A Glacial Wonderland
While the Inside Passage is dotted with glaciers, it is not quite as dense as Glacier Bay National Park. Discovered in 1794, British explorer George Vancouver gingerly picked his way between icebergs in Icy Strait. What he happened upon was a massive wall of ice, 20 miles long and 4,000 feet tall!
You can see Glacier Bay National Park by either water or air. Though flightseeing through Glacier Bay provides some perspective on the sheer size of the area, we highly recommend viewing it by boat as well. There are more than a dozen tidewater glaciers melting directly into the sea, with 30 alpine glaciers that have retreated above the waterline. Thousands of seals lounge on icebergs in front of the glaciers while puffins, kittiwakes, pigeon guillemots, oystercatchers, and cormorants circle the glaciers, occasionally swooping down to catch fish.
The gateway to Glacier Bay National Park is the small town of Gustavus. Gustavus is home to the National Park headquarters and offers daily flights from Juneau, Skagway, and Haines. About 10 miles from Gustavus lies Bartlett Cove, the only developed area within the entire national park. Daily cruise excursions into Glacier Bay begin and end here. Though a day excursion into Glacier Bay National Park is possible, we typically recommend an overnight here to fully enjoy all that this area has to offer.