Road Travel America ... Home Page

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140 
GustavusAK 99826
Phone 907.697.2230
Website of Glacier Bay National Park at NPS

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.

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
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!
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)
The majesty of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska

Red Paintbrush overlooking Lamplugh Glacier in Alaska (NPS)
Red Paintbrush overlooking Lamplugh Glacier in Alaska

Sea Lions on South Marble Island (NPS)
Sea Lions on South Marble Island at Glacier Bay National Park in southeast Alaska


For detailed information on the Glacier Bay Visitor Center, status, opening times, exhibits, etc., visit the

Website of Glacier Bay National Park at NPS

or phone 907.697.2627

Glacier Bay Lodge, National Park Service Visitor Center

Glacier Bay Visitor Center

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 Xunaa Shuká Hít (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 Glacier Bay National Park ... click to view the map at the National Park Service website

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
The greens of Summer at Glacier Bay


Blue sky and blue ice at Glacier Bay National Park (NPS)
Blue sky and blue ice at Glacier Bay National Park

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
A variety of colors and textures, and vistas, at Glacier National Park

Tour boat launching kayaks at the park
Tour boat launching kayaks at Glacier National Park

Ice Cave at Glacier NP (NPS)
Ice Cave at Glacier National Park in Alaska
Barnacles at low tide (NPS)
Barnacles at low tide at Glacier National Park

Glacier Bay National Park Travel Guide ... TripAdvisor reviews, photos

Things to do in Glacier Bay National Park

Where to Stay: Glacier Bay area hotels and lodging - Reviews and Photos

 

The quiet solitude of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska
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.

Cruise ship sailing through the smooth, blue-green waters at Glacier Bay National Park
Watching glaciers from a cruise ship at Glacier Bay National Park
Watching glaciers from a cruise ship at Glacier Bay National Park

More Information about Glacier Bay

Website of Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve at NPS

 

TravelAlaska.com - Glacier Bay National Park

 

Alaska.org - Glacier Bay National Park

 

Gustavus, Alaska Visitors Association

 

Glacier Bay National Park Travel Guide ... TripAdvisor reviews, photos