Experience the thrill of flying aboard a 6-passenger hovercraft to explore the upper-reaches of a glacier-carved fjord, and land near the face of the majestic Taku Glacier; the largest and only advancing glacier flowing from the Juneau Icefield.
The massive, 37-mile long Taku Glacier, winding down through the peaks of the Coast Mountains, is the largest of all glaciers that flow from the Juneau Icefield. It is, also, one of very few glaciers in the world that is advancing. Several miles of very shallow water and constantly-shifting sand bars prohibit approaching the face of the glacier by conventional boat. And the best way to explore this beautiful “no man’s land”, independent of tide or cloud cover, is to travel by hovercraft.
Your journey to Taku Glacier begins with an exciting cruise aboard a high-speed waterjet-powered catamaran. In route, you will see reminders of Juneau’s fascinating gold mining era, and meander along the base of a waterfall-framed cliff that is home to hundreds of nesting seabirds. Arriving at our expedition base camp – actually, a WWII-era ship that was built for the purpose of laying anti-submarine nets – you’ll be outfitted with rubber boots before meeting your hovercraft pilot and guide.
Hovercrafts are true amphibious vehicles, able to travel with ease over water, ice, sandbars and grasslands. They are designed to float above the terrain on a deep cushion of air, with forward thrust provided by an aft-facing propeller. The craft you’ll be flying in is a 6-passenger Explorer 24, developed by a Boeing engineer. It is a very safe and environmentally-friendly machine, capable of cruising at speeds up to 35-knots. The fully-enclosed main cabin is heated and offers excellent visibility for all guests.
Navigate a maze of sandbars to a landing site near the face of Taku Glacier. This is a place of constant change, as the glacier is slowly bulldozing its way across the valley. You will have time to explore and photograph this other-worldly environment on foot while enjoying spectacular views in every direction. Your guide will explain the fascinating story of the glacier’s current advance, and possible impact on the entire region, should the glacier push forward just one more mile to dam the mighty Taku River.
On the relaxing jet-cat cruise back to Juneau, you will be treated to a selection of snacks and beverages while watching for whales, sea lions, eagles and other species of wildlife that are attracted to the area by tremendous salmon runs and other abundant food sources.
Taku Glacier Hovercraft Adventure
- Port: Juneau
- Duration: 4.25 Hours (including 1.75-hr jetboat, 1.25-hr hovercraft, 30-min exploration afoot at glacier)
- Provided: Binoculars; a variety of snacks; coffee, tea, cocoa, and bottled water
- Accessibility: Participants must be able to negotiate inclined dock ramps and 3-4 steps to board and disembark vessels. Consult your cruise line shore excursion department before booking for details.
- The only way to experience the rare thrill of “flying” in a hovercraft; an amphibious vehicle that is able to travel with ease over water, ice, sandbars and grasslands.
- Venture afoot with your guide to get up-close and personal with the face of the majestic Taku Glacier; the largest and only advancing glacier flowing out of the Juneau Icefield.
- This exciting, small-group adventure is able to operate even on days with fog or low cloud cover – conditions that frequently prohibit glacier flightseeing tours from operating.
Dress warmly and bring a rainproof jacket to fully enjoy your time near the face of the glacier. The average weight of all guests in your party cannot exceed 240-pounds/person.
This tour is available to guests of all cruise ships that visit the port of Juneau.