TRIP IDEA

Explore Bartlett Cove and Gustavus

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

bartlett cove shoreline, with mountains in the distance
Duration Multiple Days
Topic(s) Rainforest, Scenic Views, Native American Heritage, Architecture and Building, Lakes, Mountains, Oceans, Trails, Wilderness, Coasts, Islands and Atolls, Glaciers, Animals, Geology, Whales
Activities Camping, Self-Guided Tours - Walking, Arts and Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Museum Exhibits
Type Kid Friendly, Active, Relaxed, Educational, Indoors, Outdoors, Group Friendly
Parks Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

sun sets on bartlett cove
Walk along Bartlett Cove at sunset for a view of the Fairweather Mountains and the Bartlett Cove Public Dock. NPS Photo

Many who visit Glacier Bay only have a day or so to experience all that it offers. There are many activities in Bartlett Cove and the nearby community of Gustavus that will enable you to sample a nice variety of Alaskan paradise. Take in the sunset at Halibut Point, kayak through pristine wilderness, or expand your knowledge at the Visitor Center or Huna Tribal house: There's something for everyone.

Located just 10 miles away from Glacier Bay and Bartlett Cove, Gustavus is the only town with road access to the park. From chartering a plane or boat ride to hopping on the Alaskan State Ferry, most visitors get here by hiring a commercial outfit to reach the park.

Ranger Recommendation
Stay at the Glacier Bay Lodge or Bartlett Cove Campground to experience Bartlett Cove with ease! Adventure is right outside your door (or tent).

Things to Do
  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Kayak the Beardslees

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Kayaking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Beardslee Islands
    • Duration: 1–3 Days
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    an aerial image of the beardslee islands on a clear day

    If you’re visiting Glacier Bay on a budget, one of the more accessible wilderness areas of the park is the Beardslee Islands. Kayak through these peaceful, wild waters and look for wildlife along the shoreline for a true Glacier Bay adventure.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Experience the Huna Tribal House

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Bartlett Cove
    • Duration: 1–3 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    a large building with traditional alaska native carvings on the front at sunset

    Take a walk on the Tlingit trail to see the first permanent clan house in Glacier Bay since Tlingit villages were destroyed by an advancing glacier over 250 years ago.Learn about the Tlingit history of this land, and the current connection they have to their homeland in Glacier Bay.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Camp at Bartlett Cove

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Camping
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Bartlett Cove Campground
    • Duration: 1–3 Days
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Any Time
    a blue tent at a wooded campsite

    The Bartlett Cove Campground is steps away from incredible views of the Fairweather Mountains and the bay. Spend a night in this enchanting rainforest campground and listen to whales from where you sleep.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Hike the Trails at Bartlett Cove

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Bartlett Cove
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    a wooden boardwalk in a dense, mossy rainforest

    Bartlett Cove has the only developed trails in the park. The forests and shorelines offer great hiking opportunities through a beautiful setting and a chance to see all manner of wildlife. Spend some time, stretch your legs, and discover the wonders of the park!

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  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Stop by the Glacier Bay Visitor Center

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Museum Exhibits
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Bartlett Cove
    • Season: Summer
    • Time of Day: Day
    a large building in a forested area on a beach

    Stop by the Glacier Bay Visitor Center to watch a program, join a ranger on a walk, or just explore the exhibits yourself. There's plenty to learn for visitors of all ages.

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  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

    Explore Gustavus

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Arts and Culture
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Gustavus
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    houses along a grassy riverbank

    The town of Gustavus is considered the gateway to Glacier Bay. This charming Alaskan community offers plenty for travelers to explore as they make their way to the park.

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Last updated: March 23, 2018