West Glacier Trail is a 5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Juneau, AK that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Explored this trail on 21 November 2016. There was a lot of ice, especially on the steeper faces but most had the cable guards to assist in climbing. We got a late start around 9:00 and headed back at 12:00 when we reached the last tall peak before the descent to the caves. It's worth a trip.
October 22, 2016. Hiked this with 2 workmates. We started late, 2:45pm, and with sunset at about 5:30, we kept an eye on our time. We stopped a few times for pictures, and at about the 2 mile mark, got to a great observation point. We took more pictures and decided to turn around to be sure to have daylight for some of the trickier stone steps. Delightful woods, creeks, bridges and of course the view of the Glacier and lake. We covered about 4 miles in 2 hours.
The hike is OK, the views also OK, but neither were what I hoped for. Frankly, the views of the glacier are far better from the visitors center on the east side, even with the crowds. We had much better scenery and more challenging hike elsewhere on our trip in AK.
Easy to follow trail with great views. Very neat to see the glacier from above and off to the side.
Impressive views! It was beautiful... The last mile was a bit harder, but totally worth it! We did this hike as a family with my 11 and 13 year old and took us 5 hours to go in and out.
Hard not to give this trail 5 stars, but compared to the many other trails I completed while in AK I have to make a distinction somewhere. But I feel like any 4 star trail in AK would be a 5 in most other states. I followed this trail all the way out to Mendenhall Glacier itself and explored the mouths of a few of the ice caves. To do that you have to do some scrambling over the bare rock the receding glacier has left in its wake. THAT means following cairns other hikers have erected and paying attention to landmarks in the distance because it would be very easy to get disoriented. In fact on the way out, my group saw another headed over a ridge and yelled to them. We led them out to the main trail and they tipped us! So...we bought donuts.
Great hike, outstanding view of the glacier. There was a point where we had to make a decision to go left or right toward ice cave. We went to the right and the trail was much more technical and not nearly as well marked.. we had to follow trail markers in the trees. It was off the line of the indicated Alltrails trail so it was confusing. It seems like the trail has been altered since the Alltrails trail line was drawn.
The hike wasn't bad, and you get a FANTASTIC view of the glacier. This was a wonderful experience while visiting Alaska. For a better view, many will kayak in the lake up to the glacier, which I'll definitely be doing if I'm back!
Awesome view of Mendenhall glacier.
One of my favorites! The trail is easy going and you can bike the first third if you want.
At the very end you can check out the glacial ice!
Just be aware, towards the end the trail splits- left up the mountain goes up West trail towards McGinnis, the downhill to the right leads to the glacier.