Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Location and Characteristics
The area was designated a national monument in 1925, and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve was formed in 1980.
Located in southeast Alaska west of Juneau, the park covers 3,284,500 acres, or 5,220 square miles.
| Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140
Gustavus, AK 99826
Website of Glacier Bay National Park at NPS
The park and preserve occupy the northernmost section of the southeastern Alaska coastline, between the Gulf of Alaska and Canada. The Canada-US border approaches to within 15 miles (24 km) of the ocean.
The highest peak is Mount Fairweather, at 15,308 feet above sea level.
It's a marine park, where great adventure awaits by boating into inlets, coves and hideaway harbors. It's also a land park, with its snow-capped mountains, spectacular glaciers, and emerald green forests
Glacier Bay has been the homeland of the Huna Tlingit people for countless generations. Although most Huna Tlingit today live across Icy Strait in the modern village of Hoonah, Glacier Bay remains their spiritual homeland.
Currently glaciers cover 2,055 square miles or 27% of the park. There are 1,045 glaciers in the park, including over 50 named glaciers, seven of which are active tidewater glaciers that calve icebergs into the sea. Most park glaciers originate between elevations from 8,000 to 15,000 feet.
The deepest point in Glacier Bay is 1,427 feet below sea level.
Let's Visit the Park!
Spend a day, or more, and enjoy and explore Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve!
|Map showing the location of Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve relative to other Alaska cities, parks and preserves|
|Close-up view of a beautiful glacier at the park!
Scenes from Around the Park
|The stunning majesty of Glacier National Park & Preserve in Alaska (NPS)|
|Red Paintbrush overlooking Lamplugh Glacier in Alaska (NPS)|
|Sea Lions on South Marble Island (NPS)|
Glacier Bay Visitor Center
For detailed information on the Glacier Bay Visitor Center, status, opening times, exhibits, etc., visit the
or phone 907.697.2627
The park's Visitor Center is located on the second floor of Glacier Bay Lodge in Bartlett Cove, 10 miles from Gustavus.
The center includes an information desk, underwater hydrophone listening station, an Alaska Geographic bookstore, quiet reading area, and a small theater.
Special programs are offered daily throughout the summer; park rangers show films about the park, lead walks, and offer a Healing Totem Talk in the evening in conjunction with the program at the Huna Tribal House.
The Visitor Information Station (VIS) is location a the head of the public-use dock in Bartlett Cove, 10 miles from Gustavus. It features rest rooms, potable water, trash and recycling containers, Alaska geographic books, and maps. Backcountry permits, and orientations for campers and recreational boaters, are also available at VIS.
The Yakutat District Ranger Office is operated jointly in the small town of Yakutat with neighboring Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Map of the Park
Shown to the left is a map of Glacier Bay National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service.
click the image to view maps at NPS
Getting To and Around in the Park
Glacier Bay National Park is essentially roadless. The only road is 10 miles from the small community of Gustavus. Bartlett Cove is accessible by vehicle from Gustavus, but all other areas may only be reached on foot, by boat, or by small aircraft.
Most visitors arrive on cruise ships and tour boats. Gustavus has an airport and is served by Alaska Airlines in summer and small planes all year round. The Alaska Marine Highway provides scheduled ferry service from Juneau to Gustavus.
Since 2011, the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system has provided regular service from Juneau to Gustavus. Although this new option affords both visitors and residents many new opportunities to travel with a personal vehicle, you may not find all the services and amenities one might expect in other road-linked Alaska communities.
National Park facilities in Bartlett Cove were not designed to accommodate visitors with private vehicles, and parking may be limited at times. There are no RV facilities (sites/dump station/hookups/etc.) or vehicle camping areas within the park. However, there is one primitive campground in the park. It is accessible on foot only.
What Weather to Expect in Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay has a maritime climate, heavily influenced by ocean currents. The result is mild winters and cool, moist summers near sea level. Summer visitors can expect highs between 50 and 60 degrees F (10 to 15 degrees C). Winter temperatures rarely drop into the single digits, with average nighttime lows of 25 to 40 degrees F (-2 to 5 degrees C).
Bartlett Cove receives about 70 inches of precipitation annually. You may find yourself thinking it's all coming down during your visit! Good rain gear is essential here. April, May and June are usually the driest months of the year. September and October tend to be the wettest. Keep in mind, these are weather conditions at sea level.
Up in the mountains, conditions are more severe with colder temperatures and precipitation that takes the form of snow.
High in the Fairweather Mountains, over 100 feet of snow may fall annually, making it one of the world's snowiest places.
At any elevation, visitors need to dress appropriately and be aware that the risk of hypothermia is present at any time of year.
| The greens of Summer at Glacier Bay
|Blue sky and blue ice at Glacier Bay National Park (NPS)|
Activities and Lodging in/near Glacier Bay
There is so much to do in Glacier Bay! Visitors enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking, bird watching, flightseeing, rafting, fishing, watching wildlife, wilderness tours, boat tours, and much more! Glacier Bay is also a top-rated cruise ship destination.
Three hiking trails cover 10 miles. The park features 700 miles of shoreline to kayak, camp, and explore.
The Glacier Bay Lodge has 48 rooms and the Bartlett Cove Campground features 33 campsites. There are additional lodging options in the community of Gustavus. In the National Preserve at Dry Bay, there are 3 commercial lodges in operation.
|A variety of colors and textures, and vistas, at Glacier National Park|
| Tour boat launching kayaks at the park
Ice Cave at Glacier NP (NPS)
|Barnacles at low tide (NPS)
|The quiet solitude of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska|
Seeing Glacier Bay by Cruise Ship
Most visitors to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve spend a day in Glacier Bay on large cruise ships as part of a longer cruise originating at a major west coast city. About 80% of visitors to the park arrive on cruise ships.
Cruise ships typically spend a full day (9-10 hours) in Glacier Bay including a stop at a major tidewater glacier. Ships do not dock anywhere in the park.
The spectacular scenery and wildlife of Glacier Bay make it a highlight of any Alaska cruise.
Ships travel into the heart of the Fairweather Mountains for a trip into the ice ages, giving visitors an opportunity to see icebergs and calving glaciers. Brown bears, mountain goats, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, and a variety of seabirds are regularly seen from the ships.
National Park Service park rangers board the ships to provide a narrative about important aspects of the visit, give special presentations about the park, provide kid's activities, staff an information desk, and answer questions.
The number of vessels per day is limited in the summer months. The maximum number of vessels allowed each day include two cruise ships, three tour boats, six charter vessels, and 25 private vessels.
Other Alaska National Parks