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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Hubbard Glacier

The Hubbard Glacier is located at the northern end of Yakutat Bay and empties itself into the sea at the head of the bay. Hubbard Glacier can also claim the title as the longest glacier in North America. The Hubbard continues to calve (shedding its building material, that is, ice) into the sea from its open face that is six miles long. The glacier was so named after Gardiner G. Hubbard in 1890, the founder and the first president of the National Geographic Society. It is a part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the largest national park in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Latest Hubbard Glacier Deals


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7 Night Alaska Glacier Experience Cruise

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Serenade of the Seas

Alaska - Seattle

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Cruise Companies that sail to Hubbard Glacier


Why visit Hubbard Glacier ?


Hubbard Glacier location iamge - CruiseDirection

Alaska’s longest surface of ice

The Hubbard Glacier; the glacier is made up of a six-mile long block of ice

Hubbard’s distinctive feature is its fast speed, unlike the other slow moving glaciers in and around Alaska. It continues to advance and retreat resulting in the glacier providing difficulties for both man and marine life. In 1986 it moved and blocked the mouth of the Russian Fjord, creating a lake, that resulted in reducing the salinity and trapping and threatening the marine life. After blocking the Russian Fjord for a few months the glacier once again receded. In 2002 the Hubbard again threatened to cut of the Russian fjord’s link to the sea and raising the level of the Russian lake. Scientists fear that this “rogue” glacier’s pranks will lead to the overflow of water into the Situk River and further into the Gulf of Alaska. Today the Situk River is a stream of clear water, with a large population of wild steelhead that is source of livelihood for the nearby Yakutat village. This livelihood will be destroyed if the Hubbard continues its tricks.  

The warmest months and also the best time to see the Hubbard Glacier are July and August. Dress warmly, catch a prime spot on the cruise ship’s rail to see this glacier in action and be ready with your cameras. Not only is the colour of the glacier unimaginably blue but watching chunks of icebergs crash into the sea (called calving) is an intense experience, reminding us once again of the expanse, power and ruthlessness of nature. This crashing sound is called “white thunder” by the native Tlingit people. The Hubbard regularly calves icebergs the size of multi-story buildings. Due to this fact, only if the conditions are right, will the cruise ship go within a quarter mile of the Hubbard’s face and than turn back. Sometimes the cruise ships lower a lifeboat near the Hubbard to collect a piece of an iceberg, which than can be used for evening’s buffet dinner or can be carved into an ice sculpture. Keep an eye on the marine life like seals and seabirds. They sometimes hang out on the floating, blue icebergs in the waters of the bay.

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