Glacier Bay’s Wild Coast

Glacier Bay’s Wild Coast


May 1, 2023 - May 6, 2023


Glacier Bay National Park


$9,000/ person. Party of 2.



May 1, 2023 - May 6, 2023


Glacier Bay National Park


$9,000/ person. Party of 2.

Glacier Bay is a land of enormous proportions with glacier cloaked peaks erupting from the sea and icy rivers flowing in great torrents through ancient spruce forests. Most people only see the heavily traveled Glacier Bay, but we want to share Glacier Bay’s wild coast with you this spring.


Glacier Bay’s rugged outer coast is a land of superlatives where everything seems bigger than you thought possible. The broad Pacific beach, pounded by storms all winter, arcs north over the horizon. Above the gray sands, huge logs battered and tossed by the surf are strewn like matchsticks. In the woods, the brown trunks of enormous coastal spruce and cedar stand in contrast to the brilliant green of the mosses carpeting the forest floor. And if we follow the bear trails through the moss inland we quickly enter the mountains.

The Fairweather Range in Glacier Bay National Park rises as steeply as any mountains on earth, gaining fifteen thousand feet in just 12 miles! From these severe peaks flow innumerable glaciers and icefields carving deep lakes, polished spires and ice falls, with ice spilling right onto the coast. We have a full week to explore the beach, forest, and mountains along this wilderness coast. Mountains, ocean, glacier, and forest all in one spot!

A sturdy base camp and ample time create the ideal conditions to enjoy the area. We will camp in the meadows between the forest and the beach, near a small creek and a short walk from the La Perouse Glacier which pours from the peaks right into the Pacific breakers. From this excellent camp we can explore the ice, the mountains, the forest, and the beach.

May is a perfect time to explore Glacier Bay’s lost coast. May is usually the driest month of the year in Southeast Alaska. It is still a rainforest and we can get some epic storms, but we can get good long stretches of sunny weather too.

One of the great joys of spring is watching the birds of the world return to Alaska. Even if you aren’t a “birder” the abundance of migrants is sure to impress. The lengthening days pull birds north from the world over and great skeins of waterfowl migrate along the coast each year occasionally surrounding our camp by the thousands in the evenings. Shorebirds by the millions transit the coast as they head north to the Arctic, while raptors and songbirds wing through the forest.

May is also the best month for hikers along the coast. Cool temperatures in the mountains prevent the glaciers from melting and the numerous creeks and small rivers which cross the beach are much easier and safer to cross at this time of year.

We have 4 full days to explore this remarkable place. This leaves ample time to day-hike, beach-comb, birdwatch, and relish the wild beauty of the place. Approach the ice of the glacier? Hike inland for mountain views? Search the beach for glass fishing floats or whale bones? Hike the forest primeval and nap in a bed of moss? The week is yours to enjoy the wilderness as you like.

Last updated: January 16, 2024


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

April 30

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting in Haines, Alaska at 5 pm. Lodging on your own.

May 1

Right from the start you know you are in for a spectacular flight! After climbing out of the Chilkat Valley we quickly find the ice fields and jagged peaks of Glacier Bay National Park. Then (in good weather) we get breath-taking views of Mt. Fairweather and north into Canada’s Kluane Park. After an hour of flying we descend and land right on the beach. In perfect conditions you can hear the glacier cracking from our first camp where we sit with views of the ocean swells.

May 2

We’ll take the first full day of the trip to day-hike near the glacier. La Perouse is unique in Alaska for flowing into the ocean right across the Pacific Beach. Most glaciers are at the head of a valley or fjord but this one spills onto the beach and great hunks bounce in the ocean waves. We can hike on the moraine to a promontory with unbelievable views of the mountains and ice fields to the east and the broad gulf of Alaska to the west. There is no place quite like it.

May 3 - 5

We have 3 more wonderful days to enjoy the wild coast. We can hike, relax, search for wildlife, swim in the ocean, or whatever you like!

May 6

Weather permitting, our pilot arrives mid-day for the flight back to Haines.

Michael listened to our descriptions of what we wanted in a trip and investigated the possibility of making that sort of trip happen. Unlike some other guide services, he was attuned to what we were saying and did not outright say he could not accommodate us because Arctic Wild only provided trips like X, Y, or Z. In my opinion, the major difference between Arctic Wild and the 4 other guide services I talked to was that Michael tried to design a trip meeting our trip objectives and wishes.

- Rochelle , Missouri, USA



Air transportation starting and ending in Haines, AK.

Food while in the wilderness

Stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Camping Equipment is available through Arctic Wild.


Non-camp Lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear, backpack, tent. See complete equipment list.

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guide



Rain is likely; snow and frost very unlikely; sunshine very probable. Temperatures are usually in the 50’s and 60’s. Overcast and damp conditions are common but we can also get some gloriously clear and sunny days. The month of  May has sunniest weather of the whole year, but being Southeast Alaska, it still might not be all that warm or dry. Expect few to no bugs.


The Land of Ocean Mists by Francis Caldwell

Jimmy Bluefeather by Kim Heacox

Glacier Bay: The Land and Then Silence by Dave Bohn

Article/ Podcast about Lituya Bay by Alan Bellows

More Alaska reading is available at our bookstore.

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
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Eileen - Canning River