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 plants 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 Alaska’s natural beauty.
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 gorgeous 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 fortunate, 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 offer family-friendly lodging and 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
Some experiences in life stay with us forever, and a visit to Glacier Bay National Park will be unforgettable. You can’t get more “off the beaten path” than a park 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.
As you start planning this unforgettable adventure, here are ten things you won’t want to miss in Glacier Bay National Park:
- 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. Glacier Bay National Park is a master class in content if you’re a budding wilderness photographer.
- 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 this land’s native people, 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. It brings you an up-close (at a safe distance) view of the glaciers, and it’s also one of the most peaceful pastimes. Kayak rentals are available here.
- Group tours are available at Glacier Bay National Park for a one-of-a-kind rafting expedition along the Alsek River and its major tributary, the Tatshenshini River. These excursions will be more than just a day trip and often include camping. You’ll find a list of approved vendors on the Glacier Bay National Park website.
- Sportfishing is another popular activity at Glacier Bay National Park. Both salt and fresh water sources are available. Most anglers are searching 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 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 essential 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 stylish guest rooms, and excellent hospitality, come together to give you the ultimate package for your vacation to Juneau.
Allow us to pamper you, starting with fresh coffee, and our gourmet breakfast spread first thing in the morning. 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 Bocca Al Lupo, directly next door, for fantastic handmade pasta 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 our downtown Juneau hotel!