Though not as well known as Glacier Bay, it is at least as spectacular if not more so. Located in the Tracy Arm Fjord, Sawyer Glacier rates as one of Alaska's most massive glaciers. As you get nearer the glacier, you see a massive white formation that seems almost as big as the mountains that surround it. This is Sawyer Glacier, wedged at the end of Tracy Arm, an iridescent blue mass of centuries-old ice. As you gaze upon it in wonder a loud cracking noise that seems to split the very air, heralds the calving of a massive chunk of ice the size of a building. As it enters the sea, a gigantic spray of water causes rippling waves of water to rock the ship.
The water around Sawyer Glacier is the habitat for a variety of marine life including whales. Smaller, but no less interesting are the harbor seals and porpoises, killer whales and sea otters. An impressive list of other wildlife can be viewed at Sawyer Glacier including brown and black bears, deer, wolves and moose. Mountain goats, which usually keep to higher ground have been seen at much lower elevations.
Sawyer Glacier is one of the sights you'll see if you're visiting the Tracy Arm-Ford's Terror Wilderness. The two deep and narrow fjords in the area cover 653,179 acres. Both fjords, Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm, are over 30 miles long and one-fifth of their area is covered in ice. The area takes its name from a U.S. Navy crewman named Ford who in 1899 paddled into a narrow waterway connected to Endicott Arm. He was caught, for six grueling hours, in surging tidal currents, surrounded by massive, crashing icebergs. Miraculously, he survived and the finger-shaped waterway has since been known as Ford's Terror. Sawyer Glacier sits at the head of Tracy Arm Fjord.