Hubbard Glacier is a magnificent tidewater glacier located in Alaska’s Disenchantment Bay within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America, spanning approximately 76 miles (122 kilometers) in length. It stretches from its source in the Yukon Territory of Canada to its terminus at Yakutat Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. The glacier lies about 200 miles northwest of Juneau, Alaska’s capital city.
Like other glaciers, Hubbard Glacier formed over centuries through the accumulation of snowfall in the mountains. The weight of the accumulated snow compressed the lower layers into dense ice, which gradually moved downhill due to gravity. Over time, this slow movement led to the formation of a glacier.
Hubbard Glacier is known for its remarkable size and scale. It measures around 6 miles wide at its terminal face and rises approximately 300 feet above the waterline. The glacier’s sheer size creates a breathtaking spectacle for visitors. Hubbard Glacier is an active and dynamic glacier, constantly advancing and calving icebergs into the surrounding water. The glacier’s movement pushes ice into the bay, creating a natural dam that leads to the formation of a massive icefield called the Russell Fjord. Periodically, the dam releases, causing a tremendous display known as a “glacial surge” or “glacial outburst.”
Hubbard Glacier exhibits stunning blue ice, a result of the ice’s density and the way it absorbs and reflects light. The glacier’s surface is also marked by visible striations, which are lines and ridges formed by the movement of rocks and debris trapped within the ice.
One popular way to experience Hubbard Glacier is through an Alaska cruise. Many cruise ships offer scenic cruising through Yakutat Bay, allowing passengers to get relatively close to the glacier. This provides a fantastic opportunity to witness the glacier’s grandeur and possibly witness calving events.
The surroundings of Hubbard Glacier offer a picturesque landscape with snow-capped mountains, fjords, and pristine wilderness. The area is home to diverse wildlife, including seals, sea lions, whales, porpoises, eagles, and various seabirds. Spotting these animals against the backdrop of the glacier adds to the allure of the experience.
When visiting Hubbard Glacier, it’s essential to remember that it’s a dynamic natural phenomenon, and conditions can change. Safety precautions are necessary, and it’s recommended to follow the guidance of knowledgeable guides and crew members while observing the glacier from a safe distance.
Experiencing the immense size, stunning colors, and the awe-inspiring display of calving at Hubbard Glacier is an unforgettable experience, allowing visitors to appreciate the raw beauty and power of Alaska’s glaciers.
Cruising to the Hubbard Glacier is an exciting adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime! This majestic glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America and is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. You’ll cruise alongside the glacier, marveling at its stunning beauty and listening to the thunderous sound of calving icebergs. The Hubbard Glacier is a true natural wonder and a cruise to see it is an experience you won’t soon forget.
We’d love to have you join us on Destinations Travel’s next Alaska Group Cruise.