Glacier Bay National Park


Untitled photo

I only recently heard of Glacier Bay National Park after an Instagram post about it found its way into my feed. After doing some research on the location of this park, I realized that this Alaska park is not the same as Montana's Glacier National Park. This national park is relatively off-the-radar, so there aren't many resources out there for those who want to explore it. However, if you are looking for an incredible experience in Alaska with views like none other and wildlife thriving everywhere around you (including bears!), then read on! Explore the beauty of Glacier Bay National Park using this blog post as a guide!

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

How to get there and where to stay:


Glacier bay national park is located in a tiny town called Gustavus. Alaska air operates daily flights between Gustavus and Juneau. Taking the Alaska marine highway is another option. It is a long journey, but the en-route scenery will make up for that. Glacier Bay Lodge, located in Bartlett Cove, is the best place to stay. They offer free pick up and drop off from the airport. We stayed for two nights. Call to book ahead of time because it is a small lodge with limited availability during peak seasons.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Must-do activities:


Glacier Bay Day Cruise is a must-do activity. If you stay at the Glacier Bay Lodge, you can purchase the combo option that covers 2 nights of stay and the cruise ticket. If you book the package, make sure to call the front desk and reserve a seat for yourself on the boat. Buying the ticket does not confirm the reservation for a particular day. National park services offer a variety of ranger-guided hikes. We had time to take part in one of the hikes, and it was an excellent primer for the first timers in the area.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Day 1:


Gustavus is a small town. There is only one daily flight to Gustavus from Juneau, and the airport's tiny size makes for an easy exit once your luggage has been collected. The baggage claim area consists of oversized windows with chutes where they throw bags through them right into waiting hands below!

I had made arrangements in advance, so we could just jump on the hotel shuttle upon arrival. Just fifteen minutes away was our destination: Glacier Bay Lodge. The Glacier Bay Lodge is nestled at the Bartlet Cove in Alaska's Ross Island Region. It is close to the glacier bay entrance. The lodge has an interesting character. The lobby has comfortable seating coupled with fireplaces that will make you feel warm and cozy during your stay. There are wildlife displays featuring taxidermy of native animals from the area – bears, bald eagles, and more! It is perfect for those who are looking forward to an extraordinary experience. It was a long and tiring day of travel. The food at the restaurant is pricey, but it's understandable when you have to pay for the remoteness. Plus, the view from the dining room makes up for the extra price!

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Day 2:


The next day we woke up early, grabbed breakfast, and got ready for our cruise around Glacier Bay National Park. The boat ride started smoothly. Once we settled down, we were greeted by the park ranger on board, an expert in marine biology. He answered any questions related to the glaciers or wildlife. He gave us his usual talk about how fragile these ecosystems are. Afterward, he took questions from curious passengers who were eager to learn more about what's going on inside those vast bodies of ice.

The boat cruised along the shores for the first couple of hours, providing a fantastic view of snow-capped mountains with a foggy shoreline. It made for some truly unforgettable scenery! Margerie & Grand Pacific glaciers are the two main attractions on this day cruise. They were both awe-inspiring sights that are hard to forget! The blue mass of ice towered over the ship. It was such a fascinating view. We were also lucky to witness ice calving! Big chunks of ice fell off into the water below. They were pushed along by waves crashing against them until they eventually toppled onto their side.

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

This tour was also great for wildlife viewing. After leaving the harbor, the first thing we saw was a herd of stellar sea lions with their energetic, cute little pups- jumping out of water and barking. We had the chance to spot and photograph bighorn sheep on top of cliffs. There's no vegetation growing in between the ridges; because of that spotting, these creatures are pretty easy! Near the shorelines, we spotted a couple of bald eagles and puffins flying overhead. With our ranger's guidance, we managed to spot not just one coastal bear but an entire family of them.

Glacier Bay National Park is often regarded as one of America's most beautiful national parks, and now we know why! There are few places where one can witness such spectacular sights of mountains carved by glacial movement over thousands of years, and the fjords filled with icebergs calved off from glaciers!

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

Day 3:


We started the day with a leisurely breakfast. We sat outside on the restaurant porch, sipping coffee while taking in Alaska's nature and enjoying it thoroughly. Eventually, we got up to go for a hike that would take us through some of the most gorgeous scenery you could imagine! One of the most popular outdoor activities in this area is hiking. There are many hikes to choose from, and each one offers a different experience. The first hike we did was called "Tlingit Trail," which starts at the visitor center located on the lobby level of our lodge. This trail takes about an hour round trip with an easy terrain as it winds along with coastline greeneries while offering views of glacier bay every so often too!

After returning from the hike, we packed our bags, checked out, and stored our luggage at the hotel's front desk. We grabbed a quick bite before going for a one-hour ranger-guided tour. We took our time walking on the trail and saw some incredible views of the national park. The forest was filled with lush green trees, moss-covered rocks, and other plants. We were surrounded by greenery as we walked down an easy path that meanders through a verdant world. NPS rangers are always on the lookout for plants and animals that humans have endangered. So, when you take a walk-through with an NPS ranger, be prepared to learn about how they work tirelessly to protect nature from people like us! By the time we came back, a bus was ready to take us back to the airport for our return flight to Juneau.

It was such an incredible experience. If you're looking for a place that's totally worth the money, head to Glacier Bay National Park. You'll be in awe of this incredible natural wonderland!

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In

Original text