Paddle Among Icebergs

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Lower Muir Inlet

Lower Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park     Photo: Kim Heacox/Getty

A 65-mile-long notch carved into 3.2 million acres of protected wilderness, Glacier Bay is like a Whitman’s Sampler of Alaskan hallmarks: humpback whales, orcas, seals, eagles, brown bears, and building-size columns of ice plunging into the sea. Since few trails and no roads reach beyond the mouth of the bay, most park visitors arrive on massive cruise ships. But the deck-bound guests aren’t allowed into the rugged, narrow fjords of the park’s East Arm. From June through August, Alaska Mountain Guides can guide you there on an eight-day sea-kayaking expedition, during which paddlers cover four to eight miles per day, sleeping on empty gravel beaches ($2,200). Guide Nacho Stephens’s favorite: the campsite just across from the McBride Glacier, where the inlet is so narrow that the tide rushes in and out at the speed of a flooding river, dragging massive icebergs as it goes.

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