Gilbert Point

Hubbard Glacier – Nature’s Phenomenon


Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier is always a BIG surprise–just like College Fjord or Africa’s Victoria Falls.  Even though I was raised in Alaska within a day’s boat ride of Hubbard, I never heard about it until I became an adult Alaska naturalist.  But, Wow!  What a spectacular, active, overwhelming, monstrous (any more superlatives you choose) experience.

Hubbard Glacier - Hubbard Glacier
Hubbard Glacier

This dramatic glacier rests north of Juneau at the terminus of Disenchant-ment Bay and near the little village of Yakutat.  Tglinkit Indians have inhabited the area for over 800 years.  Compared to many other glaciers, Hubbard is NOT receding.  And this growth brings continual geological changes to the region.  Because of these changes, Hubbard Glacier claims several world distinctions. 

Hubbard Glacier World Distinctions:

  • Adjacent to the world’s largest piedmont glacier—Malispina Glacier.
  • Adjacent to Alaska’s second tallest mountain—Mt. St. Elias

    Hubbard Glacier - Mt. St. Elias
    Mt. St. Elias
  • The largest tidewater glacier in Alaska  & one of the world’s 3 largest.
  • Originates in the world’s tallest coastal mountain range—the Wrangell/ St. Elias Range.
  • Located in the largest US national forest—The Tongass National Forest.

In addition to these distinctions, Hubbard Glacier’s statistics are mind blowing.  It is 6.5 miles wide at its terminus. It flows 76 miles from the peak of Mt. Logan, Canada’s tallest mountain.  Like a giant white monster, the ice at its terminus stands 400 feet or more as it meets the glacial water. Just as dramatically, the same ice descends approximately 250 feet and more beneath the water.

Geological monitoring of Hubbard Glacier began over 100 years ago. Because of this, Hubbard Glacier‘s constantly changing  surroundings are a geological classroom.  More than once Hubbard’s advancement closed the aperture between Disenchantment Bay and Russell Fjord.  On one occasion, this caused water in Russell Fjord to rise 82 feet above sea level, endangering the village of Yakutat.   You really must visit in person to truly appreciate this place.  Take it from me, one visit will whet your appetite to return as often as possible.  Hubbard is fascinating on every level.

Interested in more info. about Hubbard Glacier Alaska’s glaciers?

Please check out my book, Rendezvous with Majesty.  In it, I’ve answered the 12 most commonly asked questions about glaciers.  The book includes chapters about Hubbard Glacier,

Hubbard Glacier- Rendezvous with Majesty
Rendezvous with Majesty

College Fjord, and Tracy Arm Fjord. It is jam-packed with beautiful color photos (mine, by the way).  One final chapter highlights the 19 Alaskan and Canadian lighthouses that a cruiser might see on an Alaskan cruise.  Each lighthouse is featured with a picture and brief history.

Hubbard Glacier is one of the most astounding sites you will ever visit!

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Kathy Slamp

Kathy Slamp has traveled extensively since her youth. Her childhood was spent in Alaska. She parlayed that experience into serving as an Alaskan cruise ship naturalist for 13 seasons.. In addition to Alaska, she travels extensively in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and S. Pacific. You will love her travel insights.

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