Glacier Bay National Park is easily one of the most popular attractions in southeast Alaska. In total, this vast wilderness area covers 3.3 million acres as diverse as it is massive. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the many highlights of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and it is part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site. It’s actually part of one of the largest protected areas in the world, and in this vast wilderness, you can expect to encounter rugged mountains, ever-changing glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords.
The easiest way to get to Glacier Bay National Park is via a short plane ride from Juneau. Alternatively, you can access the park via boat. On either end of your trip, make sure you spend a few days with us in downtown Juneau, where there is plenty to see and do. Our boutique hotel is located in downtown Juneau, within walking distance to many local restaurants, breweries, and attractions. From here, it’s easy to enjoy the very best of Juneau! Book your room at our Juneau hotel today!
8 Things to do at Glacier Bay National Park
There are a lot of things that make Glacier Bay National Park such a special place to visit, but chief among them, of course, is the opportunity to experience such unexplored and vast wilderness. The sheer size of this wilderness area is incomprehensible to those who haven’t witnessed it for themselves.
Thanks to the very nature of Alaska’s wilderness, Glacier Bay National Park is also a living laboratory that better equips scientists and visitors with a broad understanding of our natural world. Whether you choose to boat into the inlets, climb the snow-capped mountains, explore glaciers, and hike through breathtakingly beautiful forests, you’ll have a chance to experience southeast Alaska’s wilderness like never before.
Unlike many of the world’s overcrowded national parks, each visitor to Glacier Bay National Park can expect a unique experience bathed in solitude. The park employs a visitor management system that ensures absolute enjoyment of this area and its wilderness, just as you would have experienced it 50 or more years ago. Though you could easily spend weeks at Glacier Bay National Park and still not see it all, here are 10 of the most sought-after experiences in this incredible park:
- Visit the Bartlett Cove area. There’s a great Visitor Center here, which houses some of the largest Humpback Whale skeletons in the world, in addition to other great films and exhibits about the area. There are some great hiking trails in the area, including along the Bartless River and up to Bartlett Lake. At low tide, enjoy exploring the intertidal zone in the cove itself. From here, head out on the Dayboat to explore Glacier Bay, where you’ll enjoy watching wildlife and viewing tidewater glaciers.
- The only maintained hiking trails in the park are in the Bartlett Cove area, but there is plenty of backcountry wilderness to explore, too.
- Enjoy some of the most beautiful kayaking in the world through the waters of Glacier Bay National Park.
- These waters are some of the best for whale watching in southeast Alaska, particularly Humpback Whales. The waters around Glacier Bay National Park serve as a home for Humpback Whales, and seeing these amazing creatures is often a highlight of any trip to this part of Alaska. More than 745 individual humpbacks in Glacier Bay and nearby Icy Strait have been identified since the 1970s. If you’re on the water boating with these incredible whales, make sure you follow proper boating guidelines.
- Beyond whales, Glacier Bay National Park is also home to an incredible variety of other wildlife, including seals, sea lions, nesting birds, bears, and more.
- Take a scenic flight over the outer coast and other hard-to-reach areas of the National Park. It’s a great way to see areas you might not otherwise get to.
- Visit Glacier Bay National Preserve, a remote part of the part that is only reached by flight from Yakutat. This is a popular area for sportfishing and hunting by locals and visitors, and it’s authorized in the preserve. It’s also become an increasingly popular place for rafting and ATV exploration for the adventurous among us!
- Take the guesswork and planning out of your park, and instead enjoy one of the many tours of the national park.
Bookend Your Trip at our Juneau Hotel
Visiting Southeast Alaska gives you an unparalleled opportunity to experience Alaska’s vast wilderness. Whether you’re coming here on your way to Glacier Bay National Park or just want to explore Alaska’s beautiful capital city, there’s no better place to stay than our downtown Juneau hotel. Our boutique hotel offers 12 contemporary guest rooms in the heart of downtown Juneau, putting you within easy reach of the city’s top attractions, including hiking trails, restaurants, breweries, and so much more.
Our downtown Juneau Hotel really does offer travelers the perfect home away from home. Our guest rooms are cozy and comfortable, and we offer a range of amenities not seen at any of our competitors. In the lobby, you’ll find a warm fireplace, couches, books, games, and a regular selection of coffee, tea, cocoa, and snacks that are available around the clock. In the evening, unwind and reward your tired muscles with a soak on our rooftop hot tub – it’s the only one of its kind in town!
No matter when you visit Juneau, make the Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites your home away from home. Book your room at our Juneau hotel today!