Glacier Bay National Park is a treasure in the Alaskan wilderness. Its beauty is vast and diverse—spanning 3.3 million acres of glaciers and rugged terrain rich with native plant and wildlife. On any visit to Juneau, exploring Glacier Bay National Park is a must, especially for those who want to feel completely immersed in the natural beauty of Alaska.
Glacier Bay National Park is only accessible by plane or boat, either way you’ll depart Juneau for Gustavus, Alaska and on your journey see some of the most handsome landscapes Alaska has to offer. Once in the park, you’ll view giant tidewater glaciers, snow-capped mountains, sea lions and other marine life and, if you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a humpback whale.
Any visit to Juneau isn’t complete without a stay at our boutique downtown Juneau Hotel. We’re in the best location to explore the city and the surrounding glory of the wilderness. We’re Alaskan experts here and we will always go above and beyond to help you plan your adventure out to Glacier Bay National Park. We’re family-friendly lodging, but with all the high-end amenities for a luxury getaway. Get your reservation on the books and let the exploration begin!
10 Reasons to Visit Glacier Bay National Park this Year
There are some experiences in life that stay with us forever and a visit to Glacier Bay National Park will be unforgettable. You really can’t get more “off the beaten path” than a park that’s only accessible by air taxi or ferry. The most common time to visit the park is in the spring and summer when temperatures are mellow and access is easiest.
Many of the larger cruise lines that travel to Glacier Bay National Park regularly aren’t in operation at this time. However, there are smaller luxury cruises offering tours, air taxis and a ferry from Gustavus, AK. Here are 10 reasons to add Glacier Bay National Park to your itinerary:
- Glacier Bay National Park is the ultimate spot for marine wildlife viewing. Sea lions camp on the rocks out of the chilly waters, whales touch the surface to say hello and puffins nest in crevices along rocky cliffs. If you’re a budding wilderness photographer, Glacier Bay National Park is a master class in content.
- As per this park’s name, there are more than 1,000 tidewater and terrestrial glaciers here. Sadly, most glaciers are receding in the park and all over Alaska, but Glacier Bay is home to two Glaciers (Johns Hopkins and Lituya Bay) that are still advancing.
- There are a few maintained hiking trails in the temperate rainforest of the Bartlett Cove area. The trails vary in length and difficulty. The Forest Trail is only one mile and perfect for families and beginners; while the 8-mile Bartlett Lake Trail is an all-day excursion for more experienced hikers. Keep your eyes peeled for moose and brown bears.
- For those who would prefer freeform exploration, there are miles and miles of shoreline for a casual trek along the water to take in the wildlife and stunning views. In the summertime, it’s especially magical when the beach meadows fill with brightly colored wildflowers.
- The Huna Tribal House flanked with traditional totems of the native people of this land is a rich historical monument and educational center. It’s a lovely spot for visitors to take in the local culture and learn about the land.
- Sea kayaking is one of the best ways to explore Glacier Bay National Park, not only does it bring you an up close (at a safe distance) view of the glaciers, it’s also one of the most peaceful pastimes. Kayak rentals are available, here.
- For a one of a kind rafting expedition along the Alsek River and its major tributary, the Tatshenshini River, group tours are available at Glacier Bay National Park. These excursions will be more than just a day trip and often include camping. You’ll find a list of approved vendors from the Glacier Bay National Park website.
- Sport fishing is another popular activity at Glacier Bay National Park. Both salt and fresh water sources are available. Most anglers are on the search for both Chinook and Coho salmon and halibut.
- Close to 300 species of birds call this area of Alaska home, which fortunately makes for some successful bird-watching. On the beach areas, you’ll be looking for all varieties of shorebirds and gulls, while in the forests listen for woodpeckers and songbirds.
- The adventure of getting here is all part of the allure. Whether it’s by air-taxi, small cruise or ferry, the journey to Glacier Bay National Park is what sets it apart from other national parks. It’s a commitment to get here, making it that much more worth the effort when you get in.
The Best Luxury Downtown Lodging Juneau has to Offer
One of the most important parts of taking these exciting excursions into the Alaskan wilderness is having a comfortable place to end the day and relax. Our downtown Juneau Hotel is the perfect cozy and warm respite from your outdoor adventures. Our modern amenities, spacious and stylist guest rooms and excellent hospitality, come together to give you the ultimate package for your vacation to Juneau.
Allow us to pamper you, starting first thing in the morning with fresh coffee and our gourmet breakfast spread. We love to use local and organic ingredients in our house made granola, waffles and pancakes. Throughout the day we have beverages and snacks available. For dinner, look no further than In Bocco Al Lupo directly next door for fantastic handmade pastas and wood-fired pizza. They’re happy to wrap up orders to go for you to enjoy in the privacy of your own suite. Book your room today at the Silverbow Inn!