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West Glacier Trail is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Juneau, Alaska that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 4.0 mi Elevation gain 567 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Muddy

Rocky

Snow

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (187)
Photos (130)
Recordings (179)
Completed (416)
Alyssa Helland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 16 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

This trail was so much fun!!! Of course it depends on how close to the glacier you want to go. If you’re like me and want to get up close and personal with the glacier you’re going to have to do a bit of rock scramble/off trail trekking but it is so worth it!!!

Amy Hamrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jun 11 2020
Hiking

Good hike with no bear sign although we were prepared with a bell and spray in case. It's about an hour up to the main outcropping after some rock steps. If you want a spectacular view of the glacier continue another 30 minutes following the pink flagging tape trail. Thank you to the person who put all of that out there!!! There are lots of rocks (yes, there is a large erratic you need a rope to pull yourself up and repel down) and downed trees as obstacles but not as bad on the way back.

Jake J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 11 2020
Hiking

Great hike and easy enough on the knees that the semi-active can get up there to where it breaks off to go to Mt. McGinnis. There is a bit of a rock slide that happened over the winter that's near the end of this hike that might give ya some trouble, but overall easy peasy. ENJOY! Conditions - May.11.2020 - Warm, dry overall, no mosquito's (until the top), hiking / trail shoes are recommended. Traffic was low so I would recommend bear mace / music / noise maker of some sort.

Emma Hansen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Nov 29 2019
HikingIcy

Nice trail. First 1.25 miles were really easy. Last 0.75 were pretty steep and icy at this time of year (late November).

View Emma's Recording
Celina Sonnie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 26 2019
HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Spectacular views of Mendenhall glacier and glaciers beyond. Be aware if porcupines! Very steep and rock in places.

View Celina's Recording
Ling C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 23 2019
HikingFloodedMuddyOff trailOver grownRockyScramble

Hiked the W Glacier Trail on Sept 23 starting at about 10. Cloudy with light to moderate rain. It has been a dry summer, but rain started past couple weeks. Dangerous hike due to slippery rocks. About 2/3 way in will come to ropes hanging from rock face. W Glacier Trail continues forward. I believe the ropes leading up to the left are for a different trail. There have been recent landslides & the trail from this point has been re-routed so follow the orange, red, yellow & blue ribbons. Trail from here is rocky & very slippery due to rain. Further up the trail there is a swollen stream with a couple 2x4s as a bridge. The fast moving stream was about a foot below the 2x4s & growing. I stopped at the hill overlooking the glacier (awesome view!) 2 hrs from trail head. It would have been perhaps another 15-30 minutes downhill to the glacier. A hiking pole comes in real handy. As others has posted best not to hike alone especially in wet conditions. It took another 2 hrs to get back to the trailhead.

Melissa McCormick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 09 2019
Hiking

Great trail, a bit wet in areas. Have good shoes and don’t hike alone. It was a fairly mild hike until you get to the rock climb near the end. It is about 4 miles round trip. The views of the glacier are incredible. It is receding so quickly that this is a must see before it is gone.

Jessie Hazen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Sep 02 2019
HikingMuddyOver grownRocky
View Jessie's Recording
Richelle M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 01 2019
Hiking

Beautiful ! As previously messaged, all trails does not have the correct distance listed .

Jess ica
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 25 2019
HikingMuddyScramble

Take the West Glacier Trail to the West Glacier Spur Trail which is a split to the right shortly before it becomes the Mt. McGinnis Trail. Trail is slightly hidden, stay straight whereas Mt. McGinnis trail curves left as a switchback; look for pink and yellow ribbons throughout-- lifesavers! For two amazing viewpoints, go 10min on the Mt. McGinnis trail and then double back. DO NOT take the first available split to the right called Ice Cave Trail. Unnecessarily difficult rock climb with less reward. AllTrails is not correct with total milage if trying to reach the glacier as trail on map ends at viewpoint. 4hrs total roundtrip if just hiking but it'll be hard to leave the glacier once in its glory! Keep curving to the left if facing the glacier and go around the water to find where glacier meets rockface-- this is where ice caves are. Very slippery and larger rocks cannot be depended upon for stability or balance. Be safe and have fun!

Charlotte Ellis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 18 2019
Hiking

Hiked another mile or or so additional up to a spectacular view around the mountain of large section of the glacier that is not seen from the lake. Had to clim up some rocks and slide down on the way back. Suggest taking survey tape to mark the way on the rocks bc I certainly got lost and there wasn’t that much. Total it was about 5 hrs 20 min and about a 6 mile round trip. SO worth it!!! My recorder was not on for 1.5 hours so the recording is not representative of the time or the mileage.

View Charlotte 's Recording
Veronica Sparks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 08 2019
Hiking

Another nice hike to the glacier!

Emily Gallagher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 03 2019
HikingRockyScramble
Karly Brooks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 31 2019
HikingOff trailRocky
View Karly's Recording
Oliver Stohlmann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 20 2019
Hiking

We did this during our cruise stop at Juneau. Took the public bus from the bus terminal to the Mendenhall camp site (NOT the visitor center!). From there it's a round a mile walking to the trail head. The initial part is easy, you do get into back country forest but there's plenty of people walking this part of the trail to not have to worry about bears. Where the trail splits, we took the southern path leading to the bottom of the glacier. It leads over some steep rocks (potentially slippery in wet weather) and then ends in a very steep climb up to the top of those rocks to get the glacier view. That last part is daunting (and we are keen, experienced walkers and climbers), especially as you're climbing up knowing full well that you will have to make it down again later ... However, the views up there are stunning and reward for the angst. Having said that, this climb will not be easily manageable for people with special needs, small children or the elderly. We've not gone the northern path, so not sure that would make a better alternative. One thing we did notice is that quite a number of hikers wore wellington boots or sneakers. I would definitely recommend to wear proper hiking footwear on this trail. It might keep you healthy and alive.

Scott Nichols
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 01 2019
HikingOver grownRockyScramble

This was easily a top 3 favorite hike of mine. The trail starts off easy and progressively gets more technical and harder to follow the closer you get to the glacier. I would not recommend for the novice hiker without a guide, but if you are good at following a trail and paying attention to markers you won't have any trouble. Be sure to bring water and necessities to hold you over for a while just in case you get lost or it takes you longer than anticipated. You will have decent cell service with certain carriers ( I have AT&T) and could have made a call if needed about 80% of the time. We took about 4 hours to complete, but we had a snack by the glacier and stopped a few times to enjoy the sites and take in the fresh air.

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