3 Hours in Glacier Bay? Here's Your Plan!

Glacier Bay offers breathtaking views of mountains and glacial fields.
Glacier Bay offers breathtaking views of mountains and glacial fields.

What can you do for three hours in Glacier Bay? At this massive national park, the possibilities for exploring the Alaskan wilderness are endless. Here are three amazing things to do in just three hours in Glacier Bay National Park.

Photograph the Spectacular Scenery

When the sun breaks through the clouds over the cold bay, light streams down and hits the glacial fields, turning them an unearthly shade of blue. Jagged peaks rise above the glacial fields, providing a shadowy contrast for the shining glaciers. The views will take your breath away. But it doesn't stop there. When you're in Glacier Bay, you'll have a 360-degree view of pure wonder. Make sure to bring a camera (with a polarized lens cover) — you won't want to miss the amazing shots of Alaska's most beautiful coastal range. If you bring a zoom lens, try to bring a tripod so your pictures come out nice and clear.

Discover a Variety of Wildlife

Glacier Bay, one of 23 Alaskan national parks and part of a 25 million–acre UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to 3.3 million acres of rugged coastal mountains, hundreds of glaciers, temperate rain forest, and fjords. It provides an amazing view of one of the last truly wild places on earth. Keep a close eye on the treetops for bald eagle nests and along creek mouths, where you can often spy bears as they're catching fish. You might also see otters splashing around and harbor seals lazily sunning themselves on icebergs at the base of the fjords. National park rangers on board cruises to Alaska can offer insights about these amazing animals and help you spot some of the more rare wildlife, such as mountain goats grazing precariously among the mountains.

Marvel at the Glaciers

While standing on the deck of your Alaskan cruise ship, as you peer out at the expanse of rock and ice, let the profound silence overcome you. Then listen for the long, snapping creak and crack — the sound a glacier makes when it calves, casting off chunks of ice into the waters below. Calving is a phenomenon that occurs in tidewater glaciers during the glaciers' cycle of advancing and receding. When a glacier does not touch the water, calving will not occur. Glaciers are a great opportunity to look at geology in motion and to see the unique wildlife and vegetation that thrive off new land exposed following glacial activity.

With so much natural beauty surrounding you, three hours is more than enough time to experience the full effect of Glacier Bay.

Interested in seeing Glacier Bay for yourself? Browse our Alaska cruises, which all feature at least one unforgettable glacier viewing opportunity.