Sea kayaking is an incredible way to experience the vast wilderness and solitude of Glacier Bay. Kayak trips can originate from Bartlett Cove, or kayakers can use the camper drop-off service to begin a trip further upbay, closer to the park's iconic tidewater glaciers. Making reservations in advance for kayak rentals and drop-off services is recommended. Guided day trips and overnight kayak trips are also available.

Backcountry Permits and Camper Orientation

From May 1 to September 30, all overnight backcountry users (including kayakers) must register for a free permit and attend an orientation, held at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station. This 30-minute session is for your benefit: to answer your questions, provide you with a tide table, inform you of special wildlife and safety closures, and to assist in planning your trip. Permit registration and check-out of bear-resistant food canisters can be done at the time of the orientation. Contact the Visitor Information Station at (907) 697-2627 for the orientation schedule and for additional information.

Kayaker Drop-offs

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 upbay. Advance reservations are recommended for kayakers as the number of kayaks the daily tour boat can carry is limited.

Kayak Rentals and Guided Day Kayaking

Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks provides guided day kayaking and kayak rentals and can be contacted at (907) 697-2257.

Guided Overnight Kayak Trips

See the Glacier Bay Visitor Services Directory for a list of authorized companies providing guided overnight trips.

Getting to Bartlett Cove

Bartlett Cove is 9 Miles (14 KM) from the town of Gustavus, where many park visitors arrive via the small airport or the ferry. Transportation to Bartlett Cove can be arranged via local taxi or rental car service. Kayak transportation is available between the ferry dock and Bartlett Cove. See the Gustavus Visitors Association website for local transportation options.

Bartlett Cove Campground

Bartlett Cove Campground

Glacier Bay's only campground is located along the shores of Bartlett Cove

Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks

Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks

Rent a kayak, or take a guided day trip from Bartlett Cove

a kayak sits in the shallow water of the intertidal zone

Tides in Glacier Bay

A safe, enjoyable kayak adventure begins with a solid understanding of tides


Keeping Glacier Bay Wild

Glacier Bay is home to both black and brown bears, and backcountry users should take special measures to keep themselves safe and to keep bears wild. All food and other scented items must be properly stored in an approved bear-resistant food canister, provided by the park at no charge. Learn more about staying safe in bear country.

All backcountry users should follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on Glacier Bay's pristine wilderness.

Additional Reminders

More Resources for Kayakers:

Last updated: September 7, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

Contact Us