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What to do in Glacier Bay

Orlando
posts: 138
reviews: 10
What to do in Glacier Bay

Hi,

I will be in Spokane, WA attending a Photo Workshop in June. I want to fly to Juneau from there and take the ferry to Gustavus/Glacier Bay and stay for three days/nights.

I plan to fly to Juneau on 6/10 and take the 7am ferry to Gustavus on 6/11. I defintely want to take the Glacier Bay Cruise tour and the Whale watching tour. I would also like to visit the town of Gustavus to take some photos, meet people and sample the local cuisine.

I am 60 years old and in good shape. I am an avid amateur photographer and like to hike.

What other tours or activities would any of you suggest? Is it safe to hike on my own, or should I only go on the ranger led hike(s). Any advice on whether to stay in a B&B or the Glacier Bay Lodge? I don't mind biking as long as the weather isn't horrible...

Thanks,

Larry

MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,421
reviews: 24
1. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

You hit the highlights. There are a couple of hiking trails of various lengths that you can use (see the Glacier Bay NP website for details). The whale watching with Taz is great (did that, though our whale sightings that day were just OK). There are some ranger-led hikes/walks but they are usually relatively short. I think you need to be alert when hiking but not paranoid. It is bear and moose territory.

I tent camped when three but I realize that is not for most people. It depends what you want in lodging. Glacier Bay Lodge is convenient but relatively expensive. They might have a 2-for-1 coupon (check Top Questions about Alaska for info on these) for the lodge and/or the tour. If so, book two places on the tour and maybe you can find someone once you arrive to split the cost :-)

I lined up my taxis before arriving just because I knew I had to be in certain places for certain activities and even paid up front once I arrived. Just seemed easier than paying each time, calling each time for the taxi, etc. Iif the weather is nice, biking is an option between the town and Bartlett Cove.

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
posts: 6,923
reviews: 29
2. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

A few other things to do in Glacier Bay are to take a kayak tour, either in Bartlett Cove at the lodge or from Gustavus......and if you are interested in fishing, we saw folks fly fishing in the Bartlett River, there was a pronounced trail that led there, very scenic.........

As for sampling the local cuisine, I would strongly recommend halibut, either fried up as fish and chips or oven baked (covered with sauce that varies by each B&B)......in mid June you may be able to find king salmon, dungeness crab and maybe fresh shrimp on the menu......just ask to make sure it is wild (not farmed) and fresh.....also look for wild berry jams and honeys......

Orlando
posts: 138
reviews: 10
3. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

Thanks for the information. Glad to hear the tour with Taz is good. I've done the tour with Harv and Marv in Juneau and it was fantastic.

Has anyone stayed at the Annie Mae Lodge in Gustavus?

I'm interested in the Kayak tour; However, I've only been kayaking once and it was in a two man kayak with my wife in Orcas Cove near Ketchikan. We enjoyed it but we couldn't keep a straight line and were zigzagging the entire time! Is a one man kayak easier to navigate??

Issaquah, Washington
posts: 3,722
reviews: 10
4. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

You'll find helpful info in the town's web site. (including Taz)

http://www.gustavus.com/

Perhaps you're choosing to take the ferry from Juneau as part of the experience, but you might want to look at flying in. We used Alaska Airlines. The advantage of flying is that you won't be vying for space on the Glacier Bay cruise with all the other ferry travelers. Maybe arrive a day or 2 ahead of the ferry. Just something to look into.

And yes a one-person kayak is much easier to navigate! I went on my first excursion this summer; paddling around Vashon Island ( near Seattle) for 4 hrs. It's much easier to learn and improve your stroke when you don't have to worry about the impact of your partners actions as well. carol

Orlando
posts: 138
reviews: 10
5. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

What can I expect on the ferry ride from Juneau to Gustavus? I was imagining it would be very scenic with some whale or other wildlife sightings and good photo opportunities?? I was hoping the journey to get there would be as good as the destination itself...am I correct?

Thanks,

Larry

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
posts: 6,923
reviews: 29
6. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

Larry we see whales on occasion from the ferry, but it is usually in the distance, you may also see seals or sea lions, seabirds......the scenery will be typical rain forest with waterfalls and glaciers on the mountain tops.......orrr, if it is foggy you can take those very ethereal shots........

Orlando
posts: 138
reviews: 10
7. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

Sounds good to me! Thanks

MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,421
reviews: 24
8. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

>>orrr, if it is foggy you can take those very ethereal shots........

Well, on both of my latest ferry trips (Juneau to Haines to Juneau) it was so foggy we saw absolutely NOTHING. Not a mountain, not an animal, just some water up to 50-100 yards on any side!

Any wildlife you see from the ferry will be in the distance and not really worthy of a good photo, though binoculars will help.

Fritz Creek, Alaska
posts: 5,810
reviews: 58
9. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

It should be safe to hike alone. When I was still a Californian I often did so in the Sierra and many times left the trails to go overland to the streams. When I think back on it I realize how stupid I was. If I got hurt there was no one around to come to my aid. Not only that, the trails were rarely used to boot. So, if you hike alone, be sure it is a well used trail, or have a companion.

Phoenix
posts: 1
10. Re: What to do in Glacier Bay

What to do in Glacier Bay? Too much to list. Fishing (actually "catching", not just "fishing") in streams, rivers, the Bay, or trips to outer coast are available. Biking- most places offer bikes, or they can be locally rented. Hiking- too many trails to list: from beaches to climbs / hike to Fall Creek. Bear watching? Yes there are bears, brown (coastal grizzlies, less aggressive, but still grizzlies) black and cinnamon. Moose? Mostly seasonally. Flightseeing? Both regular or float... Beyond description! Whale watching? Up close and personal in a kayak, fishing boat, tour boat or cruise ship? Up bay kayak trips, Bartlett Cove rentals and several rental companies. Berry picking- strawberry, salmon berry, raspberry, cranberry, blueberry all are seasonal. Golf? Yep, even that. Just too much to list. Although there are several excellent places to stay in every price range, the hidden gem (IMHO): Glacier Bay's Bear Track Inn. Nothing beats the small town friendliness of Gustavus. Want to see it all? 20 years would not be long enough.