My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Speedcat Adventure to Davidson Glacier

2009/09/22by Donna Hull

Updated 06.15.2013

Speedcat adventure to Davidson Glacier

Canoes motor close to the face of Davidson Glacier

Active travelers cruising through Alaska should put this cruise excursion on their “must do” list.

When cruise ships dock in Skagway, many passengers board the White Pass Railway for a train ride to the top of White Pass. While the scenic journey is beautiful, a speedcat ride to Glacier Point combines a fast boat ride with a canoeing adventure that takes baby boomers close to “wild” Alaska at the face of Davidson Glacier.

Alan and I tried this adventure provided by Chilkat Guides Ltd, when Regent Seven Seas Mariner stopped in Skagway during a mid-September Alaskan cruise. The 7-hour journey began on a high-speed jet catamaran for an approximately 1-hour ride to Glacier Point. Traveling through Alaska’s deepest fjord, we watched for whales, porpoises and glaciers of all types as one of Chilkat’s knowledgeable guides provided commentary.

At Glacier Point, the group boarded a school bus to be transported to the staging area, where boats and waterproof clothing are provided for guests. Along the way, we observed old versus new growth of the temperate rainforest as the glacier continues to retreat.

Geared up of the Davidson Glacier cruise excursion

Geared up for the ride to Davidson Glacier

After gearing up, we hiked a quarter of a mile through the rainforest to the river’s edge, where 30 ft. motorized canoes waited to transport us to Davidson Glacier. Once in the canoe, our group paddled the river for a while before Jennifer, our guide, started the canoe’s motor. The process of rowing kept us warm as chilly winds began to whip the cold, glacier-fed waters. Turning the motor back on, Jennifer passed back and forth in front of the face of the glacier, providing equal views to all of the photographers onboard, as well as educating the group about glacial activity.

Davidson Glacier near Skagway, Alaska

Davidson Glacier close up

On the catamaran ride back to Skagway, we enjoyed a box lunch plus bottled water. Guides continued to share their knowledge about the area.

This is one of the best cruise excursions that Alan and I have ever taken. The exhilarating experience provided a brief glimpse of “wild” Alaska. And, no helicopter or plane tours marred the sounds of water rushing from Davidson Glacier or the wind’s whistle as it blew across the ice.

Have you cruised to Skagway? Post a comment to share your excursion experience. Can you guess where this conversation is heading? Alan wants to take an Alaskan road trip.

To read more about my first week sailing in Alaska, read “Dispatches from Donna” at Luxury Cruise Bible.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Weibel September 22, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Oh man, I am SO green with envy – about everything but the cold. You look WAY too bundled up for September.


Frugal Kiwi
September 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Wow, that first photo by the glacier is spectacular!


pen4hire September 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I want to take the Alaska Highway, and am storing all your comments about side excursions that we can build in.


Mark H September 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Canoeing near a glacier sounds superb. There is something truly mesmerising about glaciers – their power, their graceful slow movement, their staggering size, their subtle blue colourings – not sure what it is.


marthaandme September 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm

What an amazing adventure!


Peter West Carey September 25, 2009 at 11:49 am

Donna, I too am a bit jealous of your excursion and trip! Be safe, live well.


Amy October 4, 2009 at 7:30 am

Did you talk to the glacier and ask it to stop melting? Tell it to be cool? What a great trip!!! I'm jealous.


Amy October 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Did you talk to the glacier and ask it to stop melting? Tell it to be cool? What a great trip!!! I'm jealous.


Garret Ireland June 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Since your blog title has your foot in the pic, you should try to get pics of all your tours and travels with your foot (bare or not) in a pic…LOL


Bruised Passports June 18, 2013 at 6:35 am

This looks amazing- totally envious :-)
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Donna Hull
June 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

It’s lots of fun. One of the better Alaska cruise excursions that we’ve experienced.
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June 18, 2013 at 7:34 am

Wow this sounds amazing! Ive only ever seen two glaciers up close and that was in NZ. Id love to go to Davidson… However, the cold does put me off a little!
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Donna Hull
June 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

Nicole, Davidson Glacier wasn’t all that cold. The tour company provided waterproof boots and outerwear, which helped. Rowing the kayak (which we did intermittently), helped warm us up, too.
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Charli l Wanderlusters June 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

We recently visited the retreating Tasman Glacier here in New Zealand and I was blow away by the sheer scale and volume of ice on display. It was like being transported onto another world, one of no destructive human interference, just silent, tranquil and so beautiful. I’ve added glaciers to my to do list in a lot of countries! Thanks for sharing your trip!
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Spencer June 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Assuming it wasn’t too cold for me I would so love to see a Glacier like us up close and personal. I reckon the scenery would be absolutely amazing. Makes you realise how beautiful the world is in places.


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