Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
As the largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier is a phenomenon and a force to be reckoned with. Floating in pristine waters, with a face measuring more than six miles wide, the glacier is found in the north of the Inside Passage area.
Snow-capped mountains are the backdrop for viewing the impressive glaciers within Disenchantment Bay. The area is populated by some of the tallest mountains in North America, ensuring a spectacular avenue during your cruise.
The remote location makes Hubbard Glacier even more impressive as you sail towards it. Passing smaller icebergs along the way, the waterways are home to a variety of birdlife and seals. The glacier itself actively sheds icebergs up to 3 storeys high in size. As the glacier sheds, these icebergs crash into the water and become submerged.
In the last 30 years, Hubbard Glacier has surged twice and moved across the mouth of Russell Fjord. This caused the fjord to be dammed, almost flooding the nearby town of Yakutat when the snow melted. Unlike most glaciers, Hubbard is not only moving out to sea, it is also thickening.
The closest port to Hubbard Glacier is in Juneau, the state capital which is approximately 200 miles away. The city’s cruise ship port is in close proximity to downtown Juneau. The city itself is quite compact and easily explored either on foot or via public transport. As the busiest port in Alaska, access to public transport is plentiful.
Downtown Juneau is within a short walk of the cruise ship terminal, with cafés, restaurants and shops nearby. There are many attractions within the area, including museums, churches and historic buildings. Juneau also has many gift shops, pubs and restaurants for visitors to explore.
- Public toilets
- Visitor centre and information
- Public transport access
- A range of accommodation options are within proximity of the port as well.
How to Get Around
Juneau is accessible by sea and air. Daily flights are available from Alaska Airlines year-round, while seasonal services are available from other providers. Air charters are also available from surrounding regions, including Skagway. Juneau is the Alaskan cruising capital, with many ships leaving from the area daily.
Once in Juneau, public transport via bus or taxi is most common. Rental cars and even limousine transfers can also be arranged for getting around the city. Many choose to explore the city on foot, browsing the older buildings that have been converted to shops and restaurants.
- Currency – The local currency is the United States Dollar (USD). Denomination is: USD$1, USD$2, USD$5, USD$10, USD$20, USD$50, USD$100 bills. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent (₵) denominations. USD$1 coins are in circulation, however they are not as common as USD$1 notes.
- Time Zone – Hubbard Glacier observes Alaska Standard Time (AKST), which is 9 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Saving Time (AKDT) begins in March and runs until November and is 8 hours behind UTC.
- Weather – It is recommended to dress in layers when travelling through Alaska. Hubbard Glacier and Disenchantment Bay are no exception. Summer temperatures range from 13.3–15.5 degrees Celsius, while winter temperatures range from 0–2.2 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is frequent, so waterproof footwear and clothing is essential.The number of sunlight hours vary considerably during the year. June and July have up to 18 hours of sunlight, while December sunlight is restricted to just over six hours.
- Active Calving – When parts of the glacier break off, the sound of them falling into the ocean is unlike anything you are likely to hear. The Tlingit people call it ‘White Thunder’. The ice falling into the ocean is also a sight to behold. As you cruise towards Hubbard Glacier, you will pass thousands of icebergs floating in the waters.
- Marine Life – The area surrounding Hubbard Glacier is home to many seals and a variety of birdlife. The most common are harbor seals, which inhabit the glaciers surrounding Hubbard. Seals rest on the glaciers here as the threat from Orca whales is minimal.
- Disenchantment Bay – The bay is home to some of the biggest glaciers and mountains in the area and provides stunning photography opportunities. The sunlight delivers beautiful reflections on the water and highlights how unspoiled the area is.
- Yakutat – The small village of Yakutat is known for both commercial and sport fishing. It is also famous for its beautiful surfing beaches. The forelands area surrounding Yakutat is the natural habitat of brown bears, eagles, moose and plenty of small animals. Hiking enthusiasts can set off for Russell Fjord or Situk Lake.