15 Most Breathtaking Glaciers in the World
These stunning wonders of the natural world are in decline. Make sure to put these destinations near the top of your bucket list.
Athabasca Glacier, Canada
The Athabasca Glacier is located in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It’s the most accessible glacier in Canada and the most visited glacier in North America. Going under the ice requires special clearance, but the explorers who have describe miles of tunnels and shafts. Unfortunately, every year the Athabasca Glacier has been receding about 16 feet, leading scientists to believe it’ll disappear within a generation. Take a look at these draw-dropping photos of the world’s most beautiful countries.
Tasman Glacier, New Zealand
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Almost 17 miles long and about two-and-a-half miles wide, Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in all of New Zealand. The glacier is located in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, and travelers can sign up for boat tours on the adjacent terminal lake or take a guided 4WD tour. Speaking of glaciers, you won’t believe how this man survived when he fell into one.
Vatnajokull Glacier, Iceland
As the largest glacier in Iceland, this 1.3-mile-long natural wonder covers between roughly 3,127 and 3,205 square miles. Its thickest point measures just over 3,280 feet with an average thickness measuring between about 1,312 and 1,640 feet. According to icelandontheweb.com, “The total ice volume of Vatnajokull is probably in the vicinity of 3300 cubic km [792 cubic miles].” Considering its massive volume, it comes as no surprise that there is a lot beneath its surface—starting with seven separate volcanoes, the majority of which are active. Learn about some amazing active volcanoes you can actually visit.
Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland
Despite Jakobshavn Glacier’s beauty, this natural wonder is blamed for sinking the famous Titanic. According to NASA scientists, the glacier has been “surging forward at the rate of 150 feet per day.” In fact, the glacier moved almost three times as fast in 2012 as it did in the mid-1990s. These summer destinations are surprisingly gorgeous in the winter.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier is located in an ice field that’s part of the third-largest reserve of fresh water in the world (and it’s technically in both Argentina and Chile). Unlike many other glaciers around the world, Perito Moreno doesn’t show any signs of retreating: It spans 121 square miles and is still growing. With plenty of viewing platforms, walking paths, trekking tours, and a boat tour, there are tons of ways for visitors to check out this wonder. While you’re adding to your bucket list, don’t miss out on these beautiful natural pools around the world.
Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Fox Glacier spans about eight miles in length and cascades down from the Southern Alps, measuring about 1.6 miles in height. Fox Glacier is supported by four alpine glaciers that receive about 98 feet of snow each year. To see Fox Glacier in person, visitors can take a guided glacier walk, a heli-tour, or a scenic flight, or simply walk to the terminal face.
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
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Similar to Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier also cascades down from the Southern Alps into the rain forests of Westland National Park in New Zealand. It is the steepest glacier in all of New Zealand, descending from a height of about 1.9 miles above sea level to about 787 feet elevation, and it does this over a distance of about 6.8 miles. As a result of its rapid movement of almost 20 inches per day, Franz Josef is home to a plethora of breathtaking ice caves, tunnels, and other icy phenomena.
Portage Glacier, Alaska
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Located in Chugach National Forest about 50 miles south of Anchorage is the gorgeous Portage Glacier. Although Portage Glacier is retreating, there are still plenty of ways for visitors to view it: Take a sightseeing boat cruise on Portage Lake or venture down one of the many foot trails leading to the glacier. Check out these stunning photos of national parks covered in snow.
Baltoro Glacier, Pakistan
Spanning nearly 40 miles, Baltoro Glacier sits in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It is the second-longest non-polar glacier in the entire world. Baltoro Glacier runs through part of the Karakoram mountain range, creating an unreal panoramic view of the mountainous region of northern Pakistan.
Pasterze Glacier, Austria
As the biggest glacier in Austria and the longest in the Eastern Alps, the awe-inspiring Pasterze Glacier in western Austria is a must-see. Unfortunately, the glacier has been retreating since 1856, report NASA scientists. The ice volume could be reduced by 24 to 63 percent by the end of the 21st century. Here are some other breathtaking places you need to visit before they disappear.