How to Visit Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park: The Ultimate Guide - Common Adventures (2023)

Posted on June 24, 2019

Last updated on November 4, 2022

Glacier Bay National Park is a place ofincredible beauty in a remote desert. This is also a place severely affected by climate change and displacement of people. Despite these man-made hardships, this is also a place of hope. It is a place of conversion, reconciliation and cooperation. This is a place to experience the authenticity of our humanity or our important and troubled connection to the earth and each other. It has stunning natural beauty and lots of wildlife.

It is a place that can be visited quickly on a cruise where you can experience some of the beauty.Visiting Glacier Bay National Park on your own gives you the opportunity to delve deeper into this unique place.. You can delve deeper into this beautiful desert, getting to know the people, wildlife, glaciers and the land itself. Make sure you give yourself enough time to spend a few hours experimenting. Maybe take a walk or sit on the beach or take a deep breath next to a giant tree or sit on the lodge's covered patio and enjoy a beer or cup of coffee as the rain pours down around you. Wait to be changed.

  • How to get to Glacier Bay
  • How much does it cost to drive to Glacier Bay?
  • When to go
  • Where sleep(including camp details)
  • Things to do in Glacier Bay
  • Suggested 4-day itinerary
  • Get groceries and supplies
  • what to take

Related:How to visit Alaska without a car

How to get to Glacier Bay National Park?

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Glacier Bay is west ofJuneau, Alaska. It's on a peninsula surrounded by fields of water and ice, and there are no roads in or out! Glacier Bay National Park is only accessible by boat or plane.You CANNOT drive to Glacier Bay! We will talk about both options. The vast majority of visitors to Glacier Bay visit Glacier Bay on a cruise. This post will focus on how to get there if you are traveling alone.

How to get to Glacier Bay National Park by boat?

and thatthe cheapest, slowest and most complicated wayto reach Glacier Bay National Park. It's amazing, super scenic and relaxing as long as you can handle a little logistics and have more time to travel. You can fly to Juneau from Seattle (2 hours) and then take the Alaska Ferry from Juneau to Gustavus and then take a taxi or the Glacier Bay Lodge shuttle from the ferry dock to Bartlett Cove on Glacier Bay National Park (cost for both is approximately $30 round trip). The ferry schedule varies from year to year and is usually posted in February for the upcoming summer season. Usually the ferry goes to Glacier Bay about three days a week.

I've written about this beforetake the ferryall the way from Bellingham, WA. In this post I also talk about how to read the ferry timetable and what is available onboard the ferry. The ferry from Juneau to Gustavus takes 4 to 6 hours, depending on whether or not it stops at another port along the way. If you fly into Juneau and then take the ferry, you will need to take a taxi or rideshare from the airport to the ferry terminal. This costs about $20 each way.

One reason to consider the raft is that you can bring bear spray (see below) and fuel for the camp stove (though you can't use the camp stove on the raft). Getting supplies from Gustavus is a challenge, so it's worth considering. You can always leave these items there and fly back. This is discussed in more detail below under "Food and Accessories".

(Video) Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska) Cruise Port Guide: Tips and Overview

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How to get to Glacier Bay National Park by plane?

and thatfaster and more expensive waygo. It's also less of a hassle, as there are more flight options and you don't have to go back and forth between the airport and the Juneau ferry terminal. You are already at the airport. The first step is to fly to Juneau and the second step is to book a flight from Juneau to Gustavus. The flight between Juneau and Gustavus is in a small plane, making it a fun addition to your adventure!

Please note that light aircraft flights in Alaska are subject to delays and cancellations due to weather. It's important to be flexible and allow plenty of time between Juneau flights (especially on the way back). Alaska Airlines operates a daily flight between Gustavus and Juneau on a jet from early June through late August.

How much does it cost to go to Glacier Bay National Park?

The cost of a trip to Glacier Bay can vary greatly. Glacier Bay National Parkdoes not charge entry. You can visit it for almost free (once you get there) if:

  • Hospede-se no Bartlett Cove Free Campground
  • Skip all the tours in favor of walking and hiking along Bartlett Cove beach
  • Bring your own camping food

I recommend making a budget so you cancheck out some of the highlights, as a trip to Alaska requires you to invest some money!Read all my tips for saving money on your Alaska trip here.

Below are some examples of things to plan for when visiting Glacier Bay National Park:

activityApproximate cost
Travel to Juneau from your locationVaria
Roundtrip Ferry Ride from Juneau to Gustavus$110/person
Travel from Juneau to Gustavus by plane (round trip)$300/person
Taxi or transfer from Gustavus to Bartlett Cove (round trip)$30/person
Glacier Bay Lodge-Zimmer$250-$300/night
Cena no Glacier Bay Lodge$20 to $50/person
Breakfast at Glacier Bay Lodge$10 to $20/person
Showers and laundry facilities for campers$5/each
One day boat trip$230/person
Half day kayak tour$ 100
Tips for Tourist Guides15 - 20% of the trip price

When should I visit Glacier Bay National Park?

Glacier Bay Lodge and Glacier Bay Day Boat Tour (both discussed below) are open fromMemorial Day weekend (late May) through Labor Day (early September). This is the time you want to visit! Outside these hours, visiting Glacier Bay as an independent traveler is not a realistic option.

I recommend visiting early in the season (late May/early June) as it's less crowded. It is also statistically less rainy than in late August and September. It is important to remember that Glacier Bay is a National Parkrain and coldanytime in the summer. Typical summer temperatures are in the high 50s to high 60s, although you may experience warmer weather at times. When planning a visit to Glacier Bay National Park, it is imperative that you are prepared for rain.

Where to stay in Glacier Bay

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There are vacation rentals in Gustavus, but here I'll focus on your two lodging options in the park, as the town is 10 miles away. Definitely stay at Bartlett Cove when visiting Glacier Bay National Park as an independent traveller. You have two options, Glacier Baycabinand Bartlett's Baycamping.

Glacier Bay Lodge is pricey, starting at around $250 a night for a solid, comfortable but basic room. Rooms are located around the lodge in cabins. There are no TVs or CELLULAR COMMUNICATIONS. WiFi is available in the hostel lobby but not in the rooms. The other option is camping at Bartlett Cove Campground, which I highly recommend as long as you have a tent with a SOLID fly.Read my guide to camping in Alaska here!

Camping at Bartlett Cove Campground at Glacier Bay National Park

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Hecampingit's absolutely fantastic. I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. It only has two drawbacks: it's in a very rainy place and it's remote, so if you forget something you'll have to improvise. This is bear country, and the valet has strict campground rules to ensure the safety of bears and humans alike.

(Video) The Most Comfortable Way To See Glaciers | Glacier Bay National Park

When you arrive, go toVisitor information booth next to the pier(and 5 minutes walk from the hostel). They will issue you your license for free and give you an orientation. It is important to be aware of the rules and follow them. the big ones areno food, cooking supplies or toiletries in the tent area(They have food caches that are like sheds where you keep these things, there are several scattered around the camp). The other big rule isdon't cook through your store. The pitches are in the trees and you can cook and eat anywhere on the beach in the tidal zone (so the smells go away when the tide goes out). These are the reasons why camping is great:

  • EsBOOK
  • Novo (2019)composting toilets
  • Fulltake a shower(They're not at the campground, they're a hostel that's a 5 minute walk away) You go to the gift shop and pay $5 and they give you a key for the half hour shower. They also provide you with a towel, soap, shampoo and conditioner!
  • laundryis available (back to the hostel). Costs $2 to wash, $2 to dry
  • covered picnic tablesclose to the pier (not directly at the campsite, but very close, 5 minutes on foot)
  • wash the toiletsin the same location (near the pier)
  • there is a leakgas station for water bottlesI am pier
  • There's a hose andequipment washing stationI am pier
  • garbage and recyclingare available near the pier
  • If you forgot food, didn't bring enough food, don't want to cook, or changed your mind about cooking in bad weather, there's acabin(5 minutes walk) where you can just eat, eat or drink!).
  • The guesthouse also has a lobby with chairs where you can sit and read a book, there is also a small.LIBRARYabove where you can do the same.
  • Did I mention it's beautiful? And far? It's cool?
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Activities in Glacier Bay National Park

1. Boat trip through the Bay of Glaciers

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in my opinion theA day boat trip is a MUST. I'm counting this because it's expensive ($240 per person) and you might be tempted not to, but seriously, it's absolutely amazing! I've never been on a day cruise anywhere in Alaska that hasn't been great, but this one is absolutely amazing! I recommend. One ofThe Best Day Trips You Can Take in Alaska. this is alsothe only way to see glaciers in Glacier Bay,as they are not visible from Bartlett Cove where you are staying.

Glacier Bay is absolutely beautiful without seeing the glaciers, but don't miss it! When the weather is good, you can also see mountains everywhere, but when it's raining, foggy or cloudy, you can still see the mountains.Glaciers at the end of the bay and lots of wildlife! I saw many whales (including some jumping out of the water that I had never seen before, how cool!), two bears, many sea lions, sea otters, seals and many, many species of birds. Great!

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Do you want to book the boat in advance, you can do itHere. It is operated by the hostel. The boat takes a full day, leaving the dock at Bartlett Cove at 7:30am and returning around 3:30am. They offer hot drinks, a clam chowder sandwich, and lunch (a sandwich with fries). Additional snacks, beer and wine are available onboard.

make sure of itDress well for this tripSo you can stay on deck as long as you like. When you're at the head of the bay, close to the glaciers, it's cooler and the boat is fast, so there's a lot of wind on deck, even in warm, clear weather. They also provide you with maps, binoculars and an onboard ranger who will tell you anything you want to know about what you're seeing! They love your questions too!

Related:Best places to see wildlife in Alaska

2. Visit the Huna tribe home

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HeHuna-Stammeshausit is the most unique and important element of a visit to Glacier Bay. It is a place where the story of reconciliation unfolds. In Glacier Bay, the Huna Tlingit are working with the park service to create opportunities for the Huna Tlingit on their land. This is a unique, collaborative effort, and while it's certainly not complete, it's a move in the right direction and incredibly beautiful and hopeful.

There are regular interpretive programs (check with the hostel's visitor center for times) led byHuna Tlingit Kulturdolmetscher. For all the natural beauty, wildlife and solitude of Glacier Bay, this is one of the highlights of a visit to Glacier Bay National Park. I was so grateful for the opportunity to learn about Huna Tlingit culture and witness this impressive art both in and around the tribal home and on the totem poles.

3. Kayak around the Beardslee Islands

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Glacier Bay SeekajakHalf-day and full-day offersHire or kayak tours for a dayaround Bartlett Cove. They don't let you rent and kayak by yourself. Therefore, if you are traveling alone, you must join a tour. You don't need any prior knowledge to participate! They provide you with all the necessary equipment and teach you what you need to know. Full day tour includes lunch.

Paddling offers a different perspective of the water and is a great way to spot wildlife. If you want to plan a multi-day backcountry kayaking adventure, they can help you too!

4. Bartlett Cove Hike

There are a number of hiking trails near Bartlett Cove, the valet has an excellent trail guide.Here.

(Video) Glacier Bay National Park

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Heforest roadit is a short 1 mile loop with minimal elevation changes through the forest and along the beach. This is a good way to get your bearings on arrival or to stretch your legs after the boat ride.

HeBartlett River Trailit's a gentle four-mile loop hike with minimal elevation gain through the woods to the mouth of the Bartlett River. This is a good option for a half day hike.

If you're looking for a longer, more remote adventure, you might choose the Bartlett Lake Trail (10 miles round trip).

5. Tide pool and beach exploration

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Exploring the beach is a great activity, whatever the weather! It's especially fun at low tide (check the tides at the lodge's visitor center or visitor information center near the pier). You can explore the beach for many miles in either direction from the campground and dock area. Just look at the time and distance you ran.

4-day itinerary to visit Glacier Bay National Park

Now that we've covered how to get there, when to get there, and what to do, it's time to put it all together! You can shorten it by doing more in less time or by skipping some of the activities listed above. For example, you can choose not to take the longer hike, or you can choose to fly out of Gustavus the same day you take the boat or kayak tour. Here is a suggestion for a relaxed 4-day itinerary (including trip from Juneau):

  • Label 1:Ferry or flight from Juneau to Gustavus. Set up camp or hostel. take oneWalk along the beach and/or forest path
  • Label 2:One day boat trip, visite aHuna-Stammeshaus
  • Day 3: Half day or full daykayakTrip
  • Day 4: HikeBartlett River Trailor beach, ferry or flight back to Juneau in the afternoon

Supermarkets and supplies in Glacier Bay

The part of your trip that requires the most planning is shopping and supplies. Upon arriving in Gustavus, you will find yourself in rural, remote Alaska.Finding things is difficult and they will be very expensive.. If you have time, I recommend taking the ferry from Juneau so you can gather your supplies (including fuel and bear spray - see below). You can then travel with them on the ferry (you cannot take cooking fuel or bear spray on planes).

One option is to take the ferry to Gustavus but fly back. You can drop off your cooking fuel and bear spray at the trailer exchange at the visitor information center next to the pier.

Another option is to bring freeze-dried food and non-perishable snacks from home. If you're not cooking your own food then you don't have to worry so much about it, just bring some snacks and get going.

If you plan to go hiking or camping, bear spray is a good idea. Bear spray is essentially pepper spray in a larger container. The idea is that you put it on and if you find a bear, be prepared to spray it if it attacks you. It's a personal choice to use it or not, but this is one place you should definitely consider using it. If you're flying in and want to try and buy it when you get there, try calling the valet to see if they have bear spray in return. At the exchange office, campers leave things like bear spray and cooking fuel for you to take with you when you arrive.

There are a few things you can buy in the hostel's gift shop and a few shops in Gustavus (remember it's 10 miles from Bartlett Cove where you'll be staying), but overallIt's a good idea to bring all necessary groceries and supplies..

FullNO CELLPHONES in Bartlett Cove or anywhere else in the park. Wi-Fi is available in the hostel lobby and dock, but not in the campsite or hostel rooms. If you're camping, charging devices is also a challenge (there are a few outlets in the lodge). See the section below for my solution to this.

(Video) A Journey to all 8 of Alaska's National Parks: State of Eight [Full Documentary]

What should I bring to visit Glacier Bay National Park?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases

This is a trip where it is important to be well organized and not forget anything. Moneythis postfor my general Alaska packing list, which is a great Glacier Bay checklist.

Due to the likelihood of heavy rain and the remote location, here are some things of particular importance:

  • waterproof clothes: This is absolutely necessary. Plan for it to rain all the time, and if it doesn't, you might be in for a pleasant surprise! I recommend anyonethis REI waterproof jacket(the one that entersÜbergrößen) that's itMarmot One is available on Amazon(unfortunately there are no plus sizes). Both are very similar and are excellent waterproof and durable. I also recommend waterproof pants because even if, like me, you hate wearing them on hikes, you still want them for sitting in wet clothes and as a bug KINGThey're the most comfortable I've found.
  • Stiefel: waterproof boots are a must. I prefer using it for wet spots.rubber boots how are youwhich are completely waterproof, comfortable to walk on, durable and warm. Hiking shoes would also work well.
  • Winter clothesHat, gloves included - Summer temperatures are chilly compared to most of the US, you don't want to freeze!
  • lighter clothes: It might be sunny! In this case, you want lighter layers.
  • A hat with brim: This is for sun protection, but also so you can use a bug net (Glacier Bay has mosquitoes!)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and lip balm: When the sun rises, it's intense! And when you're in the water, even more intense.
  • If you go hiking10 essential items. This is especially important here as it is in a very remote area.
  • prismatic(The day boat offers some that you can use, but you might also want them to walk around and look for whales in the water)
  • Photo phone accessories.Glacier Bay is a remote location and finding places to charge your phone is a challenge, especially when you're camping. I recommendBring an emergency power source like this, which has three full chargers for my iPhone. Another fun accessory forPhone photography is a tripod like this.(better than a selfie stick and more versatile). I also recommend these waterproof cases for your phone which allow you to use the touchscreen even when your phone is protected in the case.
  • bone spray: This is the one I use and it's great because it has a training canister that isn't pepper spray! Keep in mind that you can't take this on all types of planes, so don't buy it in advance if you're flying into Juneau or Gustavus!
  • A lightweight travel mug: Even if you're not camping, this is great for enjoying your hot drinks on the raft or taking them out of the lodge for a walk in the fresh air. You can also fill it out on the day boat.It's thatI use it and love it, it's light, cheap, durable, keeps things warm for a long time, and can be placed on the outside of your backpack.
  • One or two bottles of water for hikes and day trips. I use Hydroflask insulated metal bottles because they keep the water hot or cold depending on what you need. to get aHere at REIohere in amazon.
  • Apacking lid or garbage bagto pull your backpack (or whatever gear you're carrying) if it's not waterproof
  • analog entertainmentas aLuzin airplane mode with books already on it, other reading material, sketchbook, handheld games, etc. Make sure everything is downloaded so you don't need to be connected to Wi-Fi or a phone signal to get it. I also recommend oneemergency batteryto your phone (and keep your phone in airplane mode, which saves a lot of battery power in remote locations).
  • Any toiletries or personal items you need, prescriptions
  • If you go camping: Lighthouse, camp stove and fuel (no fuel on planes), all cooking utensils you will use, flying tent with REAL stakes, camping mat and sleeping bag.Read all my Alaska camping tips here.

If you are planning a trip to Alaska, check outthis poston the best things to do in the state! If you plan to do thisVisit other national parks in Alaska, read my guide here.

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jennie llamas

(Video) Alaskan Cruise: Glacier Bay National Park

Hello! My name is Jenny, I am a 4th generation Seattle resident who has lived in Alaska for 7 years and still spends a significant amount of time there each year. I have been a tour guide in Alaska and Washington for many years and am an editor for Milepost. I love sharing the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow citizens. I'm so excited to join you on the journey to having your ultimate adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!


What is the best way to visit Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Visitors arrive by boat or plane. They stay at Glacier Bay Lodge or camp in one of the available Alaska campgrounds. Then hike through the rainforest and along the beaches, or kayak Alaska in the calm waters of Bartlett Cove and the Beardslee Islands. But, the best way to see the park is by high-speed catamaran.

How do most people visit Glacier Bay National Park Preserve? ›

Most visitors to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve arrive on cruise ships and do no disembark while visiting the area. The nearby town of Gustavus is accessible by air or passenger ferry.

What is the cheapest way to visit Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Cheapest Transportation to Glacier Bay National Park

As mentioned, Glacier Bay National Park can only be accessed by boat or plane. The cheapest way to get here is to take a ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway.

What is the best time to visit Glacier Bay? ›

Late May to mid-September is the best time to visit. Summer days are longer and temperatures tend to be cooler. While May and June have the most sunshine, the upper inlets can still be thick with icebergs.

What is the best time of day to go to Glacier National Park? ›

Best Time to Hike in Glacier National Park

Iconic trails like the Highline Trail, Hidden Lake Overlook, and Ptarmigan Tunnel are only accessible in the summer. However, expect heavy crowds on hiking trails in the summer. To avoid crowds, arrive at trailheads before 8 AM.

What is the busiest time of the year at Glacier National Park? ›

May through September is the busiest part of the year, with about three million people visiting during each summer season. The parking areas at popular destinations, like Logan Pass and Avalanche Creek, begin filling before sunrise and remain congested for most of the day.

How many days do you need in Glacier Bay National Park? ›

How many days do you need in Glacier Bay National Park? Between getting to Gustavus from Juneau to visit the park and having the time to do a boat tour, you need at least 3 days to explore Glacier Bay National Park unless you are coming on a cruise ship.

Is Glacier Bay worth seeing? ›

Glacier Bay, Alaska: Why You Should Choose a Glacier Bay Cruise. Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many glaciers to see; the scenery includes tidewater glaciers, glassy water, mountains and wildlife such as whales, harbor seals, otters and brown bears.

Is Glacier National Park shuttle free? ›

Shuttle Service

A seasonal hiker's shuttle is offered by Glacier National Park Lodges for a fee. It connects West Glacier, Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, St. Mary, and Many Glacier. Reservations required.

Do you have to pay to drive through Glacier National Park? ›

A park pass is your paid entrance fee to the park and applies to visitors traveling by vehicle, motorcycle, foot, bicycle, etc. A park pass is required to access any entry point within Glacier National Park.

What is the most beautiful part of Glacier National Park? ›

Going-to-the-Sun Road is not only the most scenic drive in Glacier National Park, it's also one of the most beautiful drives in the United States. For 50 miles, this road twists and turns through the mountains and over the Continental Divide.

Can you see Northern Lights in Glacier Bay? ›

The phenomenon, also known as aurora borealis, is rare in many parts of the world, and it can only be seen when the conditions are just right. At Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, however, park rangers captured the moment the sky came alive.

What month is best to see glaciers in Alaska? ›

The best time to take a glacier hike is from May to September when the weather conditions are most favorable. In fact, some of the most famous glaciers in Alaska are best accessed in the warmer months, including popular ones like Spencer Glacier, McBride Glacier, Raven Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, and Holgate Glacier.

What should people look out for at Glacier Bay? ›

Glacier Bay is home to both black and brown/grizzly bears. They are wild animals and should always be considered potentially dangerous. When hiking, lessen your chances of an encounter by watching for bears and bear sign, making noise, traveling in groups, and avoiding travel at night.

How often can you see the northern lights in Glacier National Park? ›

You can see aurora borealis any time of year in Glacier National Park, of course. But in the spring, the nights are a bit longer and darker than in summer, and so it is prime time to catch an incredible light show!

What time of year can you see the northern lights in Glacier National Park? ›

Prime time to catch the spectacular light show is in the spring when the nights are longer and darker compared to summer. From September to April, when it is winter/spring in the northern hemisphere, the sky is also more transparent, making it ideal to see the lights of the north.

Is it better to stay on the east or west side of Glacier National Park? ›

The east side of Glacier National Park is generally drier, cooler and windier than the rest of the park. The base elevation is higher and the valleys are wider. That makes for some epic scenery and outstanding adventuring. Here are some of our favorite spots on the east side.

Do I really need bear spray in Glacier National Park? ›

Do I really need bear spray? Yes. We highly suggest that visitors carry bear spray in the park as Glacier is home to the largest numbers of both grizzly and black bear in the lower 48.

Are there grizzly bears in Glacier National Park? ›

Bear Identification

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is home to both black bears and grizzly bears.

What to bring with you to Glacier National Park? ›

What to pack for your trip to Glacier National Park
  • Sunscreen.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Synthetic layers.
  • Hiking boots and/or comfortable shoes.
  • Extra socks.
  • Camera.
  • Refillable water bottles.

How often do you see bears in Glacier National Park? ›

Just to keep things in perspective, though, bear encounters are very rare. Consider that roughly two million people visit Glacier each year, and more than one million venture into the backcountry. On average, there are only one or two non-lethal bear "incidents" in a given year.

How cold does it get at night in Glacier National Park? ›

The east side of the park is higher in elevation and often experiences cooler temperatures and stronger winds. It is generally 10 to 15 ºF cooler at higher elevations, such as at Logan Pass. Overnight lows throughout the park can drop to freezing, and snow might occur at any time of the year.

How much does Glacier Bay cost? ›

Unlike most national parks, there is NO entrance fee to enter Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Do you need a car for Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Glacier Bay is located west of Juneau, Alaska. It is on a peninsula that is surrounded by water and icefields and there are no roads in or out! You can only access Glacier Bay National Park by boat or by plane. You can NOT drive to Glacier Bay!

Can you walk around Glacier Bay? ›

Explore The Shore:

The long stretch of shoreline south of the Bartlett Cove docks allows for a pleasant stroll. You could walk for miles. An extended hike to Point Gustavus (six miles one way) can be completed in a full day.

Are there any waterfalls in Glacier Bay? ›

The Glacier Bay Waterfalls reside in Glacier Bay National Park near Juneau, Alaska. It is administered by the National Park Service.

Why is Glacier Bay so popular? ›

It's a marine park, where great adventure awaits by boating into inlets, coves and hideaway harbors. It's also a land park, with its snow-capped mountains, spectacular glaciers, and emerald–green forests. From the summit to sea, Glacier Bay's wildness is remote, dynamic and intact.

Is Glacier Bay a must see on Alaskan cruise? ›

The spectacular scenery and wildlife of Glacier Bay make it a highlight of any Alaska cruise. The ship travels into the heart of the Fairweather Mountains for a trip into the ice ages. Watch for icebergs and calving glaciers.

Is there a train ride through Glacier National Park? ›

Glacier National Park Express: 10 Days

This rail journey aboard the Empire Builder kicks off in the Windy City, where you'll enjoy a cruise of the Chicago Harbor. Savor Glacier National Park while touring its most stunning spots, including the gorgeous Two Medicine Valley.

What time do the shuttles start in Glacier? ›

West side: 7 am to 7 pm. East side: 8 am to 7 pm. Last departure from Logan Pass is at 7 pm. Shuttles may operate with reduced hours after Labor Day.

How much does it cost to drive through Glacier National Park? ›


This is a entrance fee for all persons traveling in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle (car/truck/van). The pass is non-transferable. Visitors can enter the park at any time, if the entrance station is not staffed, a self-registration area is available for purchasing a 7-day park pass.

Can I get into Glacier National Park with a senior pass? ›

Please be prepared to show your hard copy pass or digital pass on your mobile device. This pass is only valid for entrance fees at Glacier National Park. If you have an Interagency Annual, Senior, Access, Military, or other valid entrance pass, you do not need to purchase this digital site pass.

Can you drive your own car in Glacier National Park? ›

There are multiple ways to travel:

Drive a personal vehicle. Be aware there are size restrictions. Vehicles, and vehicle combinations, longer than 21 feet (including bumpers) or wider than 8 feet (including mirrors), are prohibited between Avalanche Campground and the Rising Sun picnic area parking.

Can I just drive through Glacier National Park? ›

Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only route through the heart of Glacier National Park. To avoid Going-to-the-Sun Road, you can take Highway 2 south of the park between Apgar and St. Mary. You may also visit Two Medicine or Many Glacier areas without driving Going-to-the-Sun Road.

What town is closest to Glacier National Park? ›

Columbia Falls is the closest legitimate town near Glacier National Park, and the number of options for Columbia Falls hotels has grown a lot within the past few years.

What is the most beautiful hike in Glacier National Park? ›

Best Hikes in Glacier National Park
  • Bowman Lake.
  • Grinnell Glacier.
  • Highline Trail.
  • Iceberg Lake.
  • Pitamakan Pass and Dawson Pass.
  • Ptarmigan Tunnel.
  • Siyeh Pass Trail.
  • Swiftcurrent Pass.
Mar 2, 2023

Is Yellowstone better than Glacier? ›

If you're hoping to do more hiking to reach areas of the park, Glacier is the best choice for you. You'll most likely encounter less people and have more opportunities for exploring the backcountry here too. On the other hand, if you want a wide variety of landscapes to explore, plan a trip to Yellowstone.

Are there polar bears in Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Glacier Bay National Park is home to both brown bears,Ursus arctos, and black bears,Ursus americanus.

Can you look directly at Northern Lights? ›

Auroras appear to the naked eye as a very faint, white glow in the night sky to the magnetic north. Many auroras are totally invisible to the naked eye or can only be seen by looking at them indirectly, i.e. out of the corner of your eye. It is extremely rare to see them in colour with the naked eye.

What do I need to know before going to Glacier National Park? ›

7 Tips for Planning your Trip to Glacier
  • Come for at least five days. A weekend trip just won't do. ...
  • Bring your car. ...
  • Stock up on supplies while you're in town. ...
  • Sign up for activities. ...
  • Get out on the trails. ...
  • Eat lots of ice cream. ...
  • Make new friends.

What month is best to see northern lights in Alaska? ›

The northern lights occur all four seasons of the year, although they are harder to see under the Midnight Sun. The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is between August and April, when less daylight leads to darker night skies.

What is the most visited glacier in Alaska? ›

Out of the over 40 glaciers that make up the Juneau Icefield, Mendenhall Glacier is possibly the most recognizable and one of the best glaciers in Alaska to visit.

What is the cheapest time to visit Alaska? ›

May and September are generally the cheapest times to visit Alaska. These are Alaska's “shoulder seasons” that bookend the peak summer season. May is generally Alaska's driest month with about a 25% chance of rain on a given day, while September has twice the daily chance of rain.

What is the best time of year to go to Glacier Bay? ›

For most people, late June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier, because they want to drive the Going to the Sun Road, raft and fish the rivers, hike the trails, visit the backcountry Chalets, and explore several areas of the park, on both sides of the Continental Divide.

What is a unique way to see Glacier Bay? ›

It's only by arriving by cruise vessel (or taking the park tour boat) that you'll get to fully experience the park by traveling up the 65-mile-long waterway to a glacier and back. Even so, you'll only see a small portion of the park.

Which entrance is best for Glacier National Park? ›

West Glacier, Montana is the most popular entrance to Glacier National Park. Its proximity and easy access to Glacier International Airport in Kalispell makes it the best place to start or end your trip.

Are there bears in Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Glacier Bay National Park is home to both brown bears,Ursus arctos, and black bears,Ursus americanus. Black bears are primarily creatures of woodlands and are found among the forested areas of the lower bay, including Bartlett Cove.

Can you see the Northern Lights from Glacier Bay? ›

This celestial phenomen that we call the Northern Lights is more likely to occur early in the season. And when it does, the pristine dark skies of Glacier provide a perfect backdrop. Anyone lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights in Glacier is instantly captivated.

What is the prettiest part of Glacier National Park? ›

The main attraction in Glacier National Park is the Going-To-The-Sun Road. The Sun Road is 50 miles long from West Glacier on the West Side to Saint Mary on the East Side. The West Side encompasses 35 miles of this Road and will provide you with the more scenic and picturesque drive.

Can you see the Northern Lights from Glacier Bay National Park? ›

Because the nearest city lights are hours away, Montana's Glacier National Park has some of the most pristine night skies for northern lights viewing—so much so, it's been designated an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association.

What is the most scenic drive in Glacier National Park? ›

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a highlight not to be missed during your Glacier visit. The Road spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. During your traverse you will see impressive glaciers, beautiful valleys, cascading waterfalls, towering mountains and colorful wildflowers.

Do you need a ticket for Many Glacier entrance? ›

From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., a vehicle reservation is required for four areas of the park: Going-to-the-Sun Road, the North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. In addition to a vehicle reservation, a park pass is required to enter the park.


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