donderdag 10 mei 2012

Welcome to the Mendenhall Glacier, 13 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska

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A paved trail provides an easy stroll to a photo point across the lake from the glacier. Interpretive signs draw and inform visitors.Picture yourself a short drive away from the state capital, trees at your back, and in front of you, across an iceberg-dotted lake, an enormous ice field flowing down the valley in a glacier that ends at lake's edge. Welcome to the Mendenhall Glacier, 13 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska. If you've taken the paved trail to a glacier overlook, you can glance to your right and see the visitor center, set in a cliff above the valley floor. The huge windows that make up the curving wall of the center offer an uninterrupted view of the glacier.

The center was built in 1962, the first visitor center in the National Forest System. The original structure was primarily a large observatory where people could get out of the rain and look at the glacier. It was designed to accommodate 23,000 people a year. Over the years a few exhibits were added. Thirty-five years after it first opened, the center was hosting over 250,000 people a year. Between 1997 and 1999 the building was renovated and enlarged to include an exhibit gallery and theater.

Take your choice of ramp, stairs, or elevator to reach the center's entrance. From there, you can enter the exhibit gallery through a simulated ice cave. Immediately to your right is the "Recipe for a Glacier" exhibit, and beyond it a monitor which visitors can activate to show animated views of Mendenhall Glacier advancing and receding, with corresponding dates. You move on to a fabricated ice face of the glacier, with signs explaining glacial processes. All the exhibits help show how the Mendenhall Glacier moves and shapes the valley ecosystem.

We invite you to Alaska to see Mendenhall Glacier, the visitor center and the rest of the exhibits. And we won't be disappointed if you are more impressed with the glacier than with the exhibits. That is as it should be.

May-September
8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Sun-Sat
Admission: $3.00

October-April
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Thurs-Sun
Admission: free

Located in Juneau, Alaska's capital city, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center overlooks the Mendenhall Valley. Visitors may reach the visitor center by city bus, taxi, tour bus or rental car. The city bus drops visitors a mile and a half from the visitor center. Those choosing to walk should be prepared for changing weather conditions.

From downtown: 12 miles. Take Egan Drive and turn right at Mendenhall Loop Road. Mendenhall Loop Road turns into Glacier Spur Road and ends at the visitor center.

From the Juneau International Airport: 5 miles. Turn left onto Glacier Highway. After a quarter mile, the road will curve right and become Mendenhall Loop Road. Follow this road across Egan Drive. Mendenhall Loop Road eventually turns into Glacier Spur Road and ends at the Visitor Center.

From the Alaska State Ferry Terminal: 7 miles. Turn right onto Glacier Highway. After a mile and a half, the road splits at Auke Bay. Turn left onto Mendenhall Loop Road. After four miles, it will intersect Glacier Spur Road. Turn left onto Glacier Spur Road.

Basic facts about the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center's accessibility to visitors with disabilities:

» The visitor center has two accessible entrances - an upper entrance with a ramp and a lower entrance with elevators.

» The first parking lot offers restricted parking for vehicles displaying the international symbol of access or official identification issued by a city or state.

» The visitor center's film and video exhibits are captioned. Personal listening devices may be checked out from the Information Desk for the Magnificent Mendenhall movie.

» A public TTY is available at the visitor center's information desk.

» Photo Point Trail and the salmon viewing are accessible.

Mendenhall Glacier is located in a rain forest, and let's face it - without all that rain and snow, the glaciers wouldn't be here either. Staying warm and dry while kayaking, camping, hiking, biking and so forth is critical to preventing hypothermia as well as making your visit more enjoyable. Come prepared with clothing that is warm even when wet - such as wool and polar fleece - and with items that can be layered. Raingear, hats, gloves and sturdy shoes or hiking boots are strongly recommended. Juneau's weather is fairly mild. Summer highs hover in the upper sixties and summer lows drop to the mid-fifties. Winter highs reach to 45°F. and winter lows stray into the mid-twenties.

Tongass National Forest | Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
Programs | Trails | FAQs

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