Hotel at a Glance: Glacier Bay Lodge
Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park is stuck in the Ice Age. Or anyway, some of its glaciers are. The park's icy monoliths are remnants of the Little Ice Age which began more than 4,000 years ago. Today, visitors cruise through the park's narrow fjords and harbors to get a closer glimpse of glaciers, rugged mountains, and the wild coastline. Nearby, Glacier Bay Lodge is the only accommodation within the park. Thanks to its harbor-side location, the lodge is a popular jumping-off point for whale-watching, kayaking, and fishing excursions.
- Catch the sunset: The outdoor deck is a prime spot for watching the sun dip below the Fairweather Range and Bartlett Cove.
- Head to the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; entrees include fresh-caught halibut, salmon, and Dungeness crab.
- Take a hike: Several trails start at the lodge. The one-mile Forest Loop Trail winds through a hemlock forest and ends at the beach.
- Local fauna: Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, whales, bears, and birds.
- Cozy up in front of the large stone fireplace in the lobby.
- Exit through the gift shop: Visit the onsite store to pick up souvenirs, locally made crafts, artwork, rain gear, and snacks.
Gustavus, Alaska: Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park
Located about 60 miles west of Juneau, Gustavus lies along the jagged coastline of Alaska’s southeastern panhandle. To call Gustavus remote is an understatement—you can only reach it by plane or ferry. It’s quiet too, with a population of roughly 400 year-round residents. Gustavus is best known as the gateway into Glacier Bay National Park, a 3.3-million-acre swath of mountainous wilderness composed of sprawling glaciers and temperate rainforest. It’s also an important habitat for wildlife such as harbor seals, bears, moose, and wolves. Visitors to Glacier Bay often rent kayaks or hop aboard tour boats to navigate the park’s icy rivers and narrow fjords.
With an abundance of freshwater rivers and lakes—not to mention the nearby ocean—Gustavus is a popular fishing destination. Depending on the season, you can catch Pacific halibut, king salmon, and coastal cutthroat trout. Whale watching is another favorite local pastime. Humpback whales frequent the waters around Gustavus between June and September, although a few stick around for the relatively mild winters.