The marine wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve provides opportunities for adventure, a living laboratory for observing the ebb and flow of glaciers, and a chance to study life as it returns in the wake of retreating ice. Glacier Bay offers majestic scenery and a connection to a powerful and wild landscape. The 3,283,246-acre park has snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. These diverse land and seascapes host a mosaic of plant communities ranging from pioneer species in areas recently exposed by receding glaciers, to climax communities in older coastal and alpine ecosystems. Diverse habitats support a variety of life including seabirds, marine and terrestrial mammals.
There are three maintained hiking trails in Bartlett Cove near Glacier Bay Lodge; all are fairly easy to moderate walking. Visitors may also take an extended hike from the Bartlett Cove dock along the shore to Point Gustavus (six miles one way) or hike the backcountry along glacial riverbeds or intertidal beaches.
Cruises up the Inside Passage often include a day in Glacier Bay to see the tidewater glaciers, cruise along the shoreline searching for wildlife, and enjoy the scenery. A tour boat leaves Bartlett Cove daily for a nine-hour cruise.
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