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Iceberg & Glacier Kayak, Hike and Grandview Train Ride

In partnership with Alaska Railroad, Ascending Path offers Guided Iceberg Kayaking on the Spencer lake. This is an amazing Glacier location to experience and learn about blue ice, up close and personal, on this 1/2 day kayaking excursion! Operating under 10 year permit with the Chugach National Forest.

The Spencer Glacier is located just South of Portage Valley and the Turnagain Arm in the Kenai Mountains and the Chugach National Forest. It is entirely off the road system, so we ride a train from Anchorage or Girdwood with breathtaking views of glaciers and towering alpine peaks.

Clients ride the scenic Coastal Classic train along the Turnagain Arm to the Spencer Whistle Stop. Then at Spencer they disembark the train to experience the wilderness and get away from the crowds by starting your trip where most people turn around. Enjoy the morning and several hours to paddle among icebergs and to the face of Spencer Glacier. One goal is to touch an iceberg!

From the Spencer Whistle Stop, groups of 7 or less board a van for a short ride on the gravel road to our kayak cove overlooking outstanding views of the glacier and Icebergs floating in Spencer lake. Guides outfit kayakers in all paddling gear and give a kayaking and safety briefing. The paddle includes outstanding views of the glacier and icebergs floating in Spencer lake with photo and rest stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, icebergs, history and glaciology.Guests will unload from the kayaks and hike from Kayak cove back to the Whistle stop. The 5 hours spent at Spencer includes iceberg kayaking and trail hiking. A boxed lunch will be enjoyed on a leisurely scenic train ride from Spencer Whistle Stop to Grandview Glacier and then back to your depot of origin.

Inclusions:

  • Round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop
  • Catered deli boxed lunch, bottled waters, granola bars and snacks
  • 1 mile shuttle at Spencer Whistle Stop to Spencer Lake
  • All paddling gear: Necky Looksha Tandem Sea Kayaks, spray skirts, PFD’s, gloves, rain jacket and pants, dry bags, kayak safety equipment
  • Friendly, skilled, naturalist kayak and hiking guides.
  • Paddling instruction and briefing
  • Small Ratios (min: 2:1 max: 7:1/client:guide)
  • Guides will pace the trip and total distance to the groups’ desires, fitness level and weather conditions.
  • Bear Protection and satellite tracking and communication devices
  • Interpretative glaciology, ecology and natural history discussions
$337

Day Tour: Kayak, Hike & Train Ride

Season: May 26-Sept 17, 2018 Ages: 10-70

Location

Departs: Anchorage & Girdwood Sunday-Thursday only

Group Size

Min: 2 People, Max: 20 People Ratio: 7/1

Activity Level

No Experience Necessary Moderate
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PRICE

$337 

DEPARTURE TIMES

Girdwood: Check in: 7:30am........Return: 6pm
Anchorage: Check in: 6:00am............Returning 6:45pm

MILEAGE

  • Up to 5 miles paddling round trip.
  • Up to 3.5 hours on the water paddling
  • Up to 3 miles hiking

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

No experience is necessary, but previous paddling experience is highly recommended. This paddle should be considered a "moderate activity". We recommend that you are capable of a few hours of easy to moderate upper body and cardio exercise each day. See our Pre-Trip Fitness recommendations.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  • Trips operate in most weather conditions- travel insurance is recommended
  • The lake water temperature is very cold: 34*-37*F, but no tides and the icebergs are very reliable!
  • Boxed Lunch contains: Turkey or Vegetarian sandwich, chips, cookie, fruit and water.
  • Restroom facilities are located on trains and outhouses at Spencer Whistle Stop
  • All guests are required to fill out our online Adventure Application and Waiver when booking
  • After reserving your spot- you can easily login to our reservation system and make any changes or add cool Add-Ons.
  • Minimum weight: 50 lbs; Maximum weight: 250 lbs 
  • Max height is 6’7” 
  • Max waist size is 44”

AWESOME ADD-ONS

A custom/private buyout guarantees your own personal guide. Whether 1 person or a family of 7- the buy-out rate is the same. You can reserve this exclusive, custom request here.

EXCLUSIONS

Gratuities for your super cool guides

BOARD at Anchorage Train Depot:
411 WEST 1ST AVENUE

BEST 12 HR PARKING IS UNDER THE BRIDGE, ACROSS FROM THE ULU FACTORY



TRAIN SECURITY UPON CHECK IN:

The Transportation Security Administration requires that any Alaska Railroad passenger 18 years of age or older present a government issued photo ID, or two other forms of ID, one of which must be issued by a government authority. Children ages 2-15 may only travel in the company of an adult 18 years or older.

Read more on Rail Logistics PDF (Printable)

ENJOY THE RIDE:

  • For guests who board the Coastal Classic Train in Anchorage, the Ascending Path guide will meet guests on the train after the Girdwood stop (8:00am).
  • Guests who book from Anchorage with the motor coach return, will return on the Glacier Discovery train from the Spencer Whistle stop and get off at the first Portage NB stop. They will then get on the motor coach in Portage, which will take them back to Anchorage directly. This option will shorten the return train trip by 2.5 hours.

TIMELINE:

  • 6:00 am Check in the Anchorage Train depot for the Coastal Classic Train. (Tickets on will call).
  • 6:45am Coastal Classic departs from Anchorage Train Depot. (meeting AP guide on train at 8:00am)
  • 8:00am Girdwood Stop- AP guide finds guests.
  • 8:30am arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 8:45am arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 8:45-9:15am: Intro, gear up, Kayak and safety briefing.
  • 9:15am-12:30pm: Iceberg kayaking and exploring the Spencer Glacier face
  • 12:30-1:30pm: hike 1.5 miles on USFS trail from Spencer lake to the Spencer Whistle Stop
  • 1:45pm: Say goodbye to your guide. Embark Glacier Discovery Train to Grandview (lunch on train)
  • 5:15pm: Glacier Discovery Train arrives Portage train Depot. All Ascending Path clients disembark Glacier Discovery train.
  • 5:15pm: Glacier Discovery Train arrives Portage train Depot. All Ascending Path clients disembark Glacier Discovery train.
  • 5:20pm: Depart Portage train Depot in AKRR motorcoach for Anchorage train depot.
  • 6:45pm: Arrive Anchorage train depot by motorcoach from Portage.

Where trips meet

Trips start and finish at the Tramway Circle at the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska at trip meeting time.

Tramway Circle at the Hotel Alyeska: 1000 Arlberg Ave 



TRAIN SECURITY UPON CHECK IN:

The Transportation Security Administration requires that any Alaska Railroad passenger 18 years of age or older present a government issued photo ID, or two other forms of ID, one of which must be issued by a government authority. Children ages 2-15 may only travel in the company of an adult 18 years or older.

Read more on Rail Logistics PDF (Printable)

TIMELINE:

Girdwood Kayakers receive a courtesy Sprinter shuttle from the Hotel Alyeska to Girdwood train depot and evening shuttle from Portage train depot back to the Hotel Alyeska

  • 7:30am- Check in at the Tramway Circle at the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood.
  • 7:45am: Leave for Girdwood Train depot via courtesy shuttle
  • 8am: Arrive Girdwood train Depot and board Coastal Classic train.
  • 8:05am: Coastal Classic Train departs Girdwood Depot.
  • 8:30am: arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 8:45am arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 8:45-9:15am: Intro, gear up, Kayak briefing.
  • 9:15am-12:30pm: Iceberg kayaking and exploring the Spencer Glacier face
  • 12:30-1:30pm: hike 1.5 miles on USFS trail from Spencer lake to the Spencer Whistle Stop
  • 1:45pm: Say goodbye to your guide. Embark Glacier Discovery Train to Grandview (lunch on train)
  • 5:15pm: Glacier Discovery Train arrives Portage train Depot. All Ascending Path clients disembark Glacier Discovery train.
  • 5:20pm: Sprinter Van courtesy shuttle departs Portage Depot for Girdwood
  • 5:45pm: Arrive Hotel Alyeska

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK THIS SUPER POPULAR TRIP?

Due to high demand and limited space available we recommend reservations be made several months in advance. Bookings made 1 week in advance of departure date may be cancelled and fully refunded if we cannot accommodate.

RECOMMENDED CLOTHING?

Cotton clothes are not recommended! Wear comfortable warm synthetic clothes dressing in layers (long sleeved shirt, long pants, fleece jacket, rain jacket, rain pants, gloves, wool/fleece hat, sunglasses, ball cap) hiking boots or trail shoes with a rugged sole. Bring a small backpack and camera. For specific advice on what to wear, read our Be Prepared Document.

DO YOU MAKE EXCEPTIONS?

On a case-by-case basis we consider exceptions, usually we recommend buying out a trip as a private with your own guide. This is only available with advanced reservations and as space and staffing is available. Please email or call to make your request, we are more than happy to think of solutions- just to make it happen for you. If you have questions about the physical requirements of this trip, please read our Essential Eligibility Criteria on our FAQ's page, email or call us and we would be happy to talk with you and determine if this trip matches your abilities.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Yes...! just read our Trip Advisor Reviews! Tours include top of the line paddling gear, world-class kayaking & hiking naturalist guide, round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop, small ratios: (min: 2:1 max: 7:1) (client to guide) and paddling instruction, interpretive natural history, ecology and glaciology discussions. A catered deli boxed lunch, snack and water is provided. Guests visiting Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop come away with better respect and knowledge about glaciers, icebergs and history of South Central Alaska, not to mention some great photographs!