Trip Planner:   USA  /  Alaska  /  Valdez  /  Columbia Glacier

Columbia Glacier, Valdez

4.4
#4 of 12 in Things to do in Valdez
The Columbia Glacier, a glacier in Prince William Sound on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, and has been retreating since the early 1980s. It was named after Columbia University, one of several glaciers in the area named for elite U.S. colleges by the Harriman Alaska Expedition in 1899.The Alaska Marine Highway vessel M/V Columbia is named after the Columbia Glacier.SizeThe glacier twists its way through western Alaska's Chugach Mountains. The bald streak at the bottom of the mountains, called the trimline, shows this glacier has lost 1,300ft of thickness. It has also retreated 10.5mi since that measurement was taken.RetreatThe glacier's speed of retreat at the terminus reached a maximum of nearly 30m per day in 2001, when it was discharging icebergs at approximately 7km3 per year; the glacier has subsequently slowed down, resulting in an increase in retreat rate. The terminus has retreated a total of 16km at an average rate of approximately 0.6km per year since 1982. The retreat has been accompanied by nearly 500m of thinning at the present position of the terminus. In the next few decades it is expected to retreat another 15km, to a point where the bed of the glacier rises above sea level. Columbia Glacier's retreat should be completed around 2020. Tidewater glacier advance and retreat is not directly forced by climate (adjacent tidewater glaciers may be simultaneously advancing and retreating), but rapid retreat appears to be triggered by climate-forced long-term thinning.
Make Columbia Glacier a part of your Valdez vacation plans using our Valdez travel itinerary planner .
Source
Create an itinerary including Columbia Glacier
map
Places to stay near Columbia Glacier
Columbia Glacier Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
206 reviews
Google
4.0
TripAdvisor
  • Visited this during my tour of Alaska And The Yukon, took the sightseeing tour to the Glacier and saw all sorts of wildlife along the way, Orcas, Seals, Bald Eagle etc. I was not aware before hand tha...  more »
  • Took the sightseeing cruise to the glacier. Very impressive and cold at the foot of the glacier compared to the nice summer day. Dress appropriately. Took amazing photo shots and saw calving.  more »
  • We took Lu Lu belle to visit the Glacier in August 2017. I love traveling and have seen many wonderful sights and the sight of glacier calving and our visit on Lu Lu Belle is something I will remember...  more »
Google
  • Scenery, wildlife and serenity
  • Super!
  • For Colombia, the world's largest glaciers, glacier-ground for Colombia:
    View original

Plan your trip to Valdez

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Columbia Glacier by other users

60 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 32 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM GERMANY June, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 32 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM GERMANY June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 29 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, kids, outdoors, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 56 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 56 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, kids, outdoors, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Valdez BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 57 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 30 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM CANADA June, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Alaska BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans