Hiking in Glacier Bay is generally a true on-your-own, wilderness experience. Access to the backcountry generally requires a drop-off by tour boat or float-plane. There are no backcountry trails, but beaches, recently deglaciated areas, and alpine meadows offer excellent hiking. Backcountry users should be self-sufficient and fully equipped and provisioned. Cook stoves are necessary— wood is scarce and often wet. Campfires are permitted only below the high tide line. Filling out a backcountry use permit at Bartlett Cove before departure is recommended.
A pack trip in Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve can be an exciting and rewarding wilderness experience if the hiker is prepared for the difficulties and hazards of traveling through rugged, undeveloped land. Because there are no maintained trails within the park, travel through dense brush, across steep scree slopes and across fast and cold glacial streams and rivers can be expected. For most routes, map and compass reading skills are essential. An alternative to going it alone is to signup for a hiking trip in the park with one of the outfitters servicing the area.
Weather in these vast and spectacular mountain ranges can vary to extremes in relatively short time periods. It is best to expect (and prepare for) almost any potential with a variety of layerable clothing (polypropelene, wool or pile), raingear and extra food. Summer snow storms occur at elevations of 4500 feet and above.