If you’re one for nostalgia, visiting the last remaining glaciers on the planet is a good way to mark the time. As average earth temperatures increase and the polar ice caps shrink, opportunities for seeing glaciers will continue to diminish.
Fortunately there are a few places that will likely still have glaciers for many more years to come. While they still last, here are seven places around the world with some of the best glaciers.
The polar ice caps might be getting smaller but Antarctica still possesses more than 90 percent of the world’s total freshwater ice. So if it’s glaciers you’re after, this would be one of the primary places to look. There are a number of cruise ship operators who offer tours of the Antarctic, but they often come for pretty penny. Still, with the best glaciers in the world, it’s worth it.
Behind Antarctica, the next place with the largest chunk of sea ice is on Greenland, yet another destination ideal for observing Greenland. One of the poplar glaciers to visit is the Eqi glacier. The island also offers fascinating landscapes with geothermal activity and mineral deposits in addition to abundant sea life and extraordinary culture. Greenland has increasingly become a popular destination for adventure travelers and home to the best glaciers in the world.
Glacier National Park
If it’s glaciers you’re looking for and you live in North America, you can’t help but ignore the popular Glacier National Park in Montana. Aptly named for its abundance of glaciers near the Canadian border, the number of glaciers has greatly receded in the past 200 years. Back in the 1850s there were 150 glaciers and now there are only about 35 named glaciers, 25 of which are still active. Glaciers here that once covered 800 acres in 1901, now span just 250 acres today.
Another best glacier destination in North America is of course Alaska. Choose from any number of cruise line operators for exquisite glacier viewing in the Southeast part of the state around Glacial Bay National Park. The Mendenhall Glacier, Taku Glacier and LaConte Glacier are among the most popular. Up near Seward and Anchorage, popular roadside glaciers like Exit Glacier and Portage Glacier are fractions of their former selves.
For the best glacier that’s receding fastest, the Quelccaya in Peru represents one where there is no time to waste. High in the Andes, this glacier is reachable by guided trip from Cusco similar to the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. This is one of the only glacier in the world in the tropics and for that reason it’s diminishing quickly, roughly 600 feet per year, so that in 2100 experts believe it could vanish.
Made famous by the work of Ernest Hemingway, Mt. Kilamanjaro has been attracting adventure seekers for hundreds of years. The most iconic of its glaciers Furtwangler, but it could be gone too by 2020 with some 82 percent having receded since 1912.
We’ll end our list on a high note with a glacier that’s actually advancing rather than contracting and that’s in Perito Moreno, Argentina. Visitors to Patagonia will find this glacier one of the most accessible as there are three separate viewing areas where you can get a good look.
Photo credit: Matanuska Glacier, Alaska via Wikipedia commons