Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Quick Facts

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Alaska

(907) 697-2230

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The marine wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve provides opportunities for adventure, a living laboratory for observing the ebb and flow of glaciers, and a chance to study life as it returns in the wake of retreating ice. The park has snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. These diverse land and seascapes host a mosaic of plant communities ranging from pioneer species in areas recently exposed by receding glaciers, to climax communities in older coastal and alpine ecosystems. Diverse habitats support a variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife, with opportunities for viewing and research that allow visitors to learn more about the natural world.

Map of Glacier Bay

Latitude, Longitude: 58.454424, -135.886316

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Activities

  • Boating

    Sea Kayaking is the easiest and most popular way to travel into Glacier Bay's wilderness under your own power. Kayaks can be brought to the park by ferry, rented locally, or provided on guided trips. Local rental companies provide instruction and do not require previous kayaking experience. Kayaks have space for plenty of gear and supplies for traveling along Glacier Bay's hundreds of miles of wilderness coastline.

    Rafting the Tatshenshini and Alsek rivers from Canada to Dry Bay in Glacier Bay National Preserve is a world-class float trip on glacial rivers slicing through one of the world's highest coastal mountain ranges. Whether you bring your own raft, rent from an outfitter, or join a guided trip, you can bring along many of the comforts that kayakers and backpackers must leave behind.

  • Camping

    All campers in Glacier Bay are required to attend a camper orientation, which is offered on schedule at the Visitor Information Station. Backcountry permits are also required for overnight backcountry travel. The campground is located about 1/4 mile by trail from the main dock in Bartlett Cove. It has specific sites, a warming shelter, outhouses and food caches. Group camping is permitted in the group camping area for groups of 12 or more. Camping outside of the campground is prohibited within one mile of Bartlett Cove.

  • Fishing

    Glacier Bay offers a wide variety of fish species for anglers to pursue in both salt and freshwater. In saltwater most anglers target the bottom-dwelling halibut, but salmon species are often sought after as well. In Glacier Bay's freshwater rivers and lakes anglers can fish for salmon and sea-run trout while enjoying the beauty and solitude of wilderness.

  • Hiking

    Guided trips make it possible for almost anyone to experience Glacier Bay's wilderness on its own terms. Outfitters supply all equipment and food, handle logistics and meal preparation, and keep the group relatively safe while sharing local knowledge.

    Backpacking is strenuous because of the absence of trails, the mountainous terrain, the vegetative obstacles, and the need to carry all your equipment and supplies on your back. But in alpine meadows, remote river valleys, and pristine rain forest the park's wildest rewards await those with the necessary stamina and experience for navigating the trackless wilds.

    Mountaineering in the Fairweather Range is reserved for the most intrepid explorers. The coastal climate and long approaches make these mountains among the least climbed for their elevation.

  • Hunting

    Sport hunting and trapping are permitted in Glacier Bay National Preserve, but not in Glacier Bay National Park. The Preserve is located near Dry Bay, Alaska. To hunt or trap in the preserve, you must have all required licenses and permits and follow all other state regulations.

  • Water Sports

    See "Boating" and "Fishing"

  • Wildlife Watching

    A variety of marine mammals, including the endangered humpback whale and the threatened steller sea lion, swim and forage in park waters. Thousands of harbor seals breed and nurture their pups on floating ice in Johns Hopkins Inlet and among the rocky reefs of the Beardslee Islands. Minke and killer whales--along with harbor and Dall's porpoises--feed in the park's near-shore waters. Sea otters are rapidly colonizing Glacier Bay, Icy Strait and Cross Sound. Thousands of seabirds nest on cliffs and rocky shores, and bald eagles nest along the shoreline. Back on land, watch for mountain goats, brown and black bears, otters, marten, mink, lynx, beaver, weasels and wolverines.

Seasonality/Weather

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is open year-round, but services in winter are extremely limited. The visitor center is open daily from late May to early September. Exhibits are open 24 hours. Information desk and Alaska Geographic bookstore are open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Park Partners

Alaska Geographic

Look to Alaska Geographic for the most comprehensive selection of books, maps, and films about Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. As the park's official nonprofit education partner and bookstore, Alaska Geographic offers an extensive collection of titles on Glacier Bay's natural and cultural heritage, provides financial support for the park's interpretive programs and other educational offerings, and works to connect visitors with Alaska's magnificent wildlands.

Alaska Geographic operates the bookstore in the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Visitor Center in Gustavus and sells books and merchandise aboard many of the cruise ships that visit Glacier Bay. Every purchase you make at these locations directly benefits Glacier Bay--a portion of every sale supports the park's educational and interpretive programs.

(907) 274-8440

Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours

Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours operates Glacier Bay Lodge, located within the park at Bartlett Cove--the only lodging within the park. It is open from mid-may through early September. The Glacier Bay Lodge offers rooms, a restaurant, fabulous wilderness views, a daily tour boat, fishing, kayaking, hiking and fuel sales.

(888) 229-8687

Directions

Driving

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve lies west of Juneau, AK and can only be reached by plane or boat. The only road merely connects the small town of Gustavus and its airfield to park headquarters at Bartlett Cove (10 miles). Many visitors arrive in Glacier Bay as passengers on board cruise ships, tour boats, charter boats, and their own private vessels.

Flying

Alaska Airlines provides daily jet service from Juneau to Gustavus (about 30 minutes) in the summer season. Year-round scheduled air service to Gustavus is also provided by a variety of small air taxis and charters.

Public Transportation

Taxis (upon request) and buses (limited schedule) run between Gustavus and Bartlett Cove.

During the summer months, the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry LeConte stops in Gustavus twice weekly from Juneau. The ferry dock is located 9 miles from Glacier Bay park headquarters in Bartlett Cove. Check the AMHS website for schedules, times, and rates. If you are planning on bringing a vehicle, please be aware that vehicle based activities may be limited.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(907) 697-2230

Links