When you visit Gustavus, you’ll be in the heart of nature. You can explore the rainforest at the Glacier Bay Visitor Center, walk the rainforest trails, or even tour the glaciers. You’ll also be close to the National Park Service Visitor Information Center, which is located in Bartlett Cove.
Bartlett Cove is the headquarters of Glacier Bay National Park
Bartlett Cove is home to the park headquarters, a lodge and restaurant that also provides kayak rentals. It is also the headquarters for the park’s rangers, who help preserve and protect Glacier Bay. Bartlett Cove also features a small visitor center and interpretive displays.
Day trips into Denali National Park depart from the dock in Bartlett Cove daily during the summer months. These cruises last eight hours, so plan to arrive early. Those who arrive by plane can book a charter flight to reach the park before the day begins.
The Huna Tribal House opened in 2016 in Bartlett Cove. It features four house posts, carved totems, and cultural interpretive staff. It is also home to a small museum, which features artifacts from the local Native American culture.
Visitors to the park’s headquarters can visit the park’s visitor center. Located inside the Glacier Bay Lodge, it contains an information desk, a bookstore, and an auditorium for presentations on the park’s natural history. Visitors should bring rain gear and sturdy, waterproof shoes when visiting the park.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a vast wilderness area in southeast Alaska, spanning millions of acres of protected coastline and mountainous terrain. It is one of the most popular destinations in the Inside Passage, and offers a number of trip options to explore the park’s stunning scenery.
Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was populated by the Huna Tlingit clan. During the Little Ice Age, these people sustained themselves with abundant resources. After the glaciers receded, the tribes relocated to the area and established numerous fish camps.
A boat trip is a popular way to see the park’s wildlife up close. Visitors should make sure to purchase a permit if they plan to leave the park. The boat trip is the highlight of the park. Be aware, though, that there are no paved roads in the park, so travelers should expect to navigate on a boardwalk.
Private vessels need to obtain a permit to operate in Glacier Bay from June to August. Operators must also notify the park in advance of their plans to enter the bay.
Tracy Arm Fjord
A visit to the Tracy Arm Fjord is a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Alaskan wilderness. The steep fjord walls and low-lying clouds provide an atmospheric and mystical view. The area is close to Juneau, and you can take a commuter flight there during the summer months.
The Tracy Arm Fjord is a 27-mile-long waterway flanked by sharp cliffs. Though Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier attracts most visitors, the Tracy Arm Fjord is an even more striking natural wonder. It’s very narrow, and waterfalls cascade down its steep rock walls. The region is also home to bears, seals, and eagles.
One of the highlights of a visit to Tracy Arm is a round-trip boat tour. The fjord lies within the Tongass National Forest and juts into the Stephens Passage waterway. It’s filled with dramatic views of glaciers and icebergs, which are home to hundreds of harbor seals.
The Tracy Arm Fjord is narrower than Glacier Bay and boasts high rock walls on either side. The narrowness makes it ideal for a cruise because you can see more wildlife and waterfalls along the way. The turn-around point for a cruise in Tracy Arm is at the Sawyer Glacier. You can’t get very close to the glacier on a cruise ship, but some lines offer small boats to get closer to it.
The Tracy Arm Fjord is a beautiful, glacier-carved fjord located 45 miles from downtown Juneau. It’s only accessible by boat or float plane and is home to numerous glaciers and 1,000-foot waterfalls. The scenery here is truly spectacular and worth the trip.
National Park Service Visitor Information Station
Visitors to Glacier Bay can fly into Gustavus, Alaska, or take a ferry to the town. This tiny town is perched on the edge of Glacier Bay, and offers a number of amenities including a visitor center and a bookstore. It is also home to the park’s Visitor Information Station.
Glacier Bay is a great place to view ice formations. Visitors can hike the Forest Trail or take a kayak tour. There are also guided tours led by rangers. The park service Visitor Information Station is located in Bartlett Cove, where you can rent kayaks and go on your own tours of the bay.
The director of a national park may give preference to certain operators for providing visitor services in the park. Applicants should demonstrate that they have a controlling interest in the joint venture, and must maintain consistent visitor services. Applicants should also apply for a renewal of their historical operating rights if they plan to offer services in a joint venture.
National Park Service Visitor Center
For those who love the outdoors and want to see the glaciers, Glacier Bay National Park is one of the best places to visit. Located on the shores of the bay, this national park is framed by the vast, untamed wilderness. There are a number of different activities to enjoy while in the area.
There is a small theater and bookstore at the Visitor Center, and there is also an underwater hydrophone listening station. In addition, daily special programs are offered at the center. Rangers lead guided walks and show films about the park. The park also hosts Healing Totem Talks. Visitors should also visit the Visitor Information Station at Bartlett Cove, where they can get maps and backcountry permits.
There is a humpback whale exhibit near the lodge. The whale’s skeleton is on display. It is important to know that whales are at risk of dying in collisions with cruise ships, but the parks service has an active whale rescue team on site to rescue them. In addition to collisions with cruise ships, whales are also at risk from fishing lines and other sources.
In addition to the National Park Service Visitor Center, there are several other lodging options in the area. Among them are the Glacier Bay Lodge, a 48-room lodge within Glacier Bay National Park. Located about 10 miles from Gustavus, the lodge is cozy and nestled among Sitka spruce trees. The lodge is a good base for daily tours on the park boat.
While you’re at the Visitor Center, you can also learn more about the history of the park by visiting the park’s archivist. The museum’s knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have. They also offer maps of the park’s wildlife and plant species.