Paddling Sea Kayaks in Glacier Bay, Alaska
From our Glacier Bay expedition vessel, we can hop into sea kayaks for some paddling fun and to explore the shoreline up close.
Photo by Brian McGilloway
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Cost From:||$4195 see pricing|
|Lodging:||6 nights aboard comfortable 70-foot boat describe|
|Meals:||All meals included|
|Activity:||Hiking / Trekking, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking|
Daily choice of easy or moderate kayaking and walking, 1-4 hours a day
- Experience the wonders of Glacier Bay National Park aboard a private expedition vessel
- Kayak alongside icebergs, walk to massive glaciers and along forested shores
- Incredible wildlife: humpback whales, orcas, seals, brown bears, otters, wolves, and soaring bald eagles
- Anchor in hidden coves, dine on fresh-caught salmon, Dungeness crab, and halibut
Best trip ever! Well balanced between activities and relaxation.Barbara P.—Santa Monica, CA
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
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We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.Email Area Manager
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
Experience the wonders of Glacier Bay the ideal way—on a private expedition vessel with kayaks aboard! This awesome landscape of fjords, glaciers, and towering mountains is simply glorious, and we’ll feel as if we have it all to ourselves as we anchor in hidden coves, walk on massive tidewater glaciers, and kayak through pristine waters. The wildlife is as spectacular as the scenery, with Steller sea lions congregating on rocky islands, harbor porpoises feeding along the shores, and bald eagles peering down at us from giant spruce trees at water’s edge. After each day’s adventures, we return to the cozy welcome of our 6-guest ship, watching for wildlife from the deck during the long Alaskan twilight.
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Gustavus / South Marble Island / Margerie, Grand Pacific, and Lamplough Glaciers
Embarking from Bartlett Cove, we set off into Glacier Bay, John Muir’s “icy wilderness unspeakably pure and sublime.” Our first stop is usually South Marble Island, where we view a large Steller sea lion haulout and a seabird nesting rookery. This is a significant nesting area for a large number of seabirds, including puffins and kittiwake gulls. We voyage past the Margerie, Grand Pacific, and Lamplough glaciers, with their incredible walls of ice. Exploring by skiff among the floating iceberg bits in the calm, mirrored waters here is fantastic. We also explore ice caves, hunt for unusual ice worms, and learn about the ebb and flow of glaciers. At day’s end we return to the welcome of our ship for a glass of wine and a delicious dinner (fresh seafood, of course!).
Johns Hopkins Glacier / Reid Glacier
We cruise into the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet for a look at the Johns Hopkins Glacier, the fastest advancing glacier in the park, listening for the crackle and boom of impending calving. We drop our kayaks into the water and get a new perspective as we paddle amid seals lounging on floating icebergs. A skiff ride ashore and a walk along glacier streams and moraine brings us to Reid Glacier and its towering grounded icebergs.
Bartlett Cove / Dundas Bay / Elfin Cove
After stopping in at Bartlett Cove to replenish our water supply and visit the Glacier Bay Visitor Center, we head to Dundas Bay for a paddle or a beach walk and a chance to learn about the native Tlingit people who once made their home here. The next day we visit the tiny fishing community of Elfin Cove, accessible only by floatplane or boat.
Idaho Inlet / Mud Bay / Gustavus
Paddling the placid waters of Idaho Inlet, we encounter sea otters and watch for bears feeding in the stream. We then cruise to Mud Bay, where we can go tidepooling or paddle our kayaks in the calm waters to peer into a fascinating world of sea stars and sea urchins. On our last morning, we cruise to the rich waters off Point Adolphus to search for the humpback whales who call this home in summer. Arriving in Gustavus in the late afternoon, we bid farewell to our captain and crew and depart on Day 7.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
What the Trip is Like
This trip is Level 1+, Easy to Moderate, but could be slightly more challenging on some days due to possible weather conditions. You should be able to comfortably get in and out of the kayaks as well as the skiff that brings us to the beaches. Each day we kayak or walk for 1-4 hours and explore remote shores and fjords, then retreat to the comfort of the boat in the evening for good food, fine company, and a comfortable bunk. The boat travels a maximum of five hours, and the rest of the time we enjoy our sea kayaking and nature walks. We spend each evening in a different remote anchorage along our journey, and our expedition vessel serves as our mobile base camp.
We cruise a glorious stretch of pristine glacial wilderness, where glaciers crackle in lovely fjords and the sea is filled with whales, orcas, porpoises, and sea lions. Kayaking and shore activities are as active as you like. If you want to kick back and relax on board, that is always an option. Our kayaks are very stable double kayaks and on our kayaking excursions, we are usually very quiet as we like to become part of the landscape so we can view wildlife at their eye level. We also carry a skiff to ferry folks to the beach. The shore landings are either “dry” (where there are rocks or wooden piers to step onto when you disembark from the skiff) or “wet” (which involves stepping out of the skiff into a foot or so of water and wading to shore). Getting out of the skiff for a dry landing is occasionally tricky because the skiff is moving with the waves and the rocks you step onto may be slippery.
Our shore walks are nature walks following the tracks of wolves, bears and moose, learning about our plants and even nibbling on a few. Glacier Bay’s weather is variable but each change in temperature and precipitation brings different adventures. As long as you have rain gear and knee-high rubber boots, you will be ready for whatever the skies bring. Our trips are scheduled for the peak of summer season, when the days are longest, allowing for an incredible range of activities and discoveries.
Departures & Leaders
Prices are for 2013
$4195 (5-6 members)
$4695 (3-4 members)
$4995 (2 members)
Single supplement: 50% of trip cost
more on pricing
Trip Cost Includes:
- Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader
- Accommodations aboard our expedition vessel
- All meals included
- Kayaks, paddles, radios, PFDs (life jackets), and all boat safety gear
- Transfer from Gustavus airstrip to Bartlett Cove on Day 1 and from Gustavus dock to airstrip on Day 7
Trip Cost Does Not Include:Airfare to/from points of embarkation and debarkation of the expedition vessel, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, travel insurance, optional gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as immunizations (if any), and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: $500
150 days prior to departure: 50%
90 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Our Glacier Bay Expedition Vessel
An ideal base for wilderness exploration in Southeast Alaska, our vessel is a highly maneuverable 70-foot cruiser that accommodates up to six guests. There are four guest staterooms, one with two single over/under bunks, two with double beds, and one with a double bed below, with a single bed above. Across the hall are two shared bathrooms, both with showers and vacuflush heads. The boat has a steel hull (perfect for our Glacier Bay cruising), a large main salon with a dining area, plus seating in the wheelhouse, a comfortable way to take in the spectacular Southeast Alaska scenery.
There is also a large foredeck for wildlife viewing, relaxing, and taking photos, and an aft deck perfectly suited for fishing. She carries three double sea kayaks, plus a 16-foot inflatable skiff. Built in 1958 by the Burger Yacht Company of Michigan and recently updated, our vessel is powered by two John Deere engines and cruises at a steady 9.5 knots. Taking full advantage of Alaska’s bounty, meals are prepared simply but are definitely delicious, created around fresh-caught fish including salmon, Dungeness crab, and halibut. Breakfasts are hearty, with a variety of fresh baked pastries, homemade cereals, fresh fruits, and a hot delicacy. Lunches and dinners include a range of cuisine, such as grilled halibut, smoked salmon pizza, and seafood cioppino. If you have dietary preferences, please let us know well in advance so we can have the right ingredients on board to meet your needs.
Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Christine Wyatt, an avid sailor, 100-ton-licensed captain, and accomplished chef, moved to Southeast Alaska from Hawaii 20 years ago in search of adventure. Since moving to Alaska, Christine has worked for the Office of the Governor, the Alaska State Legislature, and was CEO of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce. Her background gives her a wealth of knowledge into Alaska’s colorful political and social history, and she has been around the sea all her life. As a cook, Christine tries to incorporate the plants and other natural ingredients that can be harvested in Southeast Alaska into her meals, and she also loves sharing her passion for photography and kayaking.
Christine is the essence of what a trip leader should be. The work she does to make the trip special for each individual shows she loves showing the riches of Alaska.Teresa G., Milford, MA
Hidden Glacier Bay
Chris is one of a kind—knowledgeable, competent, and very good at relating to all types of people. We felt in good hands.Russ N., Mill Valley, CA
Hidden Glacier Bay