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Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
In southeastern Alaska, near Gustavus
Glacier Bay is a 3.2-million-acre wilderness park accessible only by boat or plane. Just 200 years ago a solid sheet of ice covered what is now the bay. In two centuries, the glacial ice has retreated 65 mi and left a newly barren landscape to be recolonized by plant and animal life. You can travel by boat from a lush green rain forest up to the impressive tidewater glaciers and, perhaps, see wildlife along the way, including bears, mountain goats, whales, seals, eagles, and puffins. The site was created as a national monument in 1925 and designated a national park in 1980. The park was designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and a World Heritage Site in 1992.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Fishing, hiking, kayaking (rentals, Bartlett Cove, Gustavus), viewing glaciers by boat. Facilities: Glacier Bay Visitor Center (Bartlett Cove). Book and map sale area. Programs & Events: Ranger-guided hikes, walks, evening programs (mid-May-mid-Sept.). Tips & Hints: Bring rain gear: Glacier Bay gets more than 75 inches per year. Busiest June and July, least crowded Nov. and Dec.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: In the park: Bartlett Cove (walk-in tent camping; free; permit required, see below). ? Hotels: In the park: Glacier Bay Lodge (Bartlett Cove, tel. 907/697-2226 or 800/820-2628; 56 rooms; $149-$219; closed mid-Sept.-mid-May). In Gustavus: Gustavus Inn (Gustavus Rd., tel. 907/697-2254 or 800/649-5220; 13 rooms; $300). X Restaurants: In the park: meals at Glacier Bay Lodge (Bartlett Cove, tel. 907/697-2226; $20-$25; closed mid-Sept.-mid-May). In Gustavus: Bear Track Inn (Rink Creek Rd., Gustavus, tel. 907/697-3017 or 888/ 697-2284; $35; closed Oct.-Apr.). 6 Groceries & Gear: None in park: In Gustavus: Gustavus Building Supply (25 Dock Rd., tel. 907/697-2297), Bear Track Mercantile (Dock Rd., tel. 907/697-2358).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. Glacier Bay Lodge offers daily boat trips to the glaciers. Back-country permits (free) and camper orientation required. Permit required for pleasure boat operators to enter Glacier Bay or dock at Bartlett Cove (June-Aug.). Permit applications are available from park Web site and should be returned no earlier than 60 days prior to the proposed date of entry. Because the number of permits is limited, planning ahead is strongly advised. Permits can be issued for up to seven days. Alaska state fishing and hunting license required. No firearms in park. Hunting in preserve only. No pets onshore except in Bartlett Cove. Leashed pets in restricted areas only in cove. Park open daily. Visitor center open mid-May-mid-Sept., daily 12:30-9.
HOW TO GET THERE
60 mi northwest of Juneau. Flights are available from Juneau, Skagway, or Haines to Gustavus, which is 10 mi by road from Bartlett Cove, the park headquarters.
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve (Box 140, Gustavus, AK 99826, tel. 907/697-2230, fax 907/697-2654). Gustavus Visitor Association (Box 167, Gustavus, AK 99826, tel. 907/697-2475).
Glacier Bay National Park. How to get by car to the Glacier Bay National Park. How to book a room and its price in the Glacier Bay National Park