iStockphoto.com / Ruth Peterkin
DescriptionStretching northward from Cross Sound to the Canadian border, Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most scenic spots in Alaska. In this 3,283,168-acre park, blue-white glaciers flow from the snow-clad peaks of the Fairweather Range to fiordlike inlets.
The park features 15,320-foot Mount Fairweather and Glacier Bay. The bay, about 65 miles long and 2.5 to 10 miles wide, was filled with ice 5,000 feet thick as recently as 200 years ago. The park contains some of the world's most impressive tidewater glaciers. Icebergs that crack off, or calve, from the nearly vertical ice cliffs dot the waters of the upper bay. Boaters are likely to encounter numerous harbor seals and an occasional whale.
This spectacular region is accessible only by plane, boat or cruise ship. Alaska Airlines offers flights from Juneau daily late May through early September. A 10-mile road connects the park headquarters with the small community of Gustavus, where charter vessels and air and boat service to Juneau are available.
An 8-hour boat tour of the bay departs at 7:30 a.m. from Glacier Bay Lodge May 23-Sept. 7 (weather permitting). Phone ahead for schedule and rates. Reservations are strongly recommended; phone (888) 229-8687.
Due to concern for the endangered humpback whale, permits are required from June through August for private vessels to enter Glacier Bay. An Alaska fishing license is required for fishing. Boaters should contact the National Park Service for current regulations; phone (907) 697-2627. A visitor center for boaters and campers, at head of the public-use dock in Bartlett Cove, open daily 7-7, June-Aug.; daily 8-5, in May and Sept. Phone (907) 697-2627.
Glacier Bay National Park Visitor Center, in Glacier Bay Lodge, open daily 11-8, late May-early Sept. Phone (907) 697-2661.
For further information about the park contact the Superintendent, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 140, Gustavus, AK 99826; phone (907) 697-2230.