 per person, so if you are interested please inquire about this option.
Tour Description: You will meet your pilot, Paul, at the Skagway International Airport. Paul will assist you as you step into his custom DeHavilland Beaver for your flight over Glacier Bay. Once inside the airplane, you will buckle up and put on a pair of noise-canceling headphones so that you can hear and talk to your friendly pilot. This is a good thing because Paul will share a number of humorous stories guaranteed to provide you and your party with a few laughs. Every flight over Glacier Bay is unique as glaciers are living bodies of ice and always in constant motion. It's not uncommon to see wildlife and Paul will safely ensure you get a good look when possible. If you're lucky enough to enjoy a landing, you will have an opportunity to get out of the Beaver and explore for a while, taking pictures and enjoying the remote beauty of Alaska's pristine wilderness. When your flight is over, you will land safely back at the airport with a big smile on your face.
What exactly is flightseeing?
Flightseeing is another way of saying that a person is getting on an airplane to fly over some interesting stuff so that passengers can see it. There are a number of reasons why a person might go on a flight. It might be to visit family during Christmas or for a vacation. Soldiers fly in airplanes during combat missions and businessmen fly in airplanes to make money.
When you travel to Alaska, you should go on a flight to look at the fantastic scenery. Sure, everything is very pretty while you’re standing on the ground but when you see mountains and glaciers from an airplane it will blow your mind right out of your skull. It’s that pretty. You will also quickly learn that you are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains, ice, and the ocean.
What kind of airplane is used on the tour?
The airplane is called a DeHavilland Beaver. The DeHavilland Beaver is the most famous bush plane in all of Alaska because it’s safe, reliable, and perfect for flightseeing. Pilot Paul’s Beaver is fully customized for flightseeing. It is very comfortable and comes equipped with headphones for every passenger. This allows Paul and his passengers to talk and tell stories and laugh at funny jokes.
Is the Glacier Bay flightseeing tour safe?
Paul has been giving flightseeing tours for decades. He’s conducted thousands of flights. These facts alone show that flightseeing with Mountain Flying Service is safe.
Consider this: Most people traveling to Alaska live in or near a metropolitan area. They drive on the Interstate and local roads for hours every day. When you consider how many people are in accidents every day, the logical conclusion would be to say it’s not safe. But everyone keeps driving anyway.
Flying in Alaska is no different. Skagway residents often have to fly to Juneau in a tiny airplane. Some locals call these airplanes “puddle jumpers” because Skagway people have a good sense of humor. So, you see, flying in small airplanes is a part of everyday life in Alaska, just like driving in traffic is an everyday part of life in the Lower 48.
What can you tell me about Glacier Bay?
Some people call Glacier Bay the Crown Jewel of Alaska. That’s because its unspoiled beauty is arguably the most striking and beautiful in the entire state of Alaska. And that’s saying something!
Glacier Bay is 3.3 million acres of rugged Alaskan beauty. As you fly over Glacier Bay, you will see endless mountains, countless glaciers, deep fjords, and pristine coastlines. Mush of Glacier Bay is a temperate rainforest filled with all sorts of animals that have thrived there for a very long time.
Glacier Bay is also part of a 25-million-acre World Heritage Site that includes Kluane Provincial Park, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Tatshenshini-Alsek. This is one of the World’s largest international protected areas and it’s larger than the state of New Jersey! It smells a lot better too.
Glacier Bay is commonly divided into two sections, the East Arm and the West Arm. When you look at these two arms, it looks like there are actually two bays. However, when Glacier Bay was named, the southern end was nothing more than a massive tidewater glacier. Then it melted into what you see today.
Some of the largest mountains in North America are found in the West Arm of Glacier Bay. On any Glacier Bay flightseeing tour, guests get to see tidewater glaciers, which are glaciers that end in the water.
Sometimes unusual formations appear on glaciers, like glacial arches, but glaciers are always moving so these features don’t last long. You could travel to Alaska every year and actually see the glaciers change. That is simply amazing.
Do people see wildlife on the Glacier Bay flightseeing tour?
Absolutely. But remember that it’s not a wildlife tour. The goal is to see the beauty and majesty of Glacier Bay, so seeing wildlife is an added bonus. What kind of animals might you see on your Glacier Bay flightseeing excursion?
Mountain Goats - When you fly over mountains in Alaska, there’s always a chance to mountain goats. Makes sense.
Moose - As you fly over muskeg and meadows surrounded by trees, look for moose. This is the kind of terrain moose like because it’s where they eat and find mates.
Bears - It’s possible to see a black or brown bear just about anywhere, even on a glacier. There is a variety of bear sometimes spotted in Glacier Bay called a glacier bear. These are actually black bears that have a gray or blonde color morph. They are very rare. If you see a glacier bear, you are very lucky and should tell all of your friends about it.
Where does the airplane land?
Paul offers landings for an affordable additional fee. There are a number of places to land, depending on the time of year.
During the spring, it’s often possible to land right on top of a glacier. Paul’s Beaver can be outfitted with skis, which allows him to plop that puppy down right on the snow-covered glacier. It’s like something out of an IMAX movie.
During the summer and fall months, guests can land on the beach. This is especially exciting on flights to the Pacific Coast near Yakutat where the Glacier Bay plateau descends to the mighty ocean.
Paul arranges custom flights to this area with fishermen who like to have the best Alaskan fishing experience possible. He lands his Beaver right next to the Alsek River so that anglers can catch king salmon in the summer and coho salmon in the fall.
Flightseeing guests who want to experience something truly unique and off the beaten path should consider a flight over Glacier Bay that includes a landing. Everyone on the cruise ship will be jealous.
How many glaciers are there in Glacier Bay?
There are more than 1,000 glaciers in Glacier Bay. That’s a whole lot of ice. Margaritas anyone? When you take a Glacier Bay flightseeing excursion, you have a chance to see some of Glacier Bay’s more famous glaciers. Let’s talk about a few of them.
Johns Hopkins Glacier - This glacier is very big. In fact, it is about one mile wide and 200 feet deep where it meets the water. This is also the only advancing tidewater glacier in Glacier Bay. This is one of those glaciers that looks like it’s covered in something gray or black. That is debris, actually rock, carved from the mountain as the glacier flows downhill. Crazy!
Every year, this glacier flows downhill at a rate of about 3,000 feet. That’s almost 8 feet per day!
Grand Pacific Glacier - This glacier is prominent when you fly to the Alsek River and land on the beach. The glacier is more than a mile wide at the terminus. There is a large amount of rock and debris on this glacier which makes parts of it look “dirty,” as people sometimes say.
Margerie Glacier - This is arguably the most famous glacier in Glacier Bay because cruise ships travel up the East Arm so that passengers can get a close look at it. It’s even more impressive from a Skagway flightseeing excursion.
The Marjorie Glacier is about 200 feet high at its terminus. As big chunks of ice fall into the ocean, it makes a tremendous sound. This is called calving for some reason. The glacier is also 100 feet below the water, which makes it 300 feet total. That’s a big piece of ice for sure.
Muir Glacier - This glacier used to be the most famous glacier in the National Park. It was a beautiful tidewater glacier named after the famous naturalist. But it is fully grounded now and no longer a tidewater glacier. The retreat of the glacier began in 1899 and the calving rates were extreme.
If you’re ready to book a Skagway flightseeing excursion, you will learn a lot more about glaciers. Better yet, you will get to see them with your own eyes before they all recede just like the Muir Glacier.
Mendenhall Glacier Discovery - 30 minutes of heli time (15 mins each way), 20-25 minutes on glacier with guides $319.00
Pilot’s Choice Tour - 50 minutes of heli time, 2 landings, 15 minutes at each landing (pilot is guide) $469.00
Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier - 30 minutes heli time (15 mins each way), 1 hour at camp which includes 20-25 mins of mushing $549.00
Enjoy driving an ATV under the backdrop of a pristine Southeast Alaska Glacier. This tour includes a boat ride and beach landing to Glacier Point from Skagway. You will then be outfitted with either a 2-person or 4-person ATV and thrill to an adventurous ride around our custom track. This tour features excitement, incredible views, and a great chance to see wildlife.
Enjoy Juneau's most popular tour, and get up close and personal with Alaska's most famous ocean residents. On these tours you are guarateed to see whales or you get your money back. Other commonly seen ocean wildlife includes sea lions, porpoises, seals, and otters; but make no mistake, the stars of the show are the humpback whales and orcas that live and breed in these icy waters. This is Juneau's "Do Not Miss" tour. Inquire about combining this tour with tours in Skagway and Ketchikan for additional savings.
Tour is three hours, two of which are on the boat. Camera and jacket (warm layers) recommended. Cabins are heated, and a light snack is provided. Humpback whales are most commonly sighted, but we see many other animals on occasion, such as black bear and bald eagles. Sometimes, customers are thrilled to see humpbacks breach (jump from the water) or bubble feed. Indeed, every day is an adventure.
Port: Skagway & Juneau
Skagway: 8 to 10 stops on a shuttle bus to the border of the Yukon Territory. Great chance at wildlife combined with one of the most scenic highways in the World. This is a drive that you will never forget.
Juneau: Garunteed Whale sightings or your $ back. Juneau is the "whale capital" of Southeast Alaska. It is a must do while docked in Juneau.
This self guided tour offers you the flexibility to see everything this area has to offer. With an audio tour guide and lunch provided you can go at your own pace in your own Jeep Rubicon. $300 per Jeep for the day with a return no later than 6pm.
An Alaskan combo delight. A high speed ocean raft combined with an 11 zip zipline. Both will be 2 of the highlights of your trip. The Ocean Raft will get your heart pumping while traveling just under 30mph with you dressed in a warm full body float coat with Oakley goggles and gloves. A boat ride that you will never forget. Grizzly Falls Zipline will complete your active day. 11 Zips will take you over some of the most beautiful scenery this area has to offer. A Unimog Truck will take you and others high above the Dyea valley to take all 11 zips back down the mountain. 2 great choices for the "active" cruiser.
Hike the famous Chilkoot Trail, and then enjoy a calm raft float down the Taiya River in Dyea on this popular Skagway tour. Your tour starts with a nearly 2-mile hike where men took the first steps toward hopeful fortunes during the Klondike Gold Rush. Your guide will bring this storied history to life as you make your way through lush temperate rainforest en route to our raft put in. From our comfortable rafts, you will then wind your way downriver through dense stands of spruce and alder teeming with wildlife such as bears, otters, and seals. You will then enjoy a homemade snack and beverage before heading back to Skagway.
Rain gear is provided (if necessary), but if you have your own it is always a good idea to bring it. A camera, binoculars, sunglasses, and sturdy footwear like hiking boots are recommended.
Tour Description: Some people like hiking. Some people like floating. Smart people like both! Your tour starts when you're picked up near the cruise dock or downtown by your sporty tour guide. They will take you on a magnificent coastal drive along the famed Dyea Road, around Nahku Bay, and into the mysterious land of Dyea. During the drive, be on the lookout for wildlife including sea lions, eagles, harbor seals, mountain goats, and seagulls. After your approximately 25-minute drive, you will arrive at the famous Chilkoot Trail. After unloading from the tour van, your guide will lead you on a journey following the footsteps of Klondike Gold Rush stampeders as you traverse the first 1.8 miles of the historic Chilkoot Trail. They call this part of the trail Saintly Hill, which means there is some uphill hiking, so you should be aware of that. After the hike is done, you will load into a raft filled with air, ready to enjoy a few laughs with your fellow travelers. Your guide will use oars to maneuver your raft down the Taiya River as the current gently pushes you along. Always be on the lookout for animals like river otters, ducks, and local humans in their natural habitat. Depending on the speed of the river, the floating part of the tour should take around 40 minutes. When you're done, your guide will set up a table of tasty snacks and beverages as you and your party share stories of the hike and float that you just enjoyed. After your snack, your guide will drive you back to town or your cruise ship and that is the official end of your hike and float tour.
What is the Chilkoot Trail?
The Chilkoot Trail is thousands of years old. It was a trade route between coastal Tlingit Natives and the inland Tagish and First Nations Native Peoples. The trade route was used to supply First Nations peoples with things like euchalon oil, which was used to light lamps and for other various purposes. They also traded fish like salmon and halibut.
First Nations and Tagish people traded fur pelts like beaver and other items you would find in that region but was hard to get along the coast. Marriages were also arranged between coastal and interior clans.
During the Klondike Gold Rush, colonial settlers used the trail to access the Klondike region, where gold was found. A Native man called Skookum Jim led a couple of European men over the Chilkoot Trail. Skookum Jim also was the first to find gold after having a dream about a frog, his spirit animal, telling him where to find his treasure.
Tens of thousands of stampeders (see: non-native colonialists) used the Chilkoot Trail until the White Pass & Yukon Route train was completed in 1989. By then, the Klondike Gold Rush was essentially over. Today, the trail is an important historic landmark managed by the United States government (see: non-native colonialists). You can hike the Chilkoot Trail but you first have to get permission from the United States government.
Or you can go on the Hike and Float Tour and skip all of that.
What will we see on the hike?
As with many other Skagway excursions, there are things you’re going to see and things you might see. For example, you’re going to see some beautiful scenery and interesting plant life. You might see an otter or a bald eagle.
During your hike, your guide will tell you all about the flora and fauna you encounter. They are knowledgeable guides because they know all about plant and animal life. At certain times of the year, you may encounter berries, mushrooms, or wildflowers. Knowing what they are called and whether you can eat them will enrich your life.
During the rafting part of the excursion, you will see the river as it opens toward the ocean. This is a beautiful and dramatic sight that makes people say “wow” and take a lot of photos. All sorts of birds are always hanging out along the river. They find food there. Common birds include woodpeckers, bald eagles, northern harrier, swallows, seagulls, and ducks. Sometimes there are many different kinds of ducks along the shore. If you like ducks, you’re in business.
Is it a whitewater rafting trip?
No. The Taiya River is a relatively calm river. In the spring, water flows are strong but you’re still just floating along without the raft jerking around and going “swoosh.” You can pull out your camera without worrying about ruining it. You could even eat a sandwich if you decided to bring one along.
Your guide has a couple of oars and they’re used to keep the raft moving along without hitting anything or tipping over. The raft is made of rubber and filled with air so that it floats even with a half dozen passengers and a guide with oars.
What does “float” mean?
Surprisingly, this is a common question. Floating is when you are on the surface of the water but don’t sink. When you go below the water it’s called sinking. A float tour is when you get on something that floats so you don’t sink to the bottom. Float tours are popular. Sinking tours are not. Unless you count scuba diving tours.
Will we see any wildlife?
Yes. What you see depends on a variety of factors. At certain times of the year, certain animals like to hang out. Then they leave or decide to stay.
These animals are common and may be seen throughout the year:
River otters - These guys hang out by the water, even if it’s not a river. As you’re floating along, you may see an otter in the river or eating something on the riverbank.
Bald eagles - In Alaska, bald eagles are everywhere. They fly along the river looking for food and places where crows won’t harass them.
Blue herons - These are tall blue birds that like to hang out in shallow water looking for minnows to eat.
Harlequin ducks - Many people say these are the most beautiful of all ducks. Harlequin ducks undoubtedly agree.
Gulls - There are gulls just about everywhere but remember that these are Alaskan gulls.
These are animals you might see:
Bears - Sometimes black and/or brown bears are spotted on the tour. Bears are more commonly spotted in the late summer months when salmon are spawning.
Swallows - These fast birds are common during the spring and summer. After they’re done raising their young, they run along on their merry way.
Lynx - There was a lynx hanging out along the road to Dyea last year. Sometimes people see it as it crosses the road or chases a rabbit.
Beaver - While seeing a beaver is relatively rare, they are sometimes seen. Look for trees that have been chewed in half by beavers.
Will we get wet?
Only if it rains or you jump in the river. It is not recommended to jump in the river. If it rains, you can wear a raincoat and stay dry. Also, you might sweat if it’s hot and that could get you wet. The bottom line is that you won’t get wet from splashing on the raft because it’s a very calm float.
What is that mountain that looks like a face?
As you float down the Taiya River, you will likely notice a mountain that looks like the profile of a woman in repose. The name of that mountain is Parson’s Peak but that name is modern (see: Colonialist Europeans).
Skagway residents call it “Face Mountain.” However, the original Tlingit name for the area may have been named after this “woman in the rock.” Many of the place names around Skagway have been lost with time because the Tlingit language was almost irradicated.
Join the Skagway Hike & Float Excursion
Many years ago there was a hiking tour and there was a floating tour. Then one day a very smart tour guide said, “Egad man, I’ve got it!” That man decided to combine the hiking tour and the floating tour and created what we call the Skagway Hilke & Float excursion.
COMING IN 2023! - This tour offers the best of both worlds - You and your family can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the White Pass & Yukon Route train ride, and a breathtaking kayak excursion through some of the most spectacular scenery you'll see on your entire cruise. The fully narrated train ride will immerse you in the stunning landscape of Skagway and The White Pass, taking you all the way to Fraser, British Columbia, where you will get equipped for your kayak trip. You will then kayak in Fraser Lake, a glacially-carved masterpiece framed by towering mountains and roaming wildlife. You will then return to Skagway along the famed Klondike Highway, voted one of the top 5 most scenic highways in the world.
Passport is required. Some nationalities will need VISAs to enter Canada. You may take the train to or from Fraser, depending on the time of day you enjoy the tour. A light snack is provided. A jacket is highly recommended as temperatures on the lake can be colder than in Skagway.