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Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest: Our most recommended tours and activities

Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour

1. Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour

Meet your guide at the cruise ship docks to start off this adventure. Hop in the van and listen to live commentary while driving through Juneau into the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the United States.  Once at the lake you'll have a meet and greet with the second guide who helps you put on the gear. You receive a rain jacket, rain pants, and rain boots. Along with everything needed to stay safe, including but not limited to paddling gloves, life jackets, helmets, trekking poles, and dry bags.  Your guides go over safety and paddling instructions before stepping into the canoe. This journey across the lake is a team effort, so it is not necessary to have paddling experience.  Mendenhall Lake is a glacier-fed lake that is surrounded by mountains and the famous Nugget Falls. The wind coming off the Mendenhall Glacier will officially welcome you to the Alaska wilderness.  Once the canoe is docked on the beach, there's time for a quick break before starting the hike to the glacier. During the hike, you can learn about the history of the area and listen to all the information your guides can share. Enjoy quiet moments to soak in the calmness of Alaska.  Once arriving on the rocky shore next to the glacier, follow your guides on an exploration trek around the rocky moraine to view the glacier up close.  The professional guides are in the wild every day and thrive on showing off what nature has to offer. One of the most unique aspects of the trip is that the glacial environment is in a constant state of movement and change, meaning no one tour is the same as the next. After your hike back to the canoes, be sure to soak in your last moments with the Mendenhall Glacier as the group paddles back to the shore.  Once arrived your guides will provide a hot beverage while you take off the gear. After a short drive back to the cruise ships, you will walk away with memories of Alaska that you will never forget.

Ketchikan: Tongass Forest Alaska Bigfoot ATV Ride & Hike

2. Ketchikan: Tongass Forest Alaska Bigfoot ATV Ride & Hike

Leave the civilized world of Ketchikan behind and go on an exhilarating guided trek and ATV adventure in the lush surroundings of the Tongass National Forest. Ride along an off-road trail to reach the forest base camp before going on a guided hike along a scenic trail. Start your tour at the cruise ship port and hop into a comfortable air-conditioned van for the first leg of your Alaskan adventure. Enjoy a brief tour of Ketchikan as you drive through the town en route to the ATV site. Then, travel by shared ATV as you make your way into the forest to reach the Alaskan wild woods base camp close to the trailhead. From here, your hiking experience begins. Explore the moss-covered forest as you wander through prime bigfoot habitat. Learn about the area from your guide and stop to read informative kiosks placed along the trail to identify the abundant plant and animal species living here. Take a short break during your forest trek, resting near a creek filled with trout to enjoy a warming cup of hot chocolate or coffee served with a gourmet cookie. Keep an eye out for the sasquatch throughout your tour. And if you don't spot the real thing, don't worry, you'll still get the chance to capture a full-sized, motion-active replica of bigfoot. At the end of your experience, enjoy a comfortable return journey to the cruise ship port in Ketchikan by air-conditioned van. 

Juneau or Mendenhall Valley: Mendenhall Glacier Day Trip

3. Juneau or Mendenhall Valley: Mendenhall Glacier Day Trip

Discover the beauty of the Tongass National Forest on 4-mile hike and uncover an array of natural features on the edge of the receding Mendenhall Glacier on this guided hike. Enjoy pickup and drop-off from a meeting point in downtown Juneau or from major hotels in the Mendenhall Valley.  Hop aboard a comfortable and climate-controlled van for the transfer to the starting point of the hike. Begin with a hike through the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Walk through areas dominated by towering Sitka Spruce and Hemlock Trees. Stop along the way to refuel with a hearty and tasty snack pack. Watch as the wilderness trail becomes less defined as you follow your guide through the dense vegetation, around beaver ponds, and up rock scrambles. Emerge from the forest and approach the final ridge where the jagged face of the glacier bursts into view, and with its ice behind it. Continue along the edge of the glacier to uncover the unique moon-like landscape of bedrock that has been recently exposed by the receding glacier. See crevasses filled with a deep blue color and an icefall at the toe of the glacier. Due to the glacier's state of constant change, not all features may be present or accessible, making each hike a unique experience. Hike back on the West Glacier Trail and transfer back to your meeting point.

From Ketchikan: Mahoney Lake Off-Road UTV Tour with Lunch

4. From Ketchikan: Mahoney Lake Off-Road UTV Tour with Lunch

Get well off the beaten path and speed along muddy trails to the remote Lake Mahoney on this guided UTV tour. Follow off-road trails along the George Inlet Fjord and through the Tongass National Forest to reach a tranquil lake. Start your adventure in downtown Ketchican, where you will meet the guide and travel out to the White River base camp where you'll enjoy a nice lunch. Learn about the history of Ketchikan as you pass sites like the Ward Cove Pulp Mill. After a short UTV training session at base camp, gear up and head out onto the trails. Be prepared to get muddy as you tear along 5 miles of off-road paths, through a beautiful wilderness of fjordland and temperate rainforest. Reach the peaceful shores of Mahoney Lake, where a hearty campfire lunch will await you. Enjoy a well-deserved meal and a hot drink looking out over the peaceful water, far away from tourist crowds. Return to base camp along the trails and get dropped back in Ketchikan to end the tour. This tour lasts 3 hours, 45 minutes dock to dock including transportation time.

Ketchikan: Wilderness Boat Cruise and Crab Feast Lunch

5. Ketchikan: Wilderness Boat Cruise and Crab Feast Lunch

Journey into the heart of Southeast Alaska and the Tongass National Forest on a boat cruise through the wilderness. Watch as crab pots are pulled up from the waters surrounding Revillagigedo Island, then head to the George Inlet Lodge for a feast centered around Dungeness crab. Meet your host in Ketchikan near the cruise ship docks and hop into an air-conditioned van that will take you to the starting point for your cruise. Once aboard your sightseeing cruise, travel through the Tongass National Forest and Gorge Inlet. Breathe in the fresh air and spectacular scenery as your crew shares stories and the history of this magnificent waterway. If you're feeling adventurous, make sure to volunteer to pull up crab pots from the abundant waters surrounding Revillagigedo Island, overflowing with delicious Dungeness crab. Your cruise brings you to a remote location, where a crab feast awaits at the rustic yet elegant George Inlet Lodge. Sit down to a meal featuring fresh Dungeness crab served with a Romaine salad with homemade dressing. And don't worry, your hosts will be on hand to demonstrate the easiest way to crack your crabs. Sip a complimentary glass of wine or beer along with your meal and round out your feast with a scrumptious cheesecake with blueberry topping for dessert. Your Alaskan wilderness experience comes to an end with a return journey back to the meeting point in Ketchikan. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Tongass National Forest

Want to discover all there is to do in Tongass National Forest? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Tongass National Forest

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 9 reviews

Bryce and Kelsey were incredible guides. They really engaged our 12 and 16 year old daughters early on and hooked in their attention for the day of adventure! People with teens know exactly how important this is! We canoed, we hiked, we learned, we stopped for photos. We explored and had an amazing up close adventure at the Glacier and Nugget Falls. I am amazed at how much knowledge the guides remembered and shared. It was really one of the most incredible and memorable days for our family. Thank you so much for everything you did to keep everyone warm and comfortable while also having a lot of fun!

My husband and I had the most amazing and wonderful time. The guides (Paul and Kels) were incredible and very knowledgeable. They made the experience unforgettable by taking us all other the glacier, answering our questions and taking the time to capture as many pictures as we wanted. We even got to see a bear!! I cannot say enough wonderful things about the tour and the guides. I will definitely book again.

It was one of my favorite adventures I’ve ever done! Canoeing across Mendenhall Lake was so exciting! We saw a Seal swimming. Beautiful scenery all around and floating icebergs! The hike to get to the glacier was a great! The guides Kelsie and Kelby were the best! Touching the actual glacier ice was awesome!

An unforgettable experience in a wonderful place, the guides always attentive and taking great care of safety, we had an incredible time!