Skagway Helicopter Glacier Tours in Alaska - By: Canaille

Chances are that you have possibly ice-skated, but have you ever walked on a river or ice? Glaciers are often called "rivers of ice" because they are literally that – giant rivers of ice clinging to the sides of steep mountains, moving only inches a day. Walking on a glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime event – and one of the most popular Alaska shore excursions for cruisers.

For the most fantastic tour, schedule a Helicopter Glacier Tour in Skagway. You will be awed by the spectacular views, the cascading waterfalls, and the sheer mountains, and be left breathless and fulfilled by the sensation of adventure.

Lifting off from the Skagway waterfront, your exhilarating helicopter ride flies you through snow-filled wonders such as the jagged mountain peaks that tower over the Chilkat Glacier and the river of ice known as the Meade Glacier. Your knowledgeable pilot will point out famous landmarks on this Alaska shore excursion. You’ll spend equal time in the air and on the glaciers themselves. And then once you land on your destination, chosen carefully according to daily weather conditions, an experienced glacier expert guides you on your otherworldly walk across the ice, really and truly walking on the blue-white ice of a massive Alaska glacier.

You have landed in the middle of the glacier where the ice is up to 1000 feet thick. Step out onto ice thousands of years old. Experience the wonder and beauty that is Alaska in its turquoise glacial melt pools and stunning ice sculptures created by water, wind, and sun, vertical walls of ice, and immense crevasses. After the helicopter shuts down, you can explore with your pilot/guide who will make sure you are thrilled with your Skagway helicopter excursion.

You can literally hike the glacier—a sensation people have compared to walking on the moon—and learn more about how these icy marvels work. What an adventure to explore a glacier with its 10- foot to 40- foot crevasse. Be sure to taste the water, as pure and pristine as the day the glacier was formed. Your guide can help you scoop up a healthy handful of the best water you will have ever tasted. Make sure to look on the rocky crags, and see if you can spot mountain sheep or a bear.

From the helicopter, or from the glacial land you have discovered, take lots of pictures to show your friends back home. After about twenty minutes, you will re-board the helicopter, returning to the quaint town of Skagway.

On the tour, make sure to dress warmly. Dress in layers with a coat, and bring gloves and a hat. Oftentimes there may be glare from the ice, so sunglasses are recommended. Glacier over-boots are provided to fit over your shoes (though under no circumstances wear heels) and socks.

A few facts and definitions to help you become an expert on this Alaska shore excursion:

  • Glaciers are remnants from the last Ice Age when ice covered nearly 32 percent of the land and 30 percent of the oceans. The last glacial period, popularly known as the Ice Age, was the most recent glacial period within the current ice age occurring during the last years of the Pleistocene, from approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago.


  • Glaciers store about 75 percent of the world’s freshwater!


  • A "crevasse" is a crack on the surface of a glacier and can be more than 100-feet deep.


  • A "moulin" is a nearly vertical channel in ice that is formed by flowing water; usually found after a relatively flat section of glacier in a region of transverse crevasses; also called a pothole.


  • Glaciers can deposit rocks and other debris into large mounds known as "moraines."

Chances are that you have possibly ice-skated, but have you ever walked on a river or ice? Glaciers are often called "rivers of ice" because they are literally that – giant rivers of ice clinging to the sides of steep mountains, moving only inches a day.

Canaille is a travel agent who has traveled extensively for work and vacations For Alaska Shore Excursions travel information, visit her site www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com for to get more ideas on what to look for in Alaska Shore Excursions.