September 30, 2016
Spencer Glacier is one of the closest pristine glaciers to Anchorage. You’ll love the serenity of this place.
Alaska Rafting offers a nice inclusive package, with a train ride to the Spencer Whistle Stop (from Anchorage or Portage). You’ll take a short bus ride to the lake, raft around the icebergs, and then take a float trip down the Placer river where the train will be waiting.
They provide all the gear (including boots but not including rain gear). Also, if it’s raining, you can leave some dry clothes on the train to change after the trip.
I would have preferred to spend more time around the icebergs, which I suppose is an inherent limitation with an organized tour. One way to get a little more time on the lake, would be to forsake the hike from the bus to the lake. By taking the bus to the lake, you can push off before the others arrive. Conversely, if photography is a higher priority, the hike offers lovely scenic views.
I’m not an ice climber, but here’s an outfitter if that sounds appealing.
Also, if you want to camp, there are 2 group sites and a few individual sites around the lake. Keep in mind it’s over a mile hike and you have to pack everything in and out, including firewood. More details from the Alaska Railroad and from the Forest Service.
Regardless how you see Spencer Glacier, it’s a great opportunity to truly immerse in Alaska’s back country.
Photos: Julia Hunter and Emma Kristensson