Mendenhall Glacier

After visiting Brooks Falls on our 2015 Alaska vacation, we flew to Juneau to meet the ship for an inside passage cruise. While in Juneau, we saw the Mendenhall Glacier. Shown above, the glacier has been receding since the mid-1700s; it receded from the near shore in the past 70 years.

The glacier doesn’t have much dirt on it so its blue ice is visible. We walked to the edge of the lake for a closer view of the glacier and the little iceberg.

closer view of Mendenhall glacier
Mendenhall glacier from the lakeside

This bedrock near the visitor center shows that the glacier was here. The parallel grooves in this rock were made by rocks under the glacier. Made of frozen water, glaciers are heavy. Pulled by gravity, they slowly move downhill, picking up dirt and rock that scour the earth below.

rock with parallel grooves from glacier
rock with parallel grooves from glacier

The Mendenhall Glacier is attractive, with clean, blue ice. A short drive from Juneau, it’s easy to get to. But you can’t get close because of the lake and steep mountains on both sides.

We’ll remember Juneau for bald eagles. We saw about a dozen bald eagles along the Gastineau Channel between downtown Juneau and the airport. They were roosting on highway light poles and standing on the mud flats. I didn’t get a picture. 😦 In California, we have crows on telephone poles; in Juneau, they have bald eagles. So cool.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

5 thoughts on “Mendenhall Glacier”

  1. That’s really spectacular. I can faintly see the blue of the ice. I bet it was more obvious in person. I’m sure the bald eagles were awesome, too. I’d trade crows (in my case, pigeons) for bald eagles any day.


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