"Glacier Bay is all about Glaciers!!" Top 5 Page for this destination Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Things to Do Tip by mtncorg

  Margerie Glacier in the Tarr Inlet
by mtncorg

The vastness of this national park can only be touched on by the normal person. At the minimum, visitors to the park should take the daycruise out of the park hotel's dock. The bay is composed of two long arms which stretch 60 miles back from the park lodge which is near the mouth of the bay.

The whole story of glaciation becomes evident as the boat goes upbay. 200 years ago, when Captain Cook came across Glacier Bay, the glaciers were all the way down to the bay's mouth. Over time, they have retreated to their present positions, most of the tidewater glaciers being 50 miles away. In the last 200 years, the glaciers have slowly retreated and the land has taken on changes. The oldest uncovered area, near the lodge and the bay mouth is a rain forest. As you go upbay, the trees become smaller and smaller as the soil also becomes thinner and younger, having been exposed much more recently from the ice. Finally, up near the glaciers themselves, the landscape is tundra-like with only small alders as the only trees to be seen.

The wildlife is amazing, even from the tourboat. You will see black bears grizzly bears, whales, birds of all types, seals. My favorite conversation overheard was from a couple of backcountry campers that were coming back. One girl was telling her friends, "Yeah, I looked at the tent door and their was this neat, cool dog sitting there. And then I realized I was in Glacier Bay and there are no 'dogs' up here!"

The boat tour is not cheap - this is Alaska, nothing seems to be cheap up there - but it delivers. It is also a way that campers, cross-country backpackers - be warned that this is rugged offtrail country, and kayakers can access the up bay country. There are several drop-off points where you can get off with your equipment. The boat will pick you back up from the same point again or you can be picked up from another spot. Otherwise, it is about a 3 day journey by kayak from the lodge - one way - to the glaciers and the bay is very large, open and exposed to the elements.

Address: Glacier Bay National Park in SE Alaska
Directions: You fly from Juneau to Gustavus - a little village just outside of the park.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 29, 2003
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