Russell Fjord and Hubbard Glacier

Kayak through stunning Alaskan scenery, blue icebergs, and get an intimate view of the glaciers in the fjord.

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Russell Fjord and Hubbard Glacier

Fantastic wildlife viewing in this truly wild and remote destination.

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Russell Fjord and Hubbard Glacier

Enjoy the glaciers and icebergs from your kayak and our campsites.

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Location: Trip begins and ends in Yakutat, Alaska
Duration: Expeditions last from 5 to 7 days
Paddle Distance: 20 to 50 miles, depending on itinerary
Activities: Paddling, photography, glacier watching, hiking
Highlights: Experience the rugged scenery of a rarely-visited wilderness at the base of North America’s largest tidewater glacier. In this quintessential Alaska kayaking adventure, you’ll have opportunities for paddling among icebergs and watching abundant wildlife. Photograph a rainbow of wildflower displays and venturing deep into wilderness solitude.


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Spirit Walker’s Russell Fjord expedition is a trip back in time. Far from cruise ships and other paddlers, this is remote wilderness paddling at its finest. Far from the noise of civilization, you’ll experience a thrilling view of the Hubbard Glacier, the largest sea-level glacier in North America. It’s an impressive wall of ice that thunders each time two-ton blocks of ice break off and smash into the waters of the fjord.

Deep in the Russell Fjord wilderness area of the Tongass National Forest, our trip takes you to a steep-walled inlet that seems locked in a previous ice age. We’ll leave behind the lush stands of Sitka spruce in Yakutat, and replace it with an ecosystem defined by glaciation. As recently as 1986, the Hubbard actually sealed off the entrance to this fjord and created a lake for four months. We’ll paddle these narrow, deep waters where you’re likely to spot harbor seals hauled out on floating icebergs.

After short sea-plane ride from Yakutat, you’ll be transported to this solitary place few others have experienced. The setting is framed by the jagged, snow-locked peaks of the St. Elias Range, which tower 18,000 above sea level. From these mountains, never-ending snow and ice accumulate to form massive glaciers, including the Hubbard, which at its terminus is 5 miles wide and 300 feet high.

We begin our journey in a side-arm in the fjord, paddling along a rocky shoreline where hardy pioneer plants such as dryas, fireweed, and willow attempt to colonize this rapidly changing landscape. Along milky glacial outwash streams, young forests of alder and cottonwood begin to stake out a foothold.

Over the course of several days, you’ll paddle amid porpoise and seals toward immense blue face of the Hubbard Glacier. As gulls cry overhead, you’ll hear the bubbling sound of melting icebergs and the occasional crash of ice calving off the towering face of the glacier. Then silence reigns again, punctuated by voice of the glacier creeping forward in groans and creaks. It’s an awe-inspiring experience that engages all the senses.

While camped on shore, you’re free to explore footpaths in this fascinating ice-carved landscape. Pay close attention and you might spot mountain goats scampering on sheer rock faces or a brown bear overturning boulders on the shore in search of barnacles. Wildflowers proliferate, and offer an opportunity to test your photography skills.

Though this is an extended wilderness expedition, no exceptional kayaking skills are required; just bring along a keen sense of adventure, willingness to camp out in a rugged wilderness setting for up to a week, and the stamina to paddle for multiple hours each day. You’ll be rewarded with one of the premier wilderness experiences in the world.


Contact Spirit Walker for more information about our Russell Fjord expedition and to arrange a custom trip.

Click here to see our full schedule.


Departure Return Trip Name Trip Length Price Availability
  • experienced and professional guides,
  • all charter boat transportation,
  • high quality 2 person kayaks with paddling and safety accessories; emergency communication, signaling and first aid equipment;
  • all cooking gear, utensils and water bottles;
  • 3 excellent meals for each full day plus snacks;
  • camping equipment – 2 and 3 person tents, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses that convert into chairs;
  • rain gear, rubber boots and dry bags.

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.

Mandy L, visited Sept, 2015

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.

Walt G, visited July, 2016

Hearing the whales and having them come up so close to you is a once in a lifetime feeling.

Jill T. August 2012

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.

Jonathan R, visited July 2016

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.

Ernie B, visited August 2013

"Magic Family Holiday" I can't say enough about the wonderful trips that Spirit Walker puts together. The safety and equipment is great. The guides are great fun and knowledgeable about the areas we went. The food is incredible.

NIcondit, Visited August, 2015

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