Glacier Bay is a scenic and breathtaking indentation in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
If you’ve had your fill of alpine terrains and hikes through forests, make the trip to Glacier Bay. The great untouched Alaskan wilderness can be reached by cruise ships or chartered flights.
In the 1700s, Glacier Bay was solid ice. Centuries later the glaciers have retreated giving way to the Bay.
Glacier Bay has over a dozen remarkable glaciers, which are the main tourist attraction. Some are terrestrial while others are tidewater glaciers
We’ll tell you all about the best ten places to visit at Glacier Bay.
The Margerie Glacier is a spectacular tidewater glacier flowing from the snowy Fairweather Mountain Ranger and abruptly dipping into the salty sea waters
To reach the glacier, you’ll need to cruise your way through Glacier Bay towards Tarr Inlet. The waters are mystically still and blue. It’s an incredibly calming experience.
Misty fjords may hinder your view of the snowy peaks, but the Margerie Glacier is hard to miss. The glacier is loud and you can easily pick on the rumbling as the glacier calves. The floating icebergs make a great spot to sightsee some seals!
Ask your cruise captain to sail as close to the glacier as allowed. You will be able to appreciate the layers of ice along the glacier built over time.
Mt Fairweather is the highest peak in British Columbia as well as being the center point of Glacier Bay. It was named by Captain James Cook in 1778. The Margerie Glacier flows from the mountains and cuts through marking the valley.
You can view the mountain from your ship. But if you’re feeling exceptionally adventurous the Fairweather Mountain can be viewed by air as well.
Take a biplane or taildragger from the park airport and fly over the misty peaks. The thick snow clouds shroud most of the mountain range but their summits peak above the clouds. You might even be able to glimpse at the sea below!
Trained and professional mountaineers climb Mount Fairweather. The summit takes 12 days to complete and June is the best time to go.
Lituya Bay is a narrow fjord located in Glacier Bay. It’s 9 miles long and 2 miles wide. The bay is notorious for its dangerous hide tides and history of megatsunami.
The fjord was documented in 1786 by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse. He lost 21 out of 26 member crew in the expedition. The lone island in the bay was later named Centolaph in their honor.
Though dangerous, the fjord can be reached on board a ship with an experienced crew. To get to Lituya Bay you’ll need to cross 40 miles of the open sea. Once you cross into the bay, Mt Crillion, Mt Quincy Adams, and multiple glaciers can be seen at the fjord mouth.
John Hopkins Glacier
The John Hopkins Glacier is one of the most breathtaking glaciers in Glacier Bay. Named after John Hopkins University in 1893, it is the only glacier that is still expanding.
You can reach the glacier by ship through the John Hopkins Inlet. It’s a 12-mile long glacier and trails from the Lituya Mountains in the east.
While traversing the bay waters you can appreciate the marine life and occasional seals sunbathing on icebergs.
Tarr Inlet extends northwest from Glacier Bay and spreads between John Hopkins Inlet and Reid Inlet. The inlet ends at the Grand Pacific Glacier.
Take a cruise ship from Glacier Bay to Tarr Inlet and marvel at the breathtaking view of Grand Pacific Glacier, or its remnants. The Grand Pacific Glacier has since shrunk back but you can still admire the sheer magnitude the glacier once had.
Wildlife such as harbor seals, herring gulls, and Kittiwakes can be spotted in their natural habitat.
Nagoonberry Loop Trail
The Nagoonberry Loop Trail is recent and easy in Gustavus, Alaska. It makes for a fitting hike to conclude your trip to Glacier Bay.
The trail will take you through flowery meadows, forests, and the beach. The trail will loop back and end where it started. The trail offers a closer look at the wildlife. You will come across coyotes, black bears, moose, and ravens.
Nagoonberries are also sparingly found along the trail, thus its name.
The Muir Inlet makes the eastern arm of Glacier Bay and extends towards Muir Glacier. Named in 1883 after naturalist John Muir who visited the inlet in 1890.
Since larger vessels cannot easily cross into the inlet, you can kayak or use a small boat and paddle through the inlet.
The Muir Inlet is more than 21 miles long due to the massive shrinking of the Muir Glacier in 1899.
The Reid Glacier is an 11 miles long glacier that drops into the Reid Inlets western front. To get to the glacier you can board a cruise ship or charter plane. The glacier edges are steep and it is surrounded by mountains.
You can enjoy kayaking in the Reid Inlet while enjoying the view of the glacier.
The Chilkat Range is a 71 miles long mountain range in Alaska. It covers the Hoonah-Angoon Area and Haines. The range divides Haines borough and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
If you want to reach the range, you will have to take a boat or flight across Chilkat Inlet from Haines. Once across the inlet, you can travel on foot across the range.
The range is the ideal location for heli-skiing and has been featured in movies and magazines.
South Marble Island
South Marble Island is a small outcropping in the main channel of Glacier Bay. It may seem like an insignificant little island but it’s a haven for Stellar Sea Lions and Guillemot pigeon.
Your tour guide will make a stop a stop at the island so remember to take your binoculars! The wildlife at the island is the main attraction and brings in many visitors.
So what are you waiting for? Make that memorable trip to Glacier Bay before all the glaciers shrink away! The still and calm air of the Alaskan wilderness will soothe you as no therapist does.