Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
From the calm, cold waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, observe the massive walls of ice of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Take an inland cruise to the park or hike in the backcountry.
Just 200 years ago, the shoreline of the park was fully covered by ice. Now much of that ice has melted and fewer than 15 tidewater glaciers reach into the waters of Glacier Bay down carved ravines. Kayak carefully along the shoreline or observe the glaciers from a comfortable cruise ship. The waters of the bay often contain floating icepacks. Occasionally the glaciers calve, dropping large pieces of ice from the front of the walls of ice into the sea.
Near the mouth of Glacier Bay, the land is forested with hemlock and spruce trees and colorful wildflowers during the summer. The park has numerous birds, mammals and sea creatures. Look for whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters in the water and moose, deer, wolves, mountain goats and coyotes on land. Follow appropriate cautions around the brown and black bears that frequent the area.
More than 270 species of birds have been sighted in the park, including tufted puffins and murrelets. For a unique year-end holiday experience, join other volunteers during the 20 days of the park’s Christmas bird count.
The Huna Tlingit tribe inhabited this area prior to the most recent glacial covering of the land. See the recreation of a log Tribal House displaying colorful raven and eagle paintings and carvings typical of patterns from these early inhabitants.
Fly from Juneau to Gustavus at the southeastern end of the park or ferry to the visitor center at Bartlett Cove. Enter, set up camp and boat without charge. However, you must obtain free permits for backcountry camping and private boat entry. Although the park is open year-round, many services are operated only from May through September.
Over 50 U.S. national parks have been established to preserve lands across the country for affordable public access. Experience elements of the Ice Age when you visit the fascinating world of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.