Glacier Bay National Park
We already know there’s a lot to see in Alaska – breathtaking landscapes, mountains of immense proportions, wildlife of all kinds – but no Alaska vacation is complete without a visit to Glacier Bay National Park. Occupying a vast area of southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, Glacier Bay is simultaneously a national park, a designated wilderness, a biosphere reserve, a world heritage site, and much, much more.
The park itself covers about 3.3 million acres of wild coastlines, rugged mountains, temperate rain forest, dynamic glaciers, and the deep, sheltered fjords cut by their movement. The main attraction of all this is the parks namesake, Glacier Bay, where 8 glaciers (of the 11 total) reach the sea. Born high in the mountains, these glaciers are the result of ages of snowfall, compressed under the weight of its own vast accumulation, and pressurized with pockets of frozen air caught between the ice crystals. They churn their way down the mountains like giant rivers, digging up rock and silt, only to calve dramatically into the bay.
To see this from the water is truly breathtaking, but access is limited by strict sanctions on entry into the bay by ship. Only a few cruise lines have the necessary licenses, and that access is regulated to no more than two ships per day. If Alaska is on your bucket list, be sure your itinerary includes this one of a kind experience!
About the author
Jeff Sturman is an ACE (Alaska Certified Expert) and the CEO of CruisetoAlaska.com. As an Alaska tour guide he has a wealth of experience and knowledge about Alaska, expanding over 25 years in the business with more than 35 trips to Alaska. He shares his passion for Alaska in this article series “My Favorite Places in Alaska”.