Glacier Bay Lodge is the only sheltered accommodation within Glacier Bay. Its upstairs is reckoned a "visitor center," though a single attendant mainly runs the cash register for a small holding of local publications. Some displays otherwise ornament the upstairs loft. Below, a small gift shop and bathrooms give way before an immense dining hall, where resort prices are the order of the day.
Rates for a double room run at $179 in season, but none of these (or few if any) allow an unobstructed view of Glacier Bay -- such a luxury is solely reserved for the diners in the hall or the partly-covered patio without. Rooms are careful blocked by the lodge itself. Glacier Bay's only shower and laundry are accessible to non-lodgers outside the lodge.
What makes it special? Look at the picture! Glaciers tumbling into the sea, mountains craning all around you and the knowledge that you are 60 miles away from the nearest habitation.
Before going out into the backcountry, you will be given a briefing by national park personnel at the Park Lodge. You learn how to use the bearcans that you take along with you. You learn that you don't keep any food or anything with scent inside your tent with you. You learn that you eat within the intertidal zone so that the next tide can wash away all evidence of the meal - by the way, the tides are dramatic in these narrow passageways, rising and falling 20 feet very quickly. Hopefully, you already know most of these things, but it is very useful to go over them again before setting out.
One incongruity is to be broken out of your wilderness meditation by the appearance of the numerous cruise ships. They will be several miles off the shore, but their PA systems will be so loud that you can hear the same or similar spiel from each passing ship - as a kayaker, you become part of the scenery for the cruise ships.
The best things in life can be free.
In general, the camping was amazing but never without a hitch. It seemed you never quite found paradise. One place would be swarming with mosquitos, another presented problems with the kayak and the tides. Still, there were always special moments like a gangly young moose popping out on the beach one day at dusk, only to skurry away once he noticed us.
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