Rare opportunity to kayak and camp in one of America’s most stunning national parks
This is one of the classic sea kayak expeditions in Alaska! Glacier Bay National Park has it all—glaciers that calve enormous icebergs, an ocean teeming with humpback whales, sea otters, orca, seals, and sea lions. This National Park is home to a healthy population of both black and brown bears. The calm, glassy seas of the inside passage mirror and magnify the grand panorama of the Alaskan landscape. The National Park Service strictly limits camping—MTS holds these rare permits— making this a peaceful, spacious camping experience. This is a true expedition-style journey where we will pack our kayaks, move camp, and paddle 50 miles of Glacier
Bay’s diverse shoreline, experiencing new plant and animal habitats every day. And your first-class MTS guides will be there to enhance your understanding of this all too rare wilderness, making the magic of Glacier Bay come alive for you. So whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned paddler, this is a not-to-be-missed trip of a lifetime.
6 days moderate sea kayaking, easy to moderate day hikes
- Enjoy a sea kayaking expediton and wilderness camping in Glacier Bay National Park's West Arm
- Experience magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife, including the endangered humpback whale
- Paddle around icebergs and hike to the face of awesome tidewater glaciers
- MTS holds rare permits to camp inside of the national park
Duration: 7 days Start Location: Juneau End Location: JuneauDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Juneau to Gustavus
Travel to Juneau, Alaska, and meet your Mountain Travel Sobek/Alaska Discovery representative and other guests at the Air Excursions ticket desk at 3:30 pm. We’ll then board a plane for the flight to Gustavus, the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, where we'll transfer to a cozy lodge. After settling in, we’ll gather for a trip orientation with our guide. You will learn about bear-country camping techniques, and be issued rain gear and rubber boots. Dinner and lodging are included this evening.
Day 2 : Arrive in Glacier Bay
After an early breakfast we will board a boat for a spectacular ride into the West Arm of Glacier Bay National Park. The scenery changes dramatically as we leave the lush forests of Bartlett Cove behind and enter a land still under the influence of the Little Ice Age. We’ll be dropped off in the remote upper west arm, where we’ll unload gear and have a kayak lesson. By afternoon, everyone will feel comfortable enough with sea kayaking to fully explore the area.
Day 3 : John's Hopkins Inlet
The upper west arm of Glacier Bay goes farther and deeper into the Saint Elias Mountains than any other body of water in the inside passage. The water here is calm as we paddle through the icebergs. Mountains here rise 10,000 feet out of the sea! This day's route passes through one of the most dramatic landscapes in Alaska.
Days 4 - 6 : West Arm of Glacier Bay
We’ll explore the pristine fjords of Glacier Bay by kayak and on foot. Keep your camera ready for dramatic scenery of awe-inspiring 9,000-foot mountain peaks and calving glaciers (you’ll listen to them thunder, crackle, and pop as huge icebergs topple into the sea), and wildlife that may include brown bears, mountain goats, humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, and a variety of sea birds. A flexible itinerary allows for fabulous hikes and serene paddles.
Day 7 : Boat return to Gustavus / Departure
After an early breakfast, we’ll pack up camp, then paddle and prepare for our boat pick up. We'll enjoy a leisurely ride back to the park headquarters at Gustavus—put your feet up and watch the terrific scenery and wildlife as you relax and rest your tired muscles. Once back, we'll transfer you to the Gustavus airport and fly to Juneau. The flight from Gustavus to Juneau is about a half hour, and lands at Juneau’s main airport, where you can connect with your homeward-bound flight. Please schedule your homeward-bound flight from Juneau to depart after 6:30 p.m.
DATES: Best time to go: June - August Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
2014 land cost
Annie Mae LodgeGustavus
The Annie Mae Lodge rests on the banks of the Good River, surrounded by lush rain forest and overlooking the Icy Straits of Alaska's Inside Passage. Started by Annie Mae's 3 granddaughters and now run by her great-granddaughter, the aim of this family lodge has always been to provide traditional country hospitality in a place of exceptional beauty.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Wade Panzich, Alaska Discovery Kayak and River Guide: Wade has lived in Alaska for 7 years, 4 of these working for Alaska Discovery. During the fall, Wade travels the globe searching for the perfect wave. Winters are spent teaching snowboarding in Alaska. Spring and summer finds Wade kayaking and rafting beautiful southeast AK. He has also spent time on the water in the western U.S., Central and South America. All seasons he is an avid backpacker and an aspiring mountain man. Wade’s got some good stories to tell, from hitchhiking across the country to tropical subsistence living, a trip with him will never be dull.
Maureen D'Armand, Alaska Discovery Kayak & River Guide: It might be her childhood in Austria combined with her school years in Alaska that give Maureen her blend of sophistication, charm, and tremendous outdoor skills. She has traveled from pole to pole- from the Arctic to Antarctica. She is building a house in Haines, Alaska, but still lives in Juneau when she is not exploring the rest of the world. As for guiding, Maureen says, "I do not intend to stop anytime soon. My passion to explore is ever-growing."
Shelli Ogilvy, Alaska Discovery Kayak Guide: Shelli was born and raised in Alaska. She grew up in Gustavus with Glacier Bay as her backyard. She has been guiding for Alaska Discovery as a wilderness leader since 1997. She has a deep love for this place and ecosystem, finding peace and joy through sharing the experience of the wilderness. When not guiding, Shelli tries to find time to paint and work on her cabin. She currently spends her winters in New Mexico skiing and eating green chilies.
Tom Schwartz started guiding canoe, skiing and sea kayak trips in Southeast Alaska in 1997 with a non-profit organization for youth in Juneau. He joined the Alaska Discovery team in 2003 guiding trips to Berner's Bay, Pack Creek and Glacier Bay. His experience as a fine dining chef has inspired him to create excellent food in amazing places. Keep an eye out for a wilderness cookbook!
Keith Thompson, Alaska Discovery Kayak Guide: Originally from Pennsylvania, Keith left a job in medical research to pursue his love for travel and the outdoors. He's been involved in a rock and ice climbing business, worked as a bike guide, and traveled extensively throughout North and Central America, and Southeast Asia. In 1999, his travels led him to Alaska where he fell in love with his surroundings. Keith writes, "I found the pristine Alaskan wilderness an inspiration and guiding a way of sharing and learning about this special place." (Bonus: Keith is also a massage therapist.)
Jeff Sloss, Alaska Discovery Kayak, Canoe, & River Guide: Jeff has been a lead guide for Alaska Discovery for over 20 years. He has helped set the high standards of quality and commitment that makes us a great company. Whenever we think of exploring a new area we turn to Jeff to make it happen. In the winter, Jeff teaches skiing and snowboarding in Juneau, works on film projects, and helps raise his two daughters. Jeff is an active conservationist and has lobbied Congress to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Jeff carries a deep love for Alaska onto all of his trips. Jeff writes, "Among the high points of this career are experiencing some of the world's finest places, and meeting new people as well as enjoying the company of returning guests that share an appreciation of this Great Land."
Born and raised in coastal Alaska, Solan works as a kayak guide, a kayak ranger, a boat builder, and a marine mammal emergency responder. He received a degree in Philosophy which led him directly to a career working outdoors in the cold regions of the earth. As a kayak guide he divides his time between Antarctica and Alaska. A highlight of his career, Solan was the co-leader of one of the first commercially guided overnight sea kayak expeditions in Antarctica. In his spare time Solan is a collector of bones, books, and vinyl records. He co-directs a small film production company and is a tireless student of the banjo.