Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Glacier Bay is one of the largest internationally protected Biosphere Reserves in the world, recognized by the UN as a World Heritage Site. Much of the park is the bay itself, a popular destination for boating, cruising, kayaking and other marine activities.

The shorelines and islands of Glacier Bay today were covered by ice only 200 years ago. Glacial retreat has exposed land around the bay, creating new ecosystems. The land near the mouth of the bay, which has been exposed longest, is home to mature spruce and hemlock forests, and the plants grow younger as you move closer to the glacier face.

Photo of Large Glaciers Calving into Glacier Bay Alaska

The park provides an exciting natural laboratory for scientists, and a huge selection of flora and fauna for visitors to observe, from the 240 species of birds to humpback and minke whales, sea lions and sea otters, and land mammals like moose, bear, and lynx.

Getting There and Around

Much of the park and preserve is only accessible by air taxi, boat or ferry but the headquarters and Glacier Bay Lodge are located at Bartlett Cove, 10 miles from the town of Gustavus.

You can contact the park for more information on getting to the preserve.


Sea kayaking, boating (charter boats and tour vessels), and rafting are all popular activities, as are the usual hiking, backpacking, camping, and mountaineering options open to backcountry devotees.

Flightseeing, bird watching, and sport fishing opportunities (with a permit) are also available.
There are ranger programs and exhibits in Yakutat and Bartlett Cove.

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Summer temperatures are moderate, averaging 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures rarely drop into the single digits. Rain is frequent; April, May and June are usually the driest months of the year.

While weather in Glacier Bay is more temperate than weather in the continental interior, it’s still wise to prepare for a variety of weather conditions.

Website: Glacier Bay National Park

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