Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Guide

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Introduction

Featuring dynamic glaciers, rugged mountains, wild coastlines and temperate rainforests, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is heaven-on-earth for nature lovers. This 5,156 sq. mile national park in Alaska is part of a much larger international protected area; a World Heritage Site. The natural features and landscapes of the park offer limitless opportunities for campers and visitors to enjoy adventures and be inspired.

Wonder where to begin your adventure at the park? The options before you are amazing. You could kayak in the park’s wilderness, stretch your legs on any of the hiking trails that lead to some of the spectacular scenes in the park, or look out for any of the over 280 recorded bird species occupying various habitats in the park. Should you wish to watch the Glacier Bay mountains, waters, and ice from above, then take advantage of the flightseeing opportunities available. If you enjoy hunting and have the required licenses, sport and subsistence hunting opportunities are available. Are you a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be overwhelmed!

There is only one campground in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and it is only accessible by foot. Vehicles and RVs are not allowed in the campground. Pets are allowed in some areas in the park.

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RV Rentals in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Transportation in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Driving

Sitting west of Juneau, Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is accessible by boat and plane, and has only one road (10 miles long) which connects the park to Gustavus town and its airfield. As a result, driving within the park is limited.

Parking

There is a parking area in the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve available for vehicles.

Public Transport

Limited public bus services are available between Bartlett Cove in the park and Gustavus.

Campgrounds and parking in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Campsites in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Bartlett Cove Campground

Bartlett Cove Campground in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a walk-in campground that is only accessible by foot, and cannot accommodate RVs and vehicles. As a result, no RV facilities are available in the campground. Food storage caches and fire pits are on hand in the campground. Due to the abundant wildlife in the park, pets are not allowed in the campground.

Reservations are not accepted for the campground, as sites are available only on first-come, first-served basis. You can stay up to 14 consecutive days in the campground.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Spring

Sport Fishing

Amazing sport fishing opportunities are available in the bay at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. With diverse fish habitats ranging from freshwater streams, to coasts, rivers, and lakes, there are more than enough spots in the park for visitors and campers to partake in the uniquely satisfying fishing experience in the park. Both the saltwater and freshwater in the park host fish varieties. Halibut, salmon, coho, and Chinook are the commonly caught fish in the saltwater, while trout, cutthroat, and Dolly Varden char are the popular freshwater catches.

Kayaking

Kayaking is a popular way of exploring the wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The perfect place to begin the kayaking adventure on the park’s waters is Bartlett Cove. Kayak rentals are available in the park, so you don't need to bring one wit you to enjoy the activity. Note that a mandatory orientation program holds at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station in the park for all who wish to paddle their kayak on the waters. Guided kayak trips are also available in the park, including overnight kayak trips.

Summer

Hiking

The shorelines and forests within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offer great hiking opportunities for campers and visitors who love to stretch their legs. Most of the easy trails in the park begin at Bartlett Cove and provide hikers with good views and wonderful discoveries of the park’s wonders. With more than five different hiking trails that add up to over 13 miles, hikers have so much to see and explore on foot at the park. Besides, rangers also guide campers along some of the trails in the park.

Fall

Hunting

Sport hunting and subsistence hunting opportunities are available at Glacier Bay National Preserve for campers who enjoy such pursuits. Note that only the preserve is open to hunting, and not the park. All who wish to hunt or trap in the preserve must have all the required permits and licenses and obey the state regulations guiding such hunting activities.

Brown bears are common in the preserve, and so all hunters are required to avoid conflicts with them. Black bear, moose, wolverine, and wolves are among the wildlife that call the preserve home.

Winter

Fllightseeing

Ever wondered what the Glacier Bay mountains look like from above? Then you should visit Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and engage in the flightseeing opportunities available in the park. The tremendous expanse and beauty of the mountains, water and ice, when viewed from above is just breathtaking. You get to fly over jagged mountains, spectacular waters, winding glaciers, and wild shorelines and engage in various tours where you can choose your trips and itineraries.

Birding

More than 280 bird species have been recorded in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, making the park a great place to enjoy bird watching. The reason for the abundance and high diversity of birds in the park is that the park features many breeding habitats with plenty of food resources and little or no predators. So, birds usually have a field day in the park. Be sure to watch out for seabirds, songbirds, shorebirds, and land birds in the park.

Birds are usually available in the park all year round, with different species occupying different parts of the park during distinct seasons.

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