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The Glacier Bay Destination is located in southern Alaska next to the United States’ border with Canada. Throughout the region, there are a number of outdoor activities and attractions that tourists can experience. These range from hiking and biking on a large trail network to canoeing and kayaking on the numerous waterways throughout the destination. A unique aspect of the destination is the wildlife that can be observed there. During the summertime, whale watching for humpback and orca whales is a popular activity that can be done either by watching from the shore or on a guided boat tour. Boats can also be chartered by people who desire to fish in hopes of catching some of the salmon or halibut that the region is known for. Alaska’s capital city of Juneau offers visitors some alternatives to these outdoor activities with tours of the Alaska State Capitol Building and museums that display artifacts from the area’s history. The city of Juneau is named after a prospector, Joe Juneau, who was among the first to travel to the area and establish mining settlements.
The name of the destination comes from the Glacier Bay National Park, which is situated at the top of the region. Juneau, the most well-known city within the destination, is the capital of Alaska. One unique aspect of the capital city is that there are no roads connecting Juneau to the rest of Alaska or to North America, a feature only shared by Honolulu, Hawaii. While in Juneau, there are a few notable locations that tourists may find interesting. One such location is the Alaska State Museum, which documents the history of the native peoples of the area as well as the American history of recent years. Another building that people can visit is the Alaska State Capitol Building, where free guided tours are offered to allow visitors to observe the structure’s Art Deco design and a number of historical rooms.
Many attractions in the area involve being active outdoors. There are a large number of trails for hiking and biking that visitors can travel on, some offering vistas of the surrounding islands, oceans, and mountains. Helicopter and floatplane tours are offered in Juneau and the surrounding towns, taking people on guided tours to observe the Juneau Icefield and other glaciers. One of the most accessible glaciers that tourists can visit is Mendenhall Glacier, which is a little over ten miles from Juneau. The area around the glacier has different trails that people can hike to get close to the natural formation, as well as a visitors center that offers a 180-degree view of the glacier and educates people on the history of the area. Another popular tourist attraction is kayaking, canoeing, or rafting on Mendenhall Lake or on the Inside Passage. For those looking for more relaxed sightseeing options, the tram to the mid-point of Mt. Roberts provides views of downtown Juneau as well as the Gastineau Channel.
Another activity in the Glacier Bay Destination that sees a number of participants is fishing. There are a variety of different species that are possible for people to catch, including halibut and five types of Pacific salmon. Visitors can go out to fish on their own with a license or they can charter a guided fishing trip. For those who desire to ship their catch home instead of consuming it while in Alaska, companies in the region specialize in seafood shipping and offer services to send one’s caught fish home with them. Other activities one can do on the water include boating to Glacier Bay and Bartlett Cove. There are a number of ways that tourists can do this, with many choosing to travel there on chartered boats or cruise ships that visit the region. Should guests have access to their own vessel, however, they are permitted to use that to maneuver around the bay.
Generally, the climate of the Glacier Bay Destination is cold, with the warmest part of the year occurring between June, July, and August, with an average temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically the region will experience precipitation throughout the year, with the driest months occurring in March, May, and June, although the area has humidity throughout the year. When taking all of these factors into consideration, often the most temperate time to travel to the destination occurs between June and August due to the warmer temperatures and the lower chance of rain or snow.
Most of the Glacier Bay Destination is forested and hilly, with a number of rivers, sounds, and straits that empty into the Pacific Ocean. The southern part of the destination is a collection of islands known as the Alexander Archipelago. There are a total of around 1,100 islands in this group, all being the tops of a submerged section of the Coast Ranges mountain range. Large glaciers are primarily concentrated in the northern portion of the destination within the national park. However, there are others that are located elsewhere in the area. One of the most popular glaciers tourists travel to, Mendenhall Glacier, is located 13 miles from downtown Juneau.
Tourists to the region can find a large variety of animal and plant life in the Glacier Bay Destination, especially at or near Glacier Bay National Park. The water holds animals such as sea otters, sockeye salmon, and different species of whales. A popular activity for those visiting the region in the summer is whale watching, which entails observing the area’s native humpback and orca whales. Whale-watching tours are offered in Juneau for those who wish to have a closer viewing of the large mammals as well as boat tours that showcase the area more generally. Other animals that have been observed in the region include bald eagles, brown bears, mountain goats, tufted puffins, and more.
The city of Juneau was first established on December 14, 1881. Initially, the Glacier Bay Destination was settled by the Auke and Taku tribes, whose descendants are the Tlingit people. They were soon discovered by a Russian expedition in 1741, and in 1786 solid contact was established by Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de Laperouse. A Russian colony was established and operated in the territory from 1784 to 1867; however, the settlement was not where Juneau is now and was mainly used to conduct fur trading with other Alaskan Natives. Many people traveled to the Glacier Bay Destination in the 1880s and 1890s following the California Gold Rush, seeking gold that was found by others in the area. A mining town was established, and in the winter of 1881, the miners living in the town decided to give the city the name Juneau, after prospector Joe Juneau who had helped to find the region’s first gold nuggets.
An expedition of the Alaskan Coast was conducted by Edward Harriman in 1899 called the Harriman Alaska Expedition. There were a number of scientists, artists, photographers, and naturalists invited to participate in the expedition, including John Muir, who was a naturalist, conservationist, and scientist. He had explored the Glacier Bay area earlier in 1888 and studied the glaciers for which the destination is named. Following the expedition, both Muir and Harriman were influential in National Park legislation and documenting the glacial retreat that had taken place in Glacier Bay.
The tourism industry is the largest employer in Juneau, with another large portion of the economy being made up of commercial fishing and fish processing. Another sizeable amount of the working population is employed in some form of government job working for government agencies such as the U.S Forest Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Coast Guard, to name a few. A majority of people will travel to the area between May and October, and most of those tourists travel by cruise ship. Juneau usually sees an average of 800,000 tourists per year, which equates to nearly half of all visitors who travel to Alaska each year.
The historic, four-story Alaska's Capital Inn Bed & Breakfast, built on the 5th street hill, is the only bed and breakfast in Downtown Juneau, Alaska. The bed and breakfast has seven rooms that guests can choose from to stay in for their retreats. Every day the visitors are fed a four-course breakfast that many guests have enjoyed. Because the bed and breakfast is located in Downtown Juneau, it is within walking distance of nearly all the tourist attractions. Linda and Mark, the hosts of the inn, welcome guests from all over for an authentic Alaskan adventure and encourage them to explore the surrounding area....Read More
Bear Track Inn, owned and operated by Michelle and David Olney, is located in Gustavus, Alaska, near Glacier Bay National Park, one of the biggest draws to the area. The lodge has fourteen guest room accommodations, two being ADA-compliant. All rooms include a private bathroom and two queen beds, except for one of the ADA rooms. "Rustic lodge" is the theme of the rooms, says Michelle. About 97 acres make up the property that the Bear Track Inn is located on. The lodge has various common areas, including decks, a lobby, a dining room, and a rec room that has a ping pong table, and a TV. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available to all patrons who stay at the lodge, and people also have the option to have a to-go lunch. The Bear Track Inn is open seasonally from Memorial Day through Labor Day....Read More