Discover Glacier Bay National Park

Welcome to Glacier Bay National Park, a majestic wilderness sanctuary located in southeastern Alaska, USA. Encompassing over 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, towering glaciers, and pristine fjords, Glacier Bay offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Established as a national monument in 1925 and later designated as a national park in 1980, Glacier Bay is renowned for its stunning vistas, dynamic glaciers, and abundant wildlife.

At the heart of Glacier Bay National Park lies its namesake glacier, a massive river of ice that stretches over 65 miles from its source in the mountains to the sea. Witnessing the calving of icebergs from the glacier’s face is a breathtaking spectacle, reminding visitors of the ever-changing nature of this dynamic landscape. Beyond the glaciers, Glacier Bay is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including humpback whales, sea lions, bald eagles, and grizzly bears, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers alike.

In this explorer’s retreat, visitors can embark on guided boat tours, kayak expeditions, or hiking adventures to discover the park’s hidden treasures and remote wilderness areas. Whether marveling at the icy blue hues of a glacier, listening to the haunting calls of a loon echoing across the fjords, or witnessing a breaching whale in the distance, Glacier Bay National Park promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Alaska’s natural wonders.


Top 3 Facts About Glacier Bay National Park



Glacier Bay National Park covers an area of over 3.3 million acres (13,000 square kilometers), making it one of the largest national parks in the United States.


Marine Wilderness

Glacier Bay is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, recognized for its exceptional natural beauty and ecological significance. The park’s marine wilderness encompasses a complex ecosystem of fjords, islands, and deep-water channels, providing critical habitat for a diverse array of marine life.



The park is home to more than 1,000 glaciers, including the massive Grand Pacific Glacier and the iconic Margerie Glacier, which is one of the most actively calving glaciers in the world.

Camping and transportation in Glacier Bay National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Glacier Bay National Park

Getting to Glacier Bay National Park involves a combination of transportation modes due to its remote location. Here’s how to get there:

  • By Air: The nearest major airport to Glacier Bay National Park is Gustavus Airport (GST), located in the town of Gustavus, Alaska. Several airlines offer scheduled flights to Gustavus from Juneau, the capital city of Alaska. From Gustavus, visitors can access Glacier Bay by boat or air taxi.
  • By Boat: The most common way to reach Glacier Bay National Park is by cruise ship or passenger ferry. Many cruise lines offer multi-day itineraries that include stops in Glacier Bay, allowing passengers to experience the park’s stunning scenery and wildlife from the comfort of their ship. Additionally, the Alaska Marine Highway System operates a passenger ferry service between Juneau and Gustavus, with stops in Glacier Bay during the summer months.
  • By Private Boat: Private boaters can also access Glacier Bay National Park via the Inside Passage, a protected waterway that stretches along the coast of southeastern Alaska. Boaters must obtain permits and adhere to park regulations, including guidelines for navigating in the park’s waters and minimizing their impact on the environment.
  • By Tour Operator: Another option is to book a guided tour or excursion with a local tour operator. These operators offer a variety of tours, including boat cruises, kayak expeditions, and flightseeing tours, allowing visitors to explore Glacier Bay and its surrounding wilderness with experienced guides.

Places to Stay Near Glacier Bay National Park

While there are no campgrounds within Glacier Bay National Park itself, there are several options for lodging and camping near the park. Here are some suggestions:

  • Gustavus: The town of Gustavus, located near the entrance to Glacier Bay National Park, offers a variety of accommodations, including lodges, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Some options also provide camping facilities for visitors who prefer to stay closer to amenities.
  • Glacier Bay Lodge: Operated by the National Park Service, Glacier Bay Lodge is the only lodging option within the park boundaries. The lodge offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and visitor services, making it a convenient base for exploring Glacier Bay. Advance reservations are recommended, especially during the peak summer season.
  • Gustavus Campground: The Gustavus Campground, located near the town center, offers tent and RV sites with basic amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. It provides a rustic camping experience within close proximity to services and attractions in Gustavus.
  • Riverside Campground & RV Park: Situated along the Gustavus River, Riverside Campground & RV Park offers tent and RV sites with full hookups, as well as cabins for rent. The campground provides a scenic setting and easy access to outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
  • Backcountry Camping: For those seeking a more adventurous experience, backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas within the park. Visitors must obtain permits and adhere to Leave No Trace principles while camping in the wilderness.
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Best Time to Go to Glacier Bay National Park



Summer is the peak season for visiting Glacier Bay National Park, with long days of sunshine and mild temperatures. June to August offers the best weather for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

Visitors can take advantage of the extended daylight hours to explore the park’s fjords, glaciers, and hiking trails, or embark on guided boat tours to see marine wildlife such as humpback whales, sea lions, and otters. Summer also brings the opportunity to witness the spectacle of glaciers calving into the sea, creating towering icebergs and thunderous waves.



Winter is a magical time to visit Glacier Bay National Park, with its snow-covered landscapes and serene atmosphere. December to February brings cold temperatures and shorter days, but also opportunities for unique winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and aurora viewing.

Visitors can experience the tranquility of the park’s wilderness areas blanketed in snow, with the chance to see wildlife such as moose, wolves, and ptarmigan against the backdrop of icy glaciers and towering mountains. Winter also offers the chance to experience the park’s stunning night skies, with the possibility of witnessing the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis dancing overhead.



Spring in Glacier Bay National Park brings the awakening of nature after the long winter. During this time, temperatures begin to rise, and snow begins to melt, creating rushing streams and waterfalls throughout the park.

Spring is an excellent time for wildlife viewing, as animals emerge from hibernation and migratory birds return to nest and breed in the park’s coastal habitats. Visitors can witness the dramatic transformation of the landscape as wildflowers bloom and glaciers calve, creating a dynamic and ever-changing environment.

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Must-See Attractions

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Margerie Glacier

One of the most iconic sights in Glacier Bay, Margerie Glacier is a massive tidewater glacier that stretches for miles and towers hundreds of feet above the water. Witnessing the glacier’s towering blue ice and hearing the thunderous sound of calving icebergs is a truly unforgettable experience.

Johns Hopkins Inlet

Located within Glacier Bay, Johns Hopkins Inlet is known for its stunning scenery and impressive glaciers. Visitors can cruise or kayak through the inlet, marveling at the towering walls of ice and the chance to spot seals, sea lions, and other marine wildlife.

Lamplugh Glacier

Lamplugh Glacier is another highlight of Glacier Bay, with its dramatic icefalls and towering seracs. Visitors can view the glacier from the water on boat tours or kayak excursions, or hike to nearby vantage points for panoramic views of the glacier and surrounding mountains.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Glacier Bay National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, activities, and accommodations in advance, and consider making reservations for tours, lodging, and transportation, especially during the peak summer season.

Pack Appropriately

Dress Appropriately

Be prepared for variable weather conditions, including rain, wind, and cold temperatures, even in the summer months. Dress in layers and bring waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking shoes, and a hat and gloves for protection against the elements.

Respect Wildlife

Stay Bear Aware

Be aware of the presence of bears and other wildlife in the park, and follow safety guidelines to avoid encounters. Store food properly, make noise while hiking to alert bears of your presence, and carry bear spray for added protection.

Stay Informed

Be Mindful of Wildlife Regulations

Familiarize yourself with park regulations regarding wildlife viewing, fishing, camping, and boating, and be sure to obtain any necessary permits or licenses before engaging in these activities.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Glacier Bay National Park

Visitors can access Glacier Bay National Park by boat or plane. The nearest major airport is Gustavus Airport (GST), and transportation options from there include passenger ferries, private boats, or air taxis.

The best time to visit Glacier Bay National Park is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is milder, and most park activities and facilities are open.

Yes, Glacier Bay National Park is known for its impressive glaciers, including the iconic Margerie Glacier and Lamplugh Glacier. Visitors can view these glaciers from boats, kayaks, or hiking trails.

Yes, Glacier Bay National Park offers a variety of hiking trails for visitors of all skill levels, ranging from short nature walks to more challenging backcountry treks. Trail maps and information are available at the visitor center.

Visitors to Glacier Bay National Park should pack clothing suitable for variable weather conditions, including rain gear, warm layers, and sturdy hiking shoes. Other essential items include sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars, and a camera for capturing the park’s stunning scenery and wildlife.

Yes, fishing is permitted in certain areas of Glacier Bay National Park, subject to park regulations and Alaska state fishing laws. Visitors must obtain a valid fishing license and adhere to catch limits and other regulations.

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