I’ve been to a handful of National Parks in my existence, but never had I been to one only accessible by boat or plane. Glacier Bay National Park is a highlighted experience through the inside passage of Alaska with many of its visitors arriving by boat.
We obviously arrived by boat, and this full day of adventure was experienced from the comfort of our cruise ship. The ship sailed into this passage in the morning, and spent a large chunk of the day slowly moving throughout the park.
A prime example of how life is often best when we slow down and enjoy the journey.
The history of this park stems back to the late 1700’s, where Captain George Vancouver first created a rough map of the bay. Next up was John Muir, a more familiar name to me, arriving by canoe to study the glaciers. Muir eventually changed America’s perspective of Alaska from a cold daunting place to one of enchanting beauty.
I’d say his description was on point, the beauty was enough to give a Disney princess a run for her money.
Muir arrived in Alaska attempting to prove that his beloved Yosemite Valley was indeed formed by ice many years prior. Today the park is home to a variety of plants and wildlife, with 11 sea reaching glaciers. The remote vastness of this land is one you must see for yourself to truly experience.
While we stayed on the cruise ship, this park has the option to disembark and explore by foot as well.
For our trip, a park ranger came aboard our ship (without our ship even stopping) to provide us with narrated history as we sailed along. The big ticket item of this adventure was spending an hour sitting in front of Margerie Glacier.
The large walls of the surrounding mountains provided such a quiet environment that we could hear the ice calving off of Margerie from miles away.
This was probably the coldest day of the trip, and if you plan to visit in September like I did be sure to bring a warm jacket! You can view the park inside, but it’s not the same as standing on the bow of the ship and soaking it all in.
I did retreat indoors occasionally, spending some time sitting in my favorite area of the ship watching the cold world outside pass me by. I’d quickly make my way back outside once I was thawed to see the vibrant blue colors of the glacial meltwater.
The color of the water is such a deep arctic blue a photograph cannot convey the image quite like the memory burned into my brain. Pieces of floating ice bob like apples in a bucket of water on a sunny fall afternoon. Otters swim round and you wonder how anything could live in water so cold.
Many years ago people also lived at the bases of these glaciers. My poor blood circulation would surely kill me if I had to live on ice. Thankful for the indoor reprieve whenever I pleased, this sailing through Glacier Bay is one I’ll not soon forget. Perhaps someday I’ll return by plane in the warmer months and conquer a hike or two!
Q: Would you rather visit in the heat or cold?
28 thoughts on “Glacier Bay National Park”
another amazing adventure – great pic of you and your dad! What fun memories!! And the all the different shades of blue – swoon!!
So many shades of blue!
Beautiful! LOVE. Hmm…that’s a tough question. I love the heat, but I feel like Alaska is a place I want to visit in autumn, so probably cold then for this particular trip. I would just have to dress appropriately because I am a wuss when it comes to cold temperatures (anything under 70 degrees).
Yea, Alaska is a must in autumn! They have a QUICK turnover with their leaves.
Amazing! What cruise did you take?
Holland America cruise to Alaska with the Denali land departure option. It was amazing. A few posts back has more info!
Thanks! I will check it out!
GiGi Eats Celebrities
Dude, I am shocked you didn’t go exploring by foot despite the cold. Although I do remember you saying how you DID NOT bring a heavy jacket – LOL! And it looks INSANELLYYY cold on that ship! LOL!
Can you guess what I like better- HOT or COLD… I mean, at this point in our relationship, if you do not know this then….. Well FAK.
PS: thanks for the “inside of the boat” pic! LMFAO!
PSS: I have said this before, and I will say it again… You and your dad are TEETH TWINS!
We did not have an option to get off, haha. It would have to be an adventure not on a cruise ship. I would have totally gotten off to walk around if I could! I totally posted that inside photo for you. 😘
Oh the blue water and ice! Like nowhere else on Earth.
My thoughts exactly, at least thus far!
Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
Wow, it looks amazing there! I don’t love the freezing cold, but I think I’d take it over serious heat & humidity. Sweating & being uncomfortable is no fun, but you can always bundle up more!
Yea I’m all about that bundle life!! I prefer these views over the brown dessert, but each has their own unique beauty! Not to say you cant find lush green with heat, but then comes the humidity…NOPE!
BEAUTIFUL!! I actually got to spend an hour in front of that same glacier in 2009. (Holy cow, has it really been that long????) We actually saw a huge 6-story chunk break off and fall into the ocean just a few minutes before we left. It was spectacular!! 🙂 All of your trip posts are seriously making me want to go back… And you KNOW that’s saying something with how much I hate the cold!!! 😉
I love that you saw this too! Fun trip down memory lane! I’d go back with you. 😝
LET’S DO IT!!! 🙌🏻🤓🎉
Awww, you and your dad are so cute, love that last pic! Your pictures are magnifique. If you have not been to many NPs, I highly recommend Glacier NP in Montana. We went this summer and LOVED it. But it is very crowded compared to Glacier Bay. Yellowstone is another fave of ours, we have been 2 or 3 times and it never gets old. – Kat
YES! Those two are on my list! 🙏🏻
Wow, these pictures are stunning and the water is so blue, even though I know it’s more amazing in person.
Ireland, Alaska….where to next?
Hmm, I’d go with heat because then I could go swimming in that beautiful water 🙂 You described it beautifully and I can visual perfectly what you saw. Otters are great animals. Did you know they engage in “group rubbing” where they all just like pet and massage each other? Isn’t that neat?!
AHH I love that otter fact, how cute! I did not know that. The more you know!
These photos are amazing. A few family members have done Alaska cruises and they always recommend doing it at least once in your life!
As far as the question, probably warm! I’m more of a Beach Babe than a Snow Bunny!
I recommend it sososo much!! Your family is right. 🙂
Really making me miss my sailing days. Looks lovely up there. You look so happy!
It was such fun!
Agness of eTramping
Wow! Such an exceptional and picturesque place to explore, Brittany. I would love to explore this national park in winter time as it looks like a winter wonderland!
It does indeed! Such beauty.