Sub-arctic outlet glacier
near Juneau, AK
, and one of Alaska
's most popular tourist attraction
s. The Mendenhall
Glacier spills down from the Juneau Icefield
, and is located within the City and Borough of Juneau
. The glacier
is said to begin at an elevation of about 5,000 feet in the icefield
, from where it gradually snakes its way down in amidst the surrounding 6,000-foot mountain peaks. The terminis
of the Mendenhall lies at the head of the Mendenhall Valley; a 5 mile-long (and about 3 or 4 miles wide) flat area carved out by the glacier
during the Cavill Advance
. Today, the valley hosts Juneau
The Mendenhall Glacier was originally named the Auk Glacier by the Auke Tribe of Tlingit Natives traditionally living near Juneau. American naturalist John Muir was apparantly the first European to discover the glacier, and commented that it was among the most beautiful of glaciers he had encountered. The glacier was named for an American named Mendenhall who was in charge of surveying the nearby stretch US-Canadian border back in the late 1800s.
Since relatively early in the 20th Century, the glacier has been receding at a steady clip. However, this doesn't seem to dissuade the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit the glacier annually. Rated as the fourth-largest tourist attraction in Alaska, the Mendenhall Glacier may well be the most widely-viewed glacier in the world.