Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a national park located in southeast Alaska, United States. The center of the park is near the site of Gustavus and about 90 miles northwest of Juneau.
Glacier Park ranges from 17 glaciers to snow-capped mountains, coastlines with sheltered bays, beaches, and deep fjords, such as Tarr Inlet, a fjord located northeast of Glacier Bay National Park in the Alaskan Panhandle. It is located near Johns Hookins Inlet Glacier and Rend Inlet Glacier. Many miles of waterways, canals, bays and rocky beaches criss-cross the National Park.
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One-fifth of the park consists of marine waters. A variety of marine life call this home such as humpback whales, killer whales, gray whales, sea otters, dolphins, sea lions, seals and sea otters. But bears, wolves, moose and white-tailed eagles are also at home here.
Glacier Bay ‘s shoreline consists of rocky tides with shrubby vegetation. The Glacier Bay Fjord complex forms a Y-shaped bay, up to 15 miles wide and 63 miles long. Access to the bay is only possible by sea. Overall, the national park has a size of 13,300 square kilometers consisting of ice.
At Glacier Bay you can experience a true natural spectacle when high chunks of ice break off from the glaciers and fall into the water.
On February 25, 1925, Alaska Glacier Bay was declared a national monument to protect the glaciers. In 1939 further areas were added to the memorial. In 1980, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act expanded the national park by 2,100 km² and now covers an area of 13,287 km². 10,784 km² are designated as wilderness areas.
In a small part west of the national park there is a National Preserve where hunting is permitted.
Glacier Bay National Park is classified as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The glaciers of the national park are very important for science, they tell the story of about 4000 years old, smaller ice age and show the first signs of human settlement about 10,000 years ago.
The glaciers were explored by Captain George Vancouver in 1794. At that time there was a lot of ice. 100 years later, naturalist John Muir found that glaciers had receded sharply. Glaciers aren’t receding that fast these days. The two glaciers are still moving: The Johns Hopkins Glacier and the Margerie Glacier.
Glacier Bay is visited annually by many visitors, mainly on cruise ships. Few visitors visit Glacier Bay National Park through the site of Gustavus. Gustavus also provides access to the visitor center, campground and the park’s only hotel, Glacier Bay Lodge.
There are four trails at Bartlett Cove near Glacier Bay Lodge, all fairly easy to walk. Further exploration through the national park will be experienced by kayak.
If you are visiting the national park and not just observing from the cruise ship then you can do activities such as kayaking, glacier and whale watching, fishing and rafting. However, visitors should be aware that they are in the land of bears and mooses.
Glacier NP is open all year round. Most visitors come from late May to mid-September, when the accommodations and Glacier Bay Lodge are operational.
Glacier Bay National Park Visitor Center
The National Park Service information booth and a variety of exhibits showcasing the wonders of Glacier Bay are located on the second floor of Glacier Bay Lodge. A park ranger is at the information desk daily from 12:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Climate & weather in Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park consists of three climate zones: the outer coast along the Gulf of Alaska has milder temperatures and more precipitation with less snow. Upper Glacier Bay is much colder and snowier, and lower Glacier Bay has heavy rainfall year-round.
Another very interesting national park is Denali National Park in Alaska.
Address of the attraction Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park