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Nicknamed the "Galloping Glacier," this east Alaskan glacier is rapidly advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska into a pristine area known as Disenchantment Bay. In fact, its movement temporarily formed a natural dam that twice closed off nearby Russell Fjord from the bay, but the intense water pressure building within the fjord-turned-lake has thus far been enough to explode through the wall of ice.
 
The biggest glacier visited by cruise ships, the Hubbard is truly impressive. With a 6-mile wide, 400-foot tall face, the blue ice will seem to envelop your boat, especially if you can get up close. On good days, you’ll get to within 1/2 mile of the face. But ice can keep cruise ships at a distance of several miles, particularly in August and September when warmer temperatures and rainfall can cause more calving. The Hubbard is in Disenchantment Bay near the outer coast town of Yakutat, and offers large vistas on clear days, including Mt. St Elias at 18,008 feet. You won’t get the experience of traveling up a fjord to reach the Hubbard, nor will you have as much wildlife as other spots—although seals haul out on icebergs. But for a huge glacier and lots of icebergs, Hubbard is hard to beat
 
Technically, the Hubbard cruises is just north of the Inside Passage itself, though still quite a bit south of the College Fjord Glaciers (about one day’s cruising time). As such, it can safely fit on one of the 7-day round trip itineraries. The largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier measures 76 miles long and plunges 1,200 feet into the depths of the bay. Its immense beauty and phenomenal blue hues are enchanting, even from afar. But it's when your cruise ship draws closer that its towering surface really impresses, dwarfing even the uppermost deck on your ship at a whopping 40 stories high. There, with the snowcapped mountains serving as a glorious backdrop, you'll have a prime viewing spot from which to witness the glacier calving, as it often expels icebergs the size of 10-story buildings-imagine the splash!
 
The area around Hubbard Glacier is also renowned for its wildlife, where whales, harbor seals and otters swim, brown bears, moose and black-tailed deer roam ashore, and a wide variety of seabirds soar gracefully across the sky.

Hubbard Glacier, a six mile block of ice is at the northern end of the Yakutat Bay and is estimated to be Alaska’s longest ice face. The giant glacier empties into the sea at Disenchantment Bay, the narrow inlet at the head of the Yakutat Bay. The greatest feature is its quick moving nature. About 12 years ago it moved to block the mouth of Russell Fjord, turning it into a lake and trapping hundreds of marine creatures inside. Some months later, the glacier receded.
 
Hubbard Glacier is defying the global paradigm of valley or mountain glacier shrinkage and retreat in response to global climate warming. Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing. All of these glaciers calve into the sea, are at the heads of long fi ords, have undergone retreats during the last 1,000 years, calve over relatively shallow submarine moraines, and have unusually small ablation areas compared to their accumulation areas.
 
In fact, its size is what distinguishes the Hubbard from every other glacier on the Alaska cruise route. If you want to see the biggest, then you want to stop at the Hubbard.
 But there is more to Disenchantment Bay than just its amazing glacier. It is a truly beautiful place, with an amazing backdrop of massive, snow-capped peaks that rivals any vista in Glacier Bay.
 In fact, the bay backs up to an area of Canada containing the tallest mountains in North America, aside from Mt. McKinley/Denali. And the area is also quite beautiful at its lower elevations too, with incredible landscapes, ice-filled waters, and lots of marine wildlife too..
 
Harbor Seals in Disenchantment Bay located in an inlet off the Gulf of Alaska, this is one truly remote wilderness area. When you are cruise there, you have the feeling of sheer isolation and peace. You might well spot whales in its pristine waters or seals lounging about any of the thousands of icebergs floating across the surface of the bay.
 
The Hubbard is also the longest glacier in all of North America, extending some 76 miles (110 kilometers) back into the wilds of Canada. All in all, that makes for an astonishing 1300 square miles of ice.
 
A number of cruise lines have begun to use the Hubbard Glacier as a replacement for either Glacier Bay or College Fjord on some northbound or southbound one way Alaskan cruises. Other cruise lines now include it as the sole glacier viewing offering on one of the round trip (Inside Passage only) itineraries out of Seattle or Vancouver.

 
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