Glacier Bay National Park


Feb 1, 2014
My wife thought we should do something special for our 30th anniversary and that special thing would be to go to Alaska. I grew up in the desert and have never been all that interested in Alaska cause I thought it was just a cold wet place. But I've had a number of friends who went there and came back raving about what a great place it was. So I said, "Sure, let's go to Alaska" and she signed us up for a tour. One of the places on the tour was Glacier Bay. I have friends who've been there on cruises and said it was beautiful, but nothing I heard prepared me for how really wonderful it is. I hesitated to post this because I also went there on a cruise ship, and I thought it would be a little like reporting on seeing Rocky Mountain National Park from the seat of an RV. But the fact is, the only way to get to Glacier Bay is by airplane or ship. It is truly remote and I thought that in the end it does fit the category of backcountry even if you're visiting it by cruise ship.

I hope all of you get a chance to visit this wonderful place and, unlike me, that you can work out a way to do some kayaking or backpacking while you're there.


The picture below is looking up the Tarr Inlet.

Margerie Glacier is the icy white appendage just to the right of center in the picture below. Immediately to the right of that is a brown horizontal bar which is the Grand Pacific Glacier. In 1780 a vast ice field protruded a couple miles out into Icy Strait south of what is currently Glacier Bay. By 1794 it had retreated about 7 miles north into the Sitakaday Narrows. And by 1900 the glacier ice field had retreated more than 60 miles north to about the current location of the various glaciers ending at Glacier Bay. The Grand Pacific Glacier is believed to be the principle glacier that had filled Glacier Bay prior to 1780.

Margerie Glacier

Mt. Cooper (6780 ft above sea level) The glacier at the base of the mountain on the left is the Lamplugh Glacier. The mountains to the west get bigger . The tallest is Mt Fairweather at 15300 ft above sea level.

Lamplugh Galcier.
The cruise ship in the picture above gives some scale to the enormous, bigger-than-life size of everything in this place. The picture below was taken from a distance of about 1/2mile. there is a group of 5 kayaks in the water in front of the glacier which will not be visible due to the small size of this picture. But even in a much bigger picture they're barely visible. For a better view see
Johns Hopkins Inlet. Johns Hopkins Glacier is visible in the distance at the center of the picture.Alaska_29g-1.jpg

Reid Inlet and Reid Glacier are in the center of the picture
Leaving Glacier Bay

Many of the pictures are better viewed at a larger size. They can be seen on Flickr at

Featured image for home page:
Awesome. I also saw Glacier Bay via cruise ship. I think about 5 years ago now. My boss paid for the trip. I'll never do the cruise ship thing again, but I totally enjoyed seeing the scenery from our balcony. I hate it when people focus too much on the 'backcountry' in backcountry post. It's all about the outdoors! Please, don't hesitate to post this kind of awesomeness. :)
incredible pictures. those skies were really agreeable to you
Alaska is another world. Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing!
incredible pictures. those skies were really agreeable to you
We were pretty lucky for weather the whole two weeks we were in Alaska. Had totally overcast skies on only two days and it rained on only one day. I think our travels coincided with a high pressure weather system.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Nick Alaska - Glacier Bay, Taku, Skagway, Juneau, etc. Everything Else 7
TheMountainRabbit Ortenburger Lake, Talus Lake, & Glacier Peak (Grand Teton NP) - October 2023 Backpacking 14
Rockskipper Did someone put another monolith on Mt. Wilbur in Glacier? General Discussion 14
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - "The Collector" Hiking & Camping 7
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - BCP Fix Hiking & Camping 11
westy Invite Glacier Peak, Washington Meet Up (Members Only) 2
norwegianxplorer 7 days backpacking Breheimen/Glacier Home National Park in Norway Backpacking 2
ram Glacier Peak July 2021 Backpacking 9
norwegianxplorer Finding Hidden Glacier, 9 days backpacking Jotunheimen National Park Pt3, Norway. Trip Reports 0
chandlerwest Glacier Nat'l Park - August 2021 (Fulfillment of a Dream) Hiking & Camping 9
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - June 2021 Hiking & Camping 8
zionsky Glacier NP to Implement Ticketed Entry for Summer Season Trip Planning 29
forest dweller Invite update / edit - have off second and third week in August - wanting to backpack in Glacier, Olympic or Yellowstone, hinges on finding companions. Meet Up (Members Only) 37
travel2walk trip report: Wind River Range – Ross Lakes, Bear Basin, Grasshopper Glacier, & Dinwoody Creek loop, Aug-Sep 2020 Trip Reports 41
marquiri Anyone Submit Their Application for Glacier Yesterday? Trip Planning 3
Outdoor_Fool Snowshoeing to Castner Glacier Ice Cave, Alaska Range Winter Sports 5
Outdoor_Fool Gulkana Glacier Re-visited Backpacking 4
U Favorite sites in Glacier in North Fork, Lake McDonald or Cole/Nyack? Looking at mid july Trip Planning 2
U Any recommendations for 5 days hiking in Wyoming, Idaho or MT? This is around July 15-20. Not counting on Glacier being open Trip Planning 9
U Glacier North Circle Loop Mid July - Looking for an alternative back-up plan for a 3-4 nighter Trip Planning 0
Mikjik86 FULL Video Part 2 Backpacking Glacier National Park "North Circle Route" Backpacking 0
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park (Part 2 Preview) "North Circle Route" Montana, August 2019 Backpacking 2
E Glacier National Park in Mid July Trip Planning 0
Dave Sperry Soaker (Glacier NP, 2019) Backpacking 10
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park August 2019 Backpacking 3
Mikjik86 Backpacking Glacier National Park - North Circle Route Part 1 Preview Video. Backpacking 1
TeamJenkins17 Few days in Glacier August 2019 Hiking & Camping 0
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - August 2019 Hiking & Camping 20
R 6 day Glacier National Park Trip August 6th-14th Advice Trip Planning 0
NorthwestWanderer 6 Day backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness (3 days of off trail route) Backpacking 9
NorthwestWanderer Poet Ridge - Glacier Peak Wilderness Hiking & Camping 3
chandlerwest Glacier National Park -- June 2019 Hiking & Camping 15
S Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves with Grandma Hiking & Camping 10
N Olympic National Park - Anderson Glacier Trip Planning 2
McKee80 Glacier NP, part 2. North Fork, Sept 2018 Backpacking 11
McKee80 Glacier NP Multi Segment Quasi Northern Traverse Backpacking 19
dfcooper Late September trip in Glacier. Backpacking 2
NorthwestWanderer Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA Backpacking 12
piper01 Glacier National Park, Part 4: Ptarmigan Tunnel and Iceberg Lake (Sept 2017) Hiking & Camping 3
piper01 Glacier National Park, Part 3: Grinnell Lake & Glacier (Sept 2017) Hiking & Camping 1
NorthwestWanderer Glacier Lake, Mt. Adams Wilderness Backpacking 5
ram Mt. Shuksan via the Sulfide Glacier Backpacking 11
Scott Chandler The Chandler Family Get Together in Glacier 2018: Day 5 Hiking & Camping 1
Scott Chandler The Chandler Family Get Together in Glacier 2018: Days 3 & 4 Hiking & Camping 1
Rockskipper Campers escape by driving through wildfire in Glacier NP General Discussion 0
Scott Chandler The Chandler Family Get Together in Glacier 2018: Day 2 Hiking & Camping 7
chandlerwest Glacier National Park - August 2018 Hiking & Camping 8
Scott Chandler The Chandler Family Get Together in Glacier 2018: Day 1 Hiking & Camping 19
T Gobblers Knob in Glacier View Wilderness / Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking & Camping 6
Jimmy Glacier Route Help Trip Planning 0

Similar threads