Glacier Bay is massive, at over 600,000 square acres, and wild, with wet tundra, coastal forests, icefields, and abundant tidewater and terrestrial glaciers. Together, these make hiking a uniquely challenging and rewarding experience. But with the freshest air in your lungs and a massive park to explore, you can’t go wrong.
Other than the hiking trails surrounding Glacier Bay Lodge near Bartlett Cove, there are no established hiking paths or trails inside the preserve. Because of the terrain, most backcountry exploring is done via kayak. However, off trail hiking and backcountry hiking is done, but only by the most well-prepared and experienced hikers.
For hiking the established trailheads, there are three great options:
Forest Loop Trail – This trail is super short, at only a mile, and loops from Glacier Bay lodge, into the forest and back along the coast of Glacier Bay. It’s an easy entry point for the wild beauty of Alaska.
Bartlett River Trail – This half-day, moderately difficult journey brings you through forest, along a lagoon, and ends at the Bartlett River estuary. Many parts of this trail can get muddy, so consider rubber boots.
Bartlett Lake Trail – This unmaintained path branches off the Bartlett River Trail, runs through rainforest and leads, as its name suggests, to Bartlett Lake, a beautiful alpine lake. This trail is about 6 miles round trip.