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Hidden in the towering Sitka spruce near Gustavus, Glacier Bay Lodge is a National Park Service property on the shores of Bartlett Cove. It is the only accommodation option in the park and offers sweeping views of the waterfront and the snow-capped Fairweather Range.

The large main building includes a restaurant, interpretive displays and a gift shop, with rooms spread out across two side wings. The comfortable guest rooms all have private bathrooms and guests can choose between forest or water views. 

A large, stone, arched fireplace is the central feature of comfortable seating area by the restaurant which serves a wide variety of dishes throughout the day but has a focus on fresh local seafood. There's also a deck with seating for al fresco dining with impressive views.

In the evening, guests can attend presentations on the park's history, ecology and cultural legacy in the auditorium upstairs, with regular guest speakers including elders from the nearby Alaskan Native village of Hoonah.

Activities led by park rangers include guided nature hikes, mountain biking and kayaking and tours of Glacier Bay and its tidewater glaciers, deep fjords and rainforest. Wildlife is plentiful in the area with regular sightings of eagles, seals, sea lions and grizzly bears.  

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Rooms

The simple but comfortable rooms lead off the lobby or are connected to the main building by raised boardwalks. Inside, they are lined with warm wood panels and have deep green carpets and earthy-toned bedspreads. Room configuration varies with some rooms having a large double bed, some two doubles and others a double and bunk beds. Each room has a private bathroom with bath or shower and a coffee maker. 

Location

Glacier Bay Lodge is located in Bartlett Cove ten miles by road from the small town of Gustavus. It's a wild and largely uninhabited region of deep fjords, towering mountains and immense glaciers protected by the Glacier Bay National Park. Alaska Airlines and air taxis make the 30 minute flight from Juneau to Gustavus on small planes with a luggage weight limitation of 23kg per person. The ferry from Juneau takes four and a half hours. 

Food and Drink

The lodge's Fairweather Dining Room has a large, arched, stone fireplace for cooler days and an outdoor deck for dining al fresco in fine weather. Native Alaskan carvings line the walls, while freshly-caught seafood such as halibut, salmon and Dungeness crab feature strongly on the menu. Lunch and dinner menus also include steaks, burgers, pasta, nachos and salads, while breakfast options include a full buffet or cooked breakfast, omelettes and cereals. The restaurant also offers dramatic views of Bartlett Cove and the Fairweather Mountains beyond, especially at sunset. 

Facilities and Activities

Guided nature hikes, mountain biking and kayaking are led by park rangers who help visitors get the most out of visits to the tidewater glaciers of Glacier Bay, the park's deep fjords and its rainforest with its giant spruce draped in moss. Sightings often include eagles, seals, sea lions and grizzly bears. Flight seeing can also be arranged. 

Our opinion

Like much national park accommodation, Glacier Bay Lodge is simple in its design, but offers fantastic access to the national park and its ranger-led tours. 

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    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.