Ford's Terror and Dawes Glacier
There's nothing terrifying about this expedition through fjords ringed by granite cliffs, waterfalls, and glaciers.Book Now
Location: Ford’s Terror Wilderness, Endicott Arm. Trip starts and ends in Juneau
Duration: Expedition length of 5 to 7 days. Custom trips by arrangement.
Paddle Distance: 40-60 miles total.
Activities: Paddling, photography, wildlife viewing, hiking, swimming.
Highlights: Paddle a wilderness coastline amid granite cliffs, blue icebergs, massive glaciers, and uninterrupted solitude. In the evening rest and relax at your campsite while contemplating the face of the Dawes Glacier.
Ford’s Terror is named for an unfortunate naval crew member who, in 1869, rowed a dinghy into the narrow entrance of this fjord during a slack tide. Stuck for six terrifying hours in the furious currents, Ford’s experience is a reminder of the awesome power of nature.
Luckily, the guides at Spirit Walker carry tide charts and have extensive knowledge of this rugged wilderness inlet–so you can observe the raging eddies from the safety of camp.
Nestled in a granite-walled valley sixty miles southeast of Juneau, the Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness is place of stark beauty, where waterfalls cascade down sheer faces, blue-tinged icebergs float in deep water and wildlife sightings (including black and brown bear) are common. The expedition begins with a dramatic seaplane trip from Juneau. Once we’ve assembled our state-of-the-art folding kayaks, you’ll begin paddling the narrow waters of Ford’s Terror. After a delicious meal in camp, take a hike to the top of a granite face and observe the swirling whirlpools that gave this fjord its name.
Safely crossing the entrance, we’ll paddle up Endicott Arm toward the terminus of the Dawes Glacier. The size and frequency of icebergs increases as the glacier nears, and along the way you’ll find great opportunities to look for bear sign, whether it’s tracks or scat. Out of our kayaks, we’ll hike trails that lead to meadows of wildflowers and berries, and where you’ll have a good chance of spotting black bears. Back on the water, scan the hillsides for mountain goats, and don’t be surprised if a curious harbor seal comes to check you out.
Paddling on, we’ll reach the massive face of Dawes Glacier, an awe-inspiring sight against a backdrop of rugged peaks. From a safe distance we’ll watch as truck-size chunks of ice calve off and crash into the strait, sending waves smashing into the shoreline. Our camp is within view of the glacier, so you’ll have ample time to watch the changing colors of the ice and let the roar and creak of the Dawes lull you to sleep at night.
The length and scope of this trip are flexible, so depending on your preferences you can design an expedition that allows more time for side explorations. However long you go, be sure to bring your camera–we’ll be surrounded by some of southeast Alaska’s most stunning scenery, a place of high granite cliffs that 19th century writer John Muir claimed rivaled the Yosemite valley for its wild beauty.
My trip with Spirit Walker Expeditions was amazing. My experience kayaking among the whales is something I will never forget! Go! You will love it.
We had a wonderful experience on a Spirit Walker trip this summer. Six nights, seven days in the Myriad Islands Wilderness. The trip was well organized, the gear was top quality and the guides were great! ... an experience I'll always remember.
Hearing the whales and having them come up so close to you is a once in a lifetime feeling.
We booked the Whales tour to Point Adolphus for our family which includes a 6 year old and 9 year old... Great safety orientation for our boys who don't have a lot of experience kayaking. Thanks for an unforgettable experience.
It doesn't get any better than this. If you want to experience the real Alaska you must get out on the water... If we return to Alaska, we will make this expedition again.