Glacier Bay, Alaska
Positioned on the Alaska panhandle west of Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is managed by the U.S. National Park Service.
Glaciers descending from high snow capped mountains into the bay create spectacular displays of ice and iceberg formation.
In total the park and preserve cover 5,130 sq. miles (13,287 sq. km). Most of Glacier Bay is designated wilderness area which covers 4,164 sq. miles (10,784 sq km).
No roads lead to the park and it is most easily reached by air travel. During some summers there are ferries to the small community of Gustavus or directly to the marina at Bartlett Cove. Despite the lack of roads, there are over 400,000 visitors each year most of whom arrive via cruise ship.Wildlife in the area includes both grizzly and black bears, moose, sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, dall sheep, wolves, Canada lynx, sea otters, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, orcas, minke whales, humpback whale, bald eagles, gulls, waterfowl, and salmon.
This photo and the one below give some idea of the beauty and topography of Glacier Bay National Park.
Note the glacier atop the mountain.
As you can see, this unidentified (former tidewater glacier) has completely retreated. Our guide informed us that this glacier once filled the valley.
A beautiful view inside the park.
Another tidewater glacier, completely retreated.
A cruise ship about to enter Glacier Bay National Park; over 400,000 people each year enjoy this outstanding adventure.
One of the major attractions in the park is the Margerie Glacier, a 21-mile-long (34 km) tidewater glacier located at the deep end of the Glacier Bay. It extends over a width of about 1 mile (1.6 km) and extends upstream for a length of 21 miles (34 km) till its source on the southern slopes of Mount Root, at the Alaska-Canada border.
Margerie Glacier is measured to have a total height of 350 feet (110 m), out of which 250 feet (76 m) raises above the water level and 100 feet (30 m) is beneath the water surface.
As the Margerie Glacier calves, and it does so on a continuing basis, it pushes the krill and small fish to the surface, thus making it an ideal spot for birds. Whales are often seen around this glacier.
Named after John Muir the naturalist, Muir Glacier, as recently as the mid-1980s, was a tidewater glacier and calved icebergs. However, since 1941 it has retreated some 12 km (7 miles) and thinned by over 800 m (2625 ft), so bay water has filled the valley replacing the former glacier ice.
Lamplugh Glacier is an 8-mile-long (13 km) tidewater glacier located in Glacier Bay National Park.
Mount Fairweather is located right above Glacier Bay in the Fairweather Range of the Saint Elias Mountains. It stands at 4,671 m (15,325 ft.) The mountain was named on May 3, 1778 by Captain James Cook, supposedly for the unusually good weather encountered at the time.
An unidentified tidewater glacier, one of the nine within Glacier Bay National Park.
Steller sea lions inhabiting one of the few large rocks within Glacier Bay National Park.