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Juneau Whale Watching Adventure and Mendenhall Glacier Tour

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Juneau, Alaska
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icon3 hours  (Approx.)
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iconOffered in: English

Overview

Discover the great outdoors of Alaska at its best on this 3-hour combo tour that features whale-watching and a visit to Mendenhall Glacier. From the comfort of a roomy, heated boat, enjoy unparalleled views of humpback whales, bald eagles, seals and sea lions, while learning about the wildlife from onboard naturalists. You'll also explore the trails of Mendenhall Glacier and learn about its formation.
  • Alaskan whale-watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour from Juneau
  • Travel through Auke Bay, Favorite Channel, Stephens Passage or Lynn Canal
  • Use provided binoculars while viewing whales and other marine wildlife
  • Explore Mendenhall Glacier and learn about its formation at the visitor center
  • Choose from a variety of morning and afternoon departure times to suit your schedule
Get ready for jaw-dropping views of wildlife and landscape beauty on this two-part tour. First, step aboard a boat fully enclosed and heated with a restroom on board. Depending on where the best whale sightings are that day, your captain sets voyage to Auke Bay, Favorite Channel, Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal or Saginaw Channel. Pick up the provided binoculars as you hear naturalist-guides share commentary on the wildlife you spot during the 2-hour cruise.

You can’t help but gasp when you see the massive and majestic humpback whales, which feed in the nutrient-rich Alaskan waters. From the outside viewing decks, snap unforgettable pictures or videos of the whales in action, perhaps catching a few breaching. Crew may lower hydrophones into the water so that you can listen to whales ‘speaking’ with each other.

After your whale sightings, visit Mendenhall Glacier, located between downtown Juneau and Auke Bay. During the 45 to 60 minutes you’ll spend here, learn about how the glacier was formed and stroll along one of the many nearby trails, spotting wildlife along the way.

Please note: You will not be permitted to stand on the glacier itself, but will enjoy unobstructed views from approximately one mile (1.6 km) away. Plus, whale sightings are guaranteed! If no whale is sighted on the tour, receive a refund of $100.00 per adult or $50.00 per child. Depending on which departure you select, you may visit the glacier before the whale-watching cruise.

Itinerary

Which animals may be sighted on the Juneau Whale Watching Adventure?

Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

During the season humpback whales are spotted on more than 99% of the tours. There are many humpback whales that feed, socialize and play in the waters near Juneau from mid-April through October. Humpbacks are among the most playful whales, and often breach (leap from the water), bubble net feed, and slap their tails. Humpback whales are seen more often than any other mammal. Most of the humpback whales here in Juneau spend their winter in Hawaii. There are a few that can be found here year around.

Orca (Orcinus orca)
Orca whales, also known as 'killer' whales, can be seen any day of the year in the Juneau area. These hunters search for salmon and small marine mammals over a large area. A 'pod' of orca can be spotted about every 5 to 15 days during the summer, as they hunt nearby. Orca whales are active and fast-moving, and stay in tight family groups for their entire lives. The family pod will travel together with the dominant males traveling in a separate group nearby. The orca whales can be seen with their fins rising out of the water. The alpha male of the group will have the tallest fin, sometime up to 6 feet out of the water. These whales are found in all oceans over the world. Length up to 30 feet (9.1 meters).

Dall's Porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)
This strikingly marked, fast-swimming porpoise loves to ride the bow wave of a boat...sometimes. They are very playful and will often jump out of the water. These animals are seen on most trips until July, and then occasionally through September. Length up to 6.5 feet (2 meters).

Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
These quiet, shy animals are hard to spot and rarely surface more than once near boats. Occasionally seen in passing. Length up to 6 feet (1.8 meters).

Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)
Steller Sea Lions are curious and often approach the boat singly or in groups. Occasionally, these animals are known to steal fish from your fishing line. These animals can be seen hauled out on channel markers or rocks from April through September. In addition, these animals can be heard grunting continually while they sun themselves on the haul outs. Hundreds live near Juneau. Endangered and declining in western Alaska, but they are doing better in southeast Alaska. Males are up to 10.5 feet (3.2 meters), females are up to 7 feet (2.1 meters).

Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina)
Harbor seals are common, but shy and reclusive. These animals often haul out on rocks or blocks of ice. They can be seen as their small round heads bob in and out of the water. Seals exhale as they dive and can reach great depths. Hundreds live near Juneau and are seen on many of our tours. These cute little animals provide a favorite picture opportunity for many passengers on tour. Length up to 5 feet (1.5 meters).

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Reviews

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star-4.5
160 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
star-4
1. Excellent tour, everyone was on...
marina.balzac
, Nov 2016
1. Excellent tour, everyone was on time, friendly and efficient 2. This tour is not for people who get ill my daughter was severely sea sick. If you are prone to that, take a Dramamine, the water is very rough. I wish I new that before we booked.
star-5
This was a marvelous tour. And the...
Ellen S
, Oct 2016
This was a marvelous tour. And the reason we use Viatour to book tours on our travels. The whale watching guide and captain were top-notch. The boat was new, and as we later learned from others, offered a far superior experience than others had in Juneau speed to reach the whales, comfort heat, windows.... Mendenhall is a wonderful stop. There wasn't a lot of tour to it, more a ride to the glacier, but that was fine. I do think the total tour went over in duration -- not a complaint -- but we had to rush back to make a dinner reservation. Might be helpful to make the time more clear.
star-5
Great outing - even in the rain...
Deborah B
, Sep 2016
Great outing - even in the rain - whales didn't care! Great explanation of the humpback whales physical attributes and behavior. Very informative. Saw at least 6 whales on our trip.
star-5
We had a great experience with great...
Mike B
, Sep 2016
We had a great experience with great weather and a tour guidet hat was wonderful
star-5
Absolutely brilliant, captain Larry and...
crazy_jas
, Sep 2016
Absolutely brilliant, captain Larry and team very informative
star-5
A good day out with lots of information...
ian
, Sep 2016
A good day out with lots of information on Whales to explain what we were to see. The crew made sure everyone was safe and kept us informed then it was up to us to whale spot. The background information on how and why they were there about was good. We saw whales and sealions sun bathing. Lots of great scenery too. Much warning about inclement sea conditions seemed fine to me compared to North Sea of UK. Mendenhall was awe inspiring. We hiked to the viewing area and saw a white bear or as it turned out on checking the camera carefully a mountain goat . We missed out on the mother and 3 cubs that wondered past the car park area whilst we were keeping fit hiking, but what a view. Porcupine overhead nodded to us and we returned the compliment carefully. Well organized but you do need to pay careful attention to which bus you get after the whale watching check it with the driver before you get on it! Thoroughly recommended if you like wildlife . You could be idle or go off as we did and hike. Photographs are incredible , driver was great collecting and dropping us off at the ship. Others went in huge buses this was far less formal but more intimate. Like going out with friends.
star-5
Excellent tour. We were there about...
RRrr91860
, Sep 2016
Excellent tour. We were there about two weeks ago and had an amazing time. The glacier is beautiful and we found several whales. The tour was well organized and the staff very friendly and helpful. Thank you for a fabulous day!
star-5
Was unbelievable. Great trip with this...
POPS
, Sep 2016
Was unbelievable. Great trip with this company. Very informative. Maybe a little more time at Mendenhall Glacier. Overall, great.
star-5
Outstanding experience. Crew was...
Jean V
, Aug 2016
Outstanding experience. Crew was helpful and informative.
star-5
The whale watching part of the tour was...
Thomas F
, Aug 2016
The whale watching part of the tour was fantastic. Not only did we get to see a pod of Orcas very close up, we actually had a humpback whale swim directly under our boat! Our tour guide said that was the first time she had ever seen that happen. What an experience. Because of all the whale activity out on the water, the tour spent extra time there, so our time at the glacier was cut a little short. I didn't mind at all though, seeing so many whales so close up was well worth it.

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