Visiting Hubbard Glacier Alaska

Hubbard Glacier

Cruising Up To Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier is truly a stunning natural wonder and something everyone should try and plan seeing when visiting Alaska. Hubbard Glacier is a glacier located in eastern Alaska and western Yukon. It’s 76 miles long, 7 miles wide at its front, and has a height of up to 600 feet above the water at its terminal face. The glacier is considered one of the most active in Alaska, with frequent calving events and ice dam formations.

A majority of the people that have seen Hubbard have experienced it while taking an Alaska cruise. Typically cruise ships travel up Disenchantment Bay and slowly approach the terminal face of the glacier while pushing through water filled with chunks of ice. Cruise ships are permitted to get as close as 0.6 miles to the terminal face of Hubbard Glacier, but this can vary depending on weather, sea and ice conditions. The captain of the ship will typically navigate as close as possible keeping in mind passenger safety and minimizing any disturbance near the glacier. There are limits placed on the number of ships allowed into Disenchantment Bay which means every Alaska cruise doesn’t have this glacier on their itinerary.

The Glacier calves into Disenchantment Bay. Catching pictures is a challenge as the sound of the event is what draws your attention but being a half mile or more away by the time you hear it, it’s already half done. Fun trying…

The Hubbard Glacier was first discovered in 1890 by an American naval officer named G. W. Stoney. It was named after Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a lawyer and philanthropist who was the first president of the National Geographic Society, which sponsored an expedition to the area in 1895.

A cruise ship slowly moves in toward Hubbard Glacier

If you are planning a cruise to Alaska here are some tips we suggest you consider:

  • First and foremost check and make sure the cruises you are considering are visiting Hubbard Glacier.
  • Second, this is one cruise experience where we recommend booking a veranda stateroom. Room on the ships outdoor railings can be tough to reach. It doesn’t matter if it’s port or starboard as the ship will reposition to face both toward the glacier face.
  • Be sure and pack clothes you can layer, as the temperature can be quite cold on the water and near the glacier.
  • Be sure and bring binoculars to get a closer look at the glacier and any wildlife that may be in the area.

If you’re interested in a tour that explores more of the glacier the best options are available through your cruise line. Because of the glaciers remoteness a vast majority of tours are managed by the cruise lines. One tour operator that focuses on Hubbard Glacier is Yakutat Charter Boat but if you’re not taking a cruise getting to Yakutat can also be a challenge.

Yakutat is a small town located in the Gulf of Alaska and is the nearest town to Hubbard Glacier. It is situated at the mouth of Yakutat Bay within the Tongass National Forest with a population of around 600 people.

If you’re interested in taking a helicopter flight to land on a glacier or hike glacier trails there are a number of glaciers in Alaska that are much better choices.

Hubbard Glacier guided tours are available from Yakutat Charter Boat HERE.

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