Kayaking in Glacier Bay

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 backcountry campers (including kayakers) are required to attend an orientation, held daily on a schedule at the Bartlett Cove Visitor Information Station near the dock. 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 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.
Getting to Bartlett Cove
Bartlett Cove is 9 Miles (14 KM) from the town of Gustavus; the airport and ferry dock. 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.

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. Reservations are recomended for kayakers as the number of kayaks the daily tour boat can carry is limited.

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

Explore Bartlett Cove

Explore Bartlett Cove

The Bartlett Cove developed area provides lodging, camping, hiking, and adventure in a rainforest setting

Camper-Kayaker Dropoffs

Camper-Kayaker Dropoffs

Camper-Kayaker Dropoffs

Laws and Policies

Laws and Policies

Help us protect YOUR national park.


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.

Tides here are extreme (up to 25' every 6 hours), so be sure to pitch your tent and store your kayak (and bear canisters) well above high tide line.

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

Kayaks are VERY difficult to see from cruise ships and other vessels-always 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.

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:

Last updated: September 29, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


(907) 697-2230

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