Alaska Helicopter Tours Knik Glacier Landing Review

Flightseeing is an incredible way to experience Alaska and one of the best ways to experience Alaska’s glaciers. This enormous land is just begging to be seen from the air to fully appreciate its vastness and Knik Glacier is the perfect place to do it.

A blue pool of water on Knik Glacier surrounded by white and gray ice and high snow covered and glaciated mountains
A Blue Pool on Knik Glacier

Alaska Helicopter Tours provides the ideal opportunity to do this, as well as to get safely onto a summer glacier to see those gorgeous blue pools of water. This is a particularly good option for any slightly nervous flyers as the helicopter ride for the Knik Glacier Landing is relatively short and absolutely spectacular. This experience is also ideal if you have some extra time before your flight out of Anchorage as it’s a very convenient half day experience – they even provide a shuttle from Anchorage if you don’t have a car.

There are MANY wonderful flightseeing opportunities in Alaska (like helicopters to dog sledding, float planes to remote areas, helicopters to ice fields and flying above the Arctic Circle). I’ve been lucky enough as a former Alaskan and a guide and travel writer who spends several weeks there are year to participate in several flightseeing experiences.

Similar to the Denali Flightseeing tour with glacier landing (my other favorite!), the location of Alaska Helicopter Tours base near Palmer has fewer flights cancelled due to weather than some other parts of Alaska (like Southeast Alaska and Katmai National Park – which are also amazing).

Let me tell you a bit more about what to expect on this wonderful tour. This review covers my experience on the tour in May 2024. If you’d like to feel like you’re there with me, check out this short video of the helicopter landing on Knik Glacier and taking off again.

Where does Alaska Helicopter Tours fly from?

The helipad is at the Alaska Glacier Lodge about 50 miles northeast of Anchorage on Knik River Road. To get there, drive out the Glenn Highway and turn right on the Old Glenn Highway just before the Knik River bridge and then go straight/right on Knik River Road when the Old Glenn Highway goes left over the river towards Palmer. The road dead ends at the helipad.

A wooden building with a deck, chairs and umbrellas with views of a helipad and mountains
The Raven’s Perch has indoor and outdoor seating with food and drinks next to the helipad.

Getting to Alaska Helicopter Tours without a car

If you don’t have a car, no problem! They have a shuttle van that goes from the downtown hotels in Anchorage out to the lodge, which takes about an hour. There is an additional charge for the shuttle but it’s much less than renting a car and a great option if you’re going car free or if you want to return your rental car a day early and head out to the glacier before you go to the airport.

Who is the Knik Glacier Landing Helicopter tour best for?

This is an amazing experience for anyone who wants to get up close and personal with a glacier and also for those who want to take in the vastness of Alaska’s landscape from the air without too much time in an aircraft. It’s also an ideal experience for anyone who wants to experience a helicopter ride in a stunning location.

Jennie, wearing sunglasses, a knit hat and a red jacket on Knik Glacier with ice, blue pools and mountains behind her.
Me on Knik Glacier

I also highly recommend a helicopter tour for anyone who craves solitude. You will be with 2-4 other guests on your helicopter (depending on the model) and while exploring the glacier. It’s really amazing to be with just a couple other people in this beautiful place.

When is the best time of year to take a helicopter to Knik Glacier?

You can do this all year. However, if you want to see the blue pools, those are only visible in the summer when the snow is melted and the ice melts (May – September).

A blue creek running across Knik glacier with mountains in the background
A blue creek running along the surface of Knik Glacier

Listen to Dawn from Alaska Helicopter Tours share about Helicopter flying

Wheelchair Accessibility

Contact Alaska Helicopter Tours directly about navigating getting in and out of the helicopter as a wheelchair user – they will do everything they can to make it work for you if they know in advance! The helicopter is quite close to the ground so does not require stairs to get in.

What to expect on your flight

When you arrive at the Alaska Glacier Lodge, check in at the building with the restaurant and deck. This is also the check in point for the lodge.

There are likely to be several helicopters departing at the same time, so you’ll need to be patient while everyone gets checked in. You will need to step on a scale to get an accurate weight with all your clothes/gear on. Make sure you have everything on you you are bringing in the helicopter before your weigh in.

Once everyone is checked in they’ll give you a safety briefing and then take you out to the helipad. Let the staff show you where to go and help you get settled for your safety and also to keep things running smoothly.

Once everyone is on board and you’re ready for lift off, you’ll fly up and over the Knik River to Knik Glacier and fly over the glacier before landing on it. You’ll see amazing mountains in all direction, the glacier below you and have an excellent chance of spotting wildlife below you on the flight – especially mountain goats, dall sheep, moose and bears. When I went, we saw lots of mountain goats in both directions.

The view through the front of a helicopter showing a sillouetted pilot and passenger. A glacier river and glacier and mountains are visible in front on the helicopter
Inside the helicopter approaching Knik Glacier

When you land on the glacier your pilot will let the engine cool down and then help you step out of the helicopter. Make sure to stay where the pilot directs you to go and return to your seat at the time your pilot tells you to.

A blue helicopter sitting on a glacier with ice, blue pools and mountains in the background
Alaska Helicopter Tours R44 helicopter on Knik Glacier

You’ll follow a similar route, though probably on the other side of the valley when you return to the helipad at the lodge.

How long is the helicopter ride?

The helicopter ride to land on Knik Glacier is about 15 minutes in each direction, leaving you about 25 minutes to explore on the glacier. These estimates vary based on the weather and other factors, but in general this is what to expect. Some of other tours have a slightly longer ride.

What can I bring on the helicopter?

Not much! You can bring what you can fit in your pockets and that’s it. Make sure you have sunscreen on and sunglasses and I’d recommend a couple of layers for cooler glacier temperatures (although the sun can be very intense).

Make sure your phone or camera is fully charged and ready to document the experience for you. You can not bring any back up batteries on the helicopter so make sure you have everything charged up.

You can also bring a waterbottle to drink some glacier water – pretty fun! Don’t miss out!

Other tour options with Alaska Helicopter Tours

If you want a longer helicopter experience or what more big adventures, Alaska Helicopter tours also offers glacier dog sledding in the summer, heli hiking, heli paddle boarding and kayaking (whaaaaaat?!?) and more.

In winter they offer heli skiing and heli ice skating (so cool!) among other winter adventures.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite. I lived in Alaska for many years and I still spend lots of time there every year visiting friends and working as a tour director. I've been a guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington, am a field editor for the Milepost and host the Alaska Uncovered Podcast about Alaska Travel as well as the Washington State Hiking Podcast. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you here!