Hiking in Gustavus
Glacier Bay's steep and heavily forested slopes aren't the most conducive to hiking, but there are several short hikes that begin at the Glacier Bay Lodge. Among the most popular is the Forest Loop Trail, a pleasant 1-mile jaunt that begins in a forest of spruce and hemlock and finishes on the beach. Also beginning at the lodge is the Bartlett River Trail —a 5-mile round-trip hike that borders an intertidal lagoon, culminating at the Bartlett River estuary. The Bartlett Lake Trail, part of a 6-mile walk that meanders through rain forest, ends at the quiet lakeshore. The entire Gustavus beachfront was set aside by the Nature Conservancy, enabling visitors to hike the shoreline for miles without getting lost. The beachfront is part of the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail (wildlife.alaska.gov). The spring and fall bird migrations are exceptional on Gustavus estuaries, including Dude Creek Critical Habitat Area, which provides a stopover before crossing the ice fields for sandhill cranes. Maps and wildlife-viewing information are available from the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation (wildlife.alaska.gov).
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