Go packrafting at Kennicott Glacial Lake and weave around the floating iceberg all the way to the face of the glacier.

Kayaking Columbia Glacier Prince William Sound Alaska

Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is by far the largest national park in the United States. It offers much of the quintessential Alaskan backcountry adventure opportunities that people associate with Alaska. One of the many outdoor adventure activities visitors can enjoy in the park is going kayaking amongst icebergs in the Kennicott Glacier Lake.

The gateway town of McCarthy is known as the “Packrafting Capital of the World.” It is one of the few places where visitors can enjoy leisurely kayaking around floating glaciers. At Kennicott Glacier Lake, it is a leisurely excursion that almost anyone can enjoy. These tours get all the way up to the face of the terminus of the Kennicott Glacier (and even some go into it).


What To Know Of The Accessible Kennicott Glacier

The Kennicott Glacier is a stunning 27-mile-long glacier that grinds its way down from Mount Blackburn and reaches its terminus at the head of the Kennicott river. It is close to the small Alaskan town of McCarthy as well as the ghost town of Kennecott.

The ghost town, Kennecott, is an abandoned mining camp beside the Kennicott Glacier. Guided tours are offered of the ghost town.

  • Adjacent Attraction: Kennecott Ghost Town

The glacier was named in 1899 and is one of some 3,120 glaciers in the encompassing Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The Kennicott Glacier is one of the most visible and visible of the many large glaciers in Alaska (mostly because it is fortunately close to a road – unlike most glaciers in the state).

As with many other glaciers, it is in retreat with climate change.

The lake at the end of the terminus of the Kennecott glacier is full of icebergs. It is one of the world’s most popular and accessible places for packrafting and doesn’t require people with any particular experience or fitness.

Related: Forget Norway, Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park Has Even More Beautiful Fjords

Kennicott Glacial Lake Half-Day Kayak Tour

One of the best activities to enjoy in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is to take an inflatable kayak tour of Kennicott Glacier’s lake. This is the only tour that’s considered ‘relaxed’ that’s offered by McCarthy River Tours. Visitors get to leisurely paddle their inflatable kayaks through the icebergs and around the ice-lined channels at the terminal end of the Kennicott Glacier.

The tour offers spectacular views of the Kennicott Valley. Visitors get to walk along the glacier’s rocky surface, listen to the quiet cracking and tumbling of the glaciers, and potentially even spot an Alaskan bear or other wildlife.

The tour is led by an expert guide who provides both an interpretive tour and expert paddling instructions for newbies.

  • Difficulty Level: Relaxed:
  • Season: June 6 to August 31st:
  • Times: 7 am, 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, & 2 pm
  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Age Restriction: 8+

The tour is only available in summer – so the season has ended, and one should be planning for the next season already.

The tour includes a drysuit, helmet, river shoes, and an expert guide.

Cost (Guide Ratio/person):

  • 1:1/$420
  • 2:1/$225
  • 3:1/$165
  • 4+:1/$125

Enjoy the breathtaking experience of paddling among icebergs and getting up close and personal with the glacier’s face.

Related: Love Kayaking? Then Channel Islands National Park Is The Perfect Place For You

Consider An Alternative Glacier Lake Packraft Tour

McCarthy River Tours is not the only tour provider to offer park rafting tours on the Kennecott Glacier Lake. Another option is Kennecott Wilderness Guides; they offer a similar packrafting experience on the lake.

Circle icebergs and explore the glacier’s edge in one’s ultralight personal packraft.

  • Duration: 4-5 hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy- Medium
  • When: 10.00 am

The tour is well suited to individuals looking for a little adventure that combines paddling one’s personal craft among icebergs and a uniquely Alaskan location.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Is The Holy Grail Of Wilderness Rafting

Kennecott Wilderness Guides and McCarthy River Tours offer many more kayaking tours on glacial lakes, cascading Alaskan rivers, and even remote fly-in locations in the Alaskan wilderness.

They offer half-day and day tours, but also multiple-day tours in the Alaskan wilderness adventures. Experience the thrill of camping out in the Alaskan wilderness while rafting one’s way down the wild rivers in the backcountry.

Multi-day white water rafting trips are one of the best ways to be immersed in the untouched Alaskan wilderness and explore some of the most untamed land left in North America. Discover why Alaska remains America’s final frontier (until they get into space).


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