Most visitors get to the park on cruise ships that pass through the bay without landing, so those readers can skip the material below. Others begin their visit to the park at the headquarters area at Bartlett Cove, but once there, you're only at the edge of a park with no roads. To go onward into the park, you need some kind of boat.
By Air -- Gustavus is the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, lying 10 miles by road from the Bartlett Cove headquarters. The only practical way to Gustavus is by air. Getting from the Gustavus airstrip to Bartlett Cove is easy. Vans meet planes, charging $15 adults, $8 children 8 and under (both including tax), and carry passengers to Bartlett Cove. It's free if you're traveling with a package tour; also, most of the inns and lodges in Gustavus offer free transfers to the park. TLC Taxi (tel. 907/697-2239) also offers rides from the airstrip to the park or to Gustavus.
By Water -- A summer passenger ferry, the fast catamaran Fairweather Express II, is operated by the park concessionaire, Glacier Bay Lodge and Tours (tel. 888/BAY-TOUR [229-8687]; www.visitglacierbay.com), connecting Juneau's Auke Bay harbor directly to Bartlett Cove. It currently runs just once a week. The boat starts from Bartlett Cove Friday at 4pm, leaves from Auke Bay Sunday at 7:30pm, and arrives again at Bartlett Cove at 10:30pm. The fare is $75 one-way for adults, half price for children 3 to 12. New this year is weekly ferry service to Gustavus. For schedule and details, call Alaska Marine Highway System (tel. 800/642-0066; www.ferryalaska.com).
Contact Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve at P.O. Box 140, Gustavus, AK 99826 (tel. 907/697-2230; www.nps.gov/glba). The Park Service interprets the park mainly by placing well-prepared rangers onboard most cruise and tour vessels entering the bay. The park also maintains a modest visitor center, with displays of the park on the second floor of the lodge at wooded Bartlett Cove. Pick up the park map and handy guide, the Fairweather. Nearby are the park's offices, a free campground, a backcountry office, a few short hiking trails, a dock, sea-kayak rental, and other park facilities. During the summer, rangers lead a daily nature walk and present an evening program.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.