Glacier Bay National Park Hiking

gla_hikeHiking 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.

However, There are three maintained hiking trails near Glacier Bay Lodge; all are fairly easy walking. You may find the following gear useful: water repellent footwear, raincoat and hat, insect repellent, binoculars, camera and fast film or tripod. There are no other established trails in the park, and most backcountry travel is by kayak.

Forest Loop Trail
About one mile long, this nature trail begins at Glacier Bay Lodge and ends near the dock. If you are able to walk a mile at home, this trail should be easy. There are a couple of benches along the way. The trail winds through a pond-studded spruce/hemlock forest for one half mile, then descends to the beach. In May and June, when the spring bird migration is at a peak, the trail is full of bird song. June and July are the best times for wildflowers. August is the month for bright mushrooms and blueberries.

Bartlett River Trail
Allow a half day for this four mile round trip. The trail is not difficult but has a few muddy spots during rainy periods. It meanders along an intertidal lagoon, through the forest, then emerges and ends at the Bartlett River estuary. Ducks, geese, and other water birds concentrate during migrations and molting in intertidal areas. Watch for coyotes and bears along the beach, and porcupines and red squirrels int he forest. Salmon run upriver during the latter part of the summer.

Bartlett Lake Trail
This trail branches off from the Bartlett River Trail about one quarter mile from the Gustavus Road. About three miles in length (six round-trip), it winds through temperate rainforest and leads to Bartlett Lake.