• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Kayaking

kayaking is the best way to explore Glacier Bay's wilderness waters.
 

Sea kayaking is a popular way to experience the wilderness of Glacier Bay. Kayak trips can originate from Bartlett Cove, or the daily tour boat can transport kayakers via the camper drop-off service. Making reservations for a rental kayak and the daily tour boat is recommended well in advance. If you prefer, guided day and overnight kayak trips are available.

Camper Orientation
All campers (including kayakers) are required to attend a camper orientation, held daily upon request at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station near the dock. This session is for your benefit: to answer your questions, provide you with a tide table, inform you of special wildlife and safety closures or to assist in planning your trip. You will be asked to fill out a backcountry registration form at that time and a wilderness survey form when you return from your trip.

Kayak Rentals and Guided Day Kayaking
The concessionaire in the park that provides guided day kayaking and kayak rentals is Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks, Box 26, Gustavus, AK 99826; call 907-697-2257. There are also other rental outlets in the surrounding area. Please see the Glacier Bay Visitor Services Directory on the Goods and Services page for a complete listing.

Guided Kayak Trips
There are also concessioners who provide overnight kayaking trips in Glacier Bay. Please see the Glacier Bay Visitor Services Directory on the Goods and Services page for a list of businesses offering this service.

Backcountry Dropoffs
During the summer months, kayakers can arrange with Glacier Bay Lodge to be dropped off and/or picked up by the daily tour boat at designated camper dropoff locations up bay.

Additional Reminders
Kayakers are responsible for knowing and abiding by all park regulations.

Watch for strong tide rips-Notably the Sitakaday Narrows, Beardslee Entrance, McBride Inlet Entrance, and the north shore of Adams Inlet. Tide Tables are vital-be sure to have a current one and know how to read it.

Stay at least ¼ to ½ of a nautical mile from tidewater glacier faces. Be cautious near large icebergs-they roll unexpectedly and can flip a kayak.

Kayaks are very difficult to see from cruise ships and other vessels-assume that vessels cannot see you. Watch out for wakes from cruise ships and other vessels.

Never flag down another boat unless it is an emergency. Tides here are extreme, so be sure to store your kayak (and bear canister) well above high tide line.

Safety
Please read the specific page on water safety in the bay. Also, please be familiar with the Basic Park Regulations, many of which apply to kayaking in the bay.

See also:

Did You Know?

Between Snow and Ice

One year of compacted snowflakes creates “firn,” a stage between snow and glacial ice. It takes years of refreezing and recrystallization to result in dense glacial ice.