Spencer Glacier & Placer River Tours


Alaska Rivers Company provides guided Alaska scenic float trips, inflatable kayak trips, stand-up-paddle board tours and guided hiking at Spencer Glacier Lake and rafting on the Placer River. Both locations are only accessible by train. Our tour includes a short ride aboard the Glacier Discovery rail car operated by the Alaska Railroad from the Portage Train station to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.  Trip goers will disembark at the whistle stop and have the option of taking an easy guided hike down to Spencer Lake. On the hike you will learn about the flora, fauna, and local history of this magical area.  The views along the hike are breathtaking.  If anyone chooses to not participate in the hike we will provide transportation to the iceberg filled Spencer Lake, where their glacier, river, or hiking adventure will begin!

The Portage train station is located a just an scenic hour drive south of Anchorage along Turnagain arm or a beautiful hour drive from our facility in Cooper Landing through the heart of the Chugach National Forest.  You can either provide yoEur own transportation to the Portage train depot or choose to ride the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage, Girdwood, or Whittier.  For those already visiting the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Rivers Company is conveniently located under an hour outside of Seward, Soldotna and Kenai.  Let us cut down on your own driving time by providing transportation both ways from Cooper Landing to the Portage Train Station in comfort and style in our Mercedes Benz Sprinter van. Once with us,  you can sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views over two mountain passes. Either way we will arrange your train tickets to board the Alaska Railroad for a wonderful unique glacial experience.

Our Glacier Tours

Spencer Lake Iceberg & Glacier Tour


This amazing tour suitable for all ages and abilities starts with an easy hike from the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop along the banks of the Placer River down to Spencer Lake. On the hike you will learn about the flora, fauna and local history of this glacial valley. For those who feel they cannot make the hike we will provide transportation to the lake shore. We will then gear up for the lake tour and embark on our adventure paddling around with the deep blue icebergs that dot the lake. We will have views of the majestic face of the Spencer Glacier and the surrounding snow-capped peaks. The Spencer Lake trip allows us to get up close and personal with the icebergs that float around the lake, listening to the deep rumblings and cracking of the glacier while learning about the dynamic glacier processes that have led to the creation of this ever evolving setting. Come with us and explore this amazing lake and valley that makes this tour a photographers dream. Keep your eye out for the local wildlife sometimes they like to come out and show themselves.

Tour will be run in a raft with your experienced and professional guide providing the paddle power from the stern.  We do encourage passengers to paddle along with us especially if there is a head wind.  The time on the water will be roughly one hour and fifteen minutes. This trip includes your shot at becoming the glacial beach bocce ball champion!  You will conclude with re-boarding the Glacier Discovery Train for the ride back to the Portage train station.

Rate: $250 per person (includes train ticket from Portage), Kids 11 & under – half price. 

*Additional cost will be applied if riding the train from Anchorage or Girdwood.** This trip could be changed to the “Ice to Ocean” Placer River float due to high winds that could prevent us from touring around Spencer Lake.  We will let you know as early as possible if we will be switching to the float option. 



Ice to Ocean! Spencer Lake and Placer River Float – NOT AVAILABLE DURING 2022 SEASON

Come float the entire length of the Placer River with us!  You get the chance to float among the amazing deep blue icebergs like on our Spencer Lake Tour and then experience the wilderness setting along the 12 miles of the Placer River.  We will take you from the headwaters of a magnificent glacier lake surrounded by snow capped mountains and the face of Spencer Glacier and float down the enormous Placer River drainage ending up with the smell of the ocean as we approach Turnagain Arm. This tour starts with an easy hike down to the Spencer Lake shore and then after gearing up on the lake shore we will head out on our glacial water adventure.

The Placer River is a Class I to Class II river and is suitable for all ages and abilities.  We try to keep you as dry as possible but some splashes can make it over the sides. Trip length from boarding the train to the take-out varies with water levels (4-6 hours)

Rate: $250 (includes train ticket from Portage), Kids 11 & under – half price     

*Additional cost will be applied if riding the train from Anchorage or Girdwood.



Stand Up Paddle Board & Inflatable Kayak Tours


Come experience the thrill of propelling yourself across Alaska’s majestic waters one blade stroke at a time!  Our Stand-Up-Paddle board (SUP) and inflatable kayak tours give you an opportunity to see the beauty of Alaska with a whole new perspective. The experience of paddling yourself across a lake, weaving among icebergs, listening to just the sound of raw Alaska is one you don’t want to miss.

Our tours are great for both the novice paddle boarder with no experience to seasoned SUP veterans looking for a new venue.  We will cater the trip to your abilities and comfort levels to make sure you feel safe and are having fun.

Depending upon the winds on the lake and the groups comfort and experience level we will run some of our SUP tours with the assistance of a raft.  This allows us to have a safe and enjoyable experience while having the comfort of knowing the guide and raft is right there to get you if you have any problems or get tired of paddling.  This is a great activity for families to do together; some want to paddle board or kayak while others don’t want too.  We can all go together, some in the raft and some paddling, a super fun way to spend the day together making memories to last a lifetime.  Plus this allows us to get GREAT photographs of each other!  Time on the water will be roughly and hour to enjoy this amazing glacial setting.

Rate: $250 per person (includes train ticket from Portage), Kids 11 & under – half price       

*Additional cost will be applied if riding the train from Anchorage or Girdwood.

* This trip could be changed to the “Ice to Ocean” Placer River float due to high winds on Spencer Lake that could prevent us from using SUP or kayaking.  We will let you know as early as possible if we will be switching to the float option. 


“But won’t I get wet?”

Yes, you will get a little wet, but you will be really surprised how dry you can actually stay for being so close to the water.  Our inflatable paddle boards and inflatable kayaks have amazing stability and make for a very safe and less splashy experience.  People who never have been on them before are known to comment on how much more stable our boats were than they thought they were going to be.  Very rarely do people actually fall off, and when they do it is super easy to just get right back on.  Plus you will be wearing a leash on your ankle so the boat can’t get away from you.

“Isn’t it hard to do?”

No, as a matter of fact it is quite easy to do especially as you become more comfortable in a very short amount of time.  Most SUP riders are standing up and paddling within the first ten minutes having never done it before, if they choose to try.

“What if I don’t want to stand up and paddle?

You don’t have to. That is the number one advantage of paddle boarding!  Paddling a paddle board from your knees with a kayak paddle is very easy, stable and a super fun activity.  We have special SUP paddles that can be both a stand up paddle with one blade or a two piece kayak paddle.  All with the quick switch of the handle.  Sometimes even experienced SUP riders paddle on their knees we find it is a good way to rest different muscles.

“Wouldn’t a hard shell kayak be better?”

Everyone has there own preferences but we find that inflatable kayaks are safer, more stable, and extremely comfortable.  In the worst case scenario and you tip over first you have a floating object to hold onto, and it is very easy to flip the boat back over and hold onto the side and kick your way in.  Way easier than you think it is going to be. Yes they are a little slower than a hard shell, but come try an inflatable for yourself and experience the difference.

Spencer Valley Guided Hiking


This is a wonderful way to get out, stretch your legs and experience the wonders of this Glacial paradise off the water.  Your personal naturalist will lead you on trails maintained by the USFS. The view of icebergs dotting the Lake and the massive Spencer Glacier in the background creates a spectacular setting for taking a hike.

The hike will include numerous stops to learn about this unique area.  We will check out the local flora and fauna and hopefully get a chance at photographing some Alaskan wildlife.  This area is rich in history from the original early natives who lived off the land, to the hardworking laborers putting in the rail line.

The Spencer Glacier Hike is a wonderful way to get a grasp on the immensity of this amazing glacial setting.  You will take home with you great photographs and memories and a better understanding of glacial processes and the wilderness that surrounds you.

We recommend bringing a water bottle and lunch with you. We will have water to refill you anytime. Bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes and feel free to bring a light backpack.

Rates: Call us for current rates. 1-907-595-1226



About Our Spencer Glacier and Placer River Tours

Our Spencer Lake and Ice to Ocean rafting trips are suitable for all ages and abilities.   Our tours focus on small group interaction with an average group size of six to eight guests per one guide to give you a personalized experience.   We can also accommodate larger parties such as youth and school groups, corporate outings, family reunions, and weddings. Kids under 5 will need prior approval from the railroad to board the train.  Please contact us for more information.

Our stand-up paddle boarding and kayak tours require a minimum age of 8 (over 45 lbs.) and should be considered a moderate to strenuous activity level. Kids will paddle a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian.

All tours include the necessary equipment, gear and professionally trained guides to make sure you have a comfortable and rewarding Alaskan glacier experience!

All trips include:

  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides
  • Rousing game of beach bocce ball

 Provided Equipment: Lake and River Rafting Tours

  • Knee high rubber boots.  Let us know beforehand if you need a size larger than men’s 13.
  • Full Body Rain Gear from sizes kids S to adult XXXL.  We will provide you with time tested, heavy duty rain gear to keep you dry in our unpredictable Alaskan weather.  You will be given a pair of bib overalls, and a full length rain jacket.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD).  We use only high quality coast guard approved life jackets.  From size kids XS to XXL Adult
  • Dry bags.  We provide large dry bags to keep extra clothes and equipment dry for the group.

 Provided Equipment: Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Inflatable Kayak Tours

  • Neoprene Socks
  • Wet Suits sizes S-XXL
  • Splash Jacket
  • Splash Pants
  • Neoprene Gloves
  • Water Shoes
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD).  We use only high quality coast guard approved life jackets.  From size kids XS to XXL Adult
  • Individual Dry Bag.  Each participant will be given a small dry bag to put extra clothes and personal equipment in.

 What should I bring?:

  • Warm clothes and an extra layer (try to stay away from cotton and layer with warm synthetic clothes. Long sleeved underwear both top and bottom is a good choice for colder days.)
  • Thick wool socks or double socks (to wear with our rubber boots or to wear under our neoprene socks if you are paddle boarding.)
  • Wool hat
  • Gloves
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Rain Gear (we will provide rain gear for you but if you have your own feel free to bring it instead.)
  • Stand Up Paddle Board and Kayak Tours participants need to bring a change of socks and base layers to change into after we get off the water.
  • Food – please bring a hearty snack or lunch with you.

There are restroom facilities at the Portage Train Station, on the train, and at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, after that there will be the great outdoors.  Ask us about our pack it out program.  see the “pooster” at www.thepooster.com