We arrived in Skagway on board the MS Noordam, a Holland America Line ship as we were sailing the Alaskan Inside Passage. There were a number of options for excursions in Skagway and we were excited to be able to visit Davidson Glacier.
Getting to Davidson Glacier
A mini bus collected us from the cruise ship dock. The dock has minimal facilities but is a short work into Skagway. The mini bus drove us to the harbour where the smaller boats are moored. This is where we boarded a motor boat for a 45 minute trip through Lynn Canal. Lynn Canal is the longest and deepest fjord in North America. You can sit inside or outside on the boat. While outside, which is at the back of the boat, can be cold and wet, it provides great photo opportunities.
Above: Boat harbour where we boarded our boat to take us to Davidson Glacier
The scenery on the 45 minute boat ride is stunning.
While on the boat trip, a naturalist provides explanations of the area and the wildlife which includes whales and seals.
Arriving at Glacier Point Beach
The boat trip ends at Glacier Point beach. As we pulled into the beach we got our first view of Davidson Glacier.
Once we arrived at Glacier Point beach we were provided with a quick lunch. Lunch is a sandwich, a bottle of water and a small snack – nothing special. We also had some time to take in the stunning scenery.
Heading to the Glacier
We then hoped onto an old school bus for a short trip along a dirt road to a hut which is the staging area for our walk to our canoe for our trip to the glacier. We are provided with life jackets and gum boots for the canoe trip.
We then walked through the forest for about a quarter mile or 400 metres. It’s not a hard walk but it is on a dirt track through the forest.
While walking through the forest to the canoes, we came across these mushrooms.
Once we got to the canoes, we were assigned to specific canoes. We were able to stay with the people we were travelling with (there were three of us). But the guides wanted to make sure the weights in each canoe were appropriate.
We then headed off, with paddles in hand to the glacier. After heading out from the bank and into deeper water, the guide started the small outboard on the back of the canoe which meant we didn’t have to paddle to far.
At the Glacier
Once we arrived at the glacier, we had a further walk over reasonably flat, but rocky terrain to the base of the glacier.
We were able to walk up to the base of the glacier and were able to touch it, although you aren’t allowed to climb on it for safety reasons.
Large chunks of ice have broken away from the glacier and have started floating down to the fjord.
Look Behind You
While Davidson Glacier is stunning, it is important to turn around and take in the scenery looking away from the glacier.
The trip to Davidson Glacier takes about 6.5 hours (from pick up at the cruise ship to return to the cruise ship).
It is a good idea to dress with layers. While it was cold on the 45 minute boat trip (because we sat outside for most of it), it was quite warm by the time we got to the glacier.
Make sure you have your camera with extra battery and memory cards. I took lots of photos.
If you are in Skagway, seriously consider going to Davidson Glacier. The scenery is stunning and you get to see amazing wildlife as well.