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.
The Beardslee Island Group Offers Pristine Scenery and Waters
My wife, Laurie, and I leave Bartlett Cove too late, half an hour after high tide and a noticeable current is already running. Against this ebb tide we must make our way into the Beardslees. The excitement of being here at last, kayaking waters of Glacier Bay, powers our paddles, and we slide easily through the placid waters.The islands and islets are as we had imagined, densely forested with trees, presenting an even, sculptured contour. Many of the low-lying islands have few trees, or trees that are not very tall. At first we attribute this to poor soil nutrients; then it slowly dawns that these islands are new. They have only recently become islands due to uplift, and the forest upon them is much younger than those on islands of higher elevations. We are elated to recognize graphic evidence of rapid geologic change in Glacier Bay.