The Surreal Turquoise Landscape of an Alaskan Ice Cave

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Dec. 11 2013 10:36 AM

Cool World: Inside the Magnificent, Melting Mendenhall Ice Caves

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Mendenhall Glacier, a 12-mile-long mass of ice in Juneau, Alaska, is a popular tourist attraction. Few visitors, however, see the the glacier from its most spectacular vantage point: inside it.

Rising global temperatures have caused the glacier to start melting—it has receded by about two miles since 1958. Water has carved caves into the interior, creating surreal, turquoise-toned worlds whose shapes are ever changing.

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A trip to the Mendenhall ice caves requires an arduous journey—it involves a kayak ride or long hike, an ice climb, and faith that the melting caverns won't collapse in on you—but the incredible landscapes are a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

Ice to see you:


View Mendenhall Glacier in a larger map

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