As one of the largest internationally protected Biosphere Reserves, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offers natural beauty that at times feels like is disappearing in the modern world. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a highlight of the already stunning southeastern Alaskan wilderness. Scenery includes glacial fjords and mountain peaks that drop directly into the water. The marine park is accessible by boating into inlets, coves and hideaway harbors. Glaciers flow from the abundant snowfall of the surrounding mountains.

The spectacular day of scenery and wildlife is for many, definitely for us, the highlight of any Alaska cruise. Cruisers watch for icebergs and calving glaciers. Bring your binoculars and scan for wildlife…bears, mountain goats, sea otters, harbor seals, and bald eagles. Occasionally a humpback whale or grizzly bear will be visible near a glacier!

How to Get There:

The majority of visitors to Glacier Bay will arrive by cruise ship and boat. The only road is 10 miles from the small town of Gustavus. The Alaska Marine Highway provides ferry servie from Juneau to Gustavus. Only 2 cruise ships, 3 tour boats, 6 charter vessels, and 25 private vessels are allowed in the park per day in the summer months.

Where to Stay:

Glacier Bay Lodge provides 48 rooms and accomodated 7,670 guests in 2016. The Bartlett Cove Campground provides 33 campsites.

brown bear standing on seashore near sea under blue sky during daytime
Photo by Paxson Woelber / Unsplash

Margerie Glacier

Margerie Glacier is one of the few glaciers that is actually advancing. Measuring about 21 miles long and 250 feet high, this glacier is accessible by ship and popular for close-up views of ice calving. At the extreme northwestern end of the bay perpendicular to the Grand Pacific Glacier, this glacier is much cleaner than its harder to access neighbor and one of the most active for ice calving. When ice calving occurs, the sound is similar to a gunshot and the sight truly spectacular!