three seals laying on top of a floating iceberg in the green glacial waters of alaska
Orange sunset over the water with the silhouette of the fairweather mountains in southeast alaska
People getting out of a helicopter on top of a glacier next to a dog sledding camp in Alaska on a sunny day
large Mountain goat standing in a shallow river in south east alaska
two men in a wooden tribal house with carvings and totem paintings in alaska
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North America Alaska Land Tour

Glacier Bay Backcountry Explorer

Visit Glacier Bay National Park and the surrounding region from the comfort of a Glacier Bay lodge, the Bear Track Inn in Gustavus. Three full days are devoted to cruising Glacier Bay, kayaking and whale watching, with a helicopter-accessed glacier adventure out of Juneau. This is a great lodge-based option to the many small ship cruises that visit the park, and offers a bit more flexibility for guests who wish to customize their trip. 

The Glacier Bay Backcountry Explorer begins at a waterfront hotel in Juneau. Watch as floatplanes take off and land right from town to ready you for this trip like no other: Alaska helicopter rides to a glacier, dog sledding, scenic flights, whale watching, sea kayaking, small ship day cruising and unparalleled wildlife viewing. On your first full day of adventure, take a helicopter flight-see over the Juneau Icefield, where local guides will lead you on a trek across the surface of a glacier or on a dog sledding adventure; the choice is yours. 

From Juneau, take a scenic flight to Gustavus, your home for the next few nights at the quaint Bear Track Inn. From here enjoy numerous day trips: Witness the magnificent tidewater glaciers and wildlife of Glacier Bay National Park aboard a high-speed catamaran. Watch whales, sea otters, sea lions and bald eagles on a private wildlife excursion to Point Adolphus. And paddle a sea kayak on a full day’s adventure to really connect with Alaska’s marine life and landscapes at water level. 

Many travelers choose to extend this adventure to spend more time at the Bear Track Inn Glacier Bay lodge, or more time cruising within the park itself. Ask our expert staff about additional activities such as fishing, White Pass Railroad excursions and more.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Alaska land tours, Glacier Bay tours or all Alaska trips by land and sea.


Glacier Bay Backcountry Explorer Itinerary

This 7-day Alaska tour visits Glacier Bay National Park from the small town of Gustavus and begins and ends in Juneau, Alaska.

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Day 1
Arrive Juneau, Alaska

Arrive independently to Juneau, Alaska, and transfer to your hotel on your own. Use this day to independently explore Alaska’s remote capital – a quaint, walkable town. Watch floatplanes take off and land from a waterfront seafood restaurant, or perhaps take the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway up 1,800 feet for expansive views of Gastineau Channel. This is Southeast Alaska’s only aerial tramway, and one of the world’s most vertical.


Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed Hotel or similar



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Day 2
Helicopter-Accessed Glacier Trekking or Dog Sledding

Choose your helicopter-accessed adventure today: either a glacier trek or a dog-sledding adventure. Both excursions begin with a scenic Alaska helicopter flight over the incredible Juneau Icefield, birthplace to many of the region’s glaciers. On the way, witness the landscape change from the lush forests at sea level to the granite peaks that surround the Juneau Icefield.

If glacier-trekking is your choice, then meet with professional glacier guides who will teach you basic mountaineering skills and proper use of ice axe, crampons and other equipment. Then you’re led on an exhilarating hike across the ice. No experience is necessary. The dog-sledding option has you in the company of famed Iditarod and Yukon Quest dogsledder Sebastian Schnuelle’s camp of 80 Alaskan huskies. Hear his exciting dog sledding accounts, with ample photo opportunities as you can dress up in original Iditarod Trail dogsled gear and finishing bibs. Then a team of 12 to 14 dogs will pull the dogsled while you either ride the runners or sit comfortably on the sled as you glide across the Alaskan backcountry.

After your morning adventure, return downtown to explore, shop or relax on your own.


Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed Hotel or similar



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Day 3
Scenic Flight to Glacier Bay

Enjoy a spectacular scenic flight over Alaska’s Inside Passage to Gustavus, the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. Upon arrival in this quaint homestead community, you are met by a local representative and transferred to a family-run wilderness lodge. You’ll appreciate sitting by the roaring fire enjoying views of Icy Strait. The afternoon is open to explore the surrounding wilderness. Tonight enjoy a delicious dinner made from scratch with local ingredients.


Bear Track Inn


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Point Adolphus Whale Watching

Across Icy Strait from Glacier Bay lies Point Adolphus, one of the premier humpback whale watching sites in the world. Nutrient-rich currents from Glacier Bay attract these magnificent cetaceans. Each year they gather here to feed on krill and herring. You may also see minke and orca whales, porpoise, seals, sea lions and sea otters sharing in the bounty. The rich waters and pristine forests also attract numerous bald eagles and seabirds, brown bears and deer. Return to the lodge for lunch and a free afternoon to relax or explore.


Bear Track Inn


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Sea Kayak Alaska

Spend the day actively exploring Alaska’s wilderness up close with a 6-hour kayaking excursion. Sail to Point Adolphus in a kayak-outfitted day boat for drop-off in the morning. Your kayak guide knows the best locations for natural history exploration including whale watching, birding or marine mammals. Point Adolphus is a rich summer feeding ground for humpback whales but sightings may also include killer whales, minke whales, porpoise, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles and more. The vessel picks you up in the afternoon for your return to the Bear Track Inn for dinner.


Bear Track Inn


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Glacier Bay National Park Day Cruise

Board the M/V Baranof Wind to cruise 70 miles up Glacier Bay’s beautiful West Arm where you will witness a spectacular congregation of tidewater glaciers. Take time to imagine how this entire bay must have looked just 200 years ago, when it was completely filled with ice. Since that time, Glacier Bay has endured the fastest retreat of glaciers in recorded history, some 70 miles. Throughout the journey you will be witness to the succession of habitats from old growth temperate rainforest at the bay’s mouth to bare rock near the glaciers’ face. Watch for resident wildlife en route to the glaciers including whales, harbor seals, otters, bears, mountain goats and moose. During the cruise a National Park Service Ranger interprets the ecological, natural and cultural history of the park. This evening fly back to Juneau and transfer to your downtown hotel.


Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed Hotel or similar


breakfast, lunch

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Day 7
Depart Juneau

Transfer on your own to the Juneau International Airport to catch your flight home or begin more Alaska adventures.





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Inclusions, Terms & Notes


Round-trip Juneau to Gustavus flights, meals as indicated in the itinerary, all accommodations; helicopter excursion, entrance fees, leadership, crew, local guides, kayaking, hiking activities and private van transfers in Gustavus.


Juneau airport arrival and departure transfer, airfare to and from Alaska, airport taxes, excess baggage charges, any additional hotel nights in Gustavus or Juneau, insurance of any kind and items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days – 50% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Glacier Bay Backcountry Explorer adventure begins and ends in Juneau, Alaska (JNU). Plan flights to arrive to Juneau anytime on day 1 of the itinerary. Plan flights to depart Juneau anytime on day 7. Transfers on day 1 and day 7 are on your own.

Internal Flights

All internal flights on this trip are included in the rate, including round-trip Juneau-Gustavus flights and a helicopter excursion. The flights between Juneau and Gustavus are booked aboard small planes. While these are regularly scheduled flights they are almost like a flightseeing excursion and we feel this is part of the Alaska experience. Baggage limits on these flights are 50 pounds per person and travelers will be charged per pound for additional luggage.


Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the guides can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include glacier trekking, scenic helicopter and floatplane flights, sea kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, fishing (additional cost) and a ride along the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad (added cost).

Room Configuration

Upgrades may be available, contact us for details.

Families & Children

One child with two adults will receive a discount on double occupancy rate, please check with your Adventure Specialist for details.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the guides’ discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of adventure travel unique. 

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Details

From late May through late September. Contact us for current rates and availability.


Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Bear Track Inn

Situated on the tranquil shores of Icy Strait in Gustavus, Alaska, Bear Track Inn is a family-run log cabin lodge with true Alaskan ambiance and hospitality.

Four Points by Sheraton

Juneau’s finest hotel offers outstanding full-service accommodations, including complimentary airport transportation. Located facing the waterfront in downtown Juneau, the 105-room hotel is in close proximity to most major attractions.

Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed Hotel

The Best Western Grandma's Feather Bed hotel in Juneau, Alaska, is a unique Victorian-style Farmhouse with 14 deluxe suites, lofty feather beds and in-room whirlpool baths. Delicious home-style meals, a courtesy shuttle service and complimentary fish freezers make this the perfect Alaskan stopover.

Expert Review

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Todd Smith • June 26th, 2017
Expert Review: Authentic Alaska from the Bear Track Inn

Read why the Bear Track Inn is AdventureSmith founder's preferred lodge in Gustavus, the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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