Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers, 616 of which are officially named. Glacier Bay National Park is the world's largest marine sanctuary (it's about the size of Connecticut!) and it is the most famous place to spot the glaciers.
It is no wonder that the glaciers are Alaska’s number one tourist attraction. Glaciers are one of the most breathtaking sights in the world.
Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian are among the major cruise lines that make day visits to the bay with an experienced park ranger on board offering commentary. Small ship lines, such as Un-Cruise Adventures, may linger in the park for a few days.
Exploring glaciers on a cruise offers remarkable experience, especially in Alaska. The following are some of the most interesting glaciers in the Glacier Bay National Park:
This glacier was named by Lawrence Martin in 1912 in honor of the English geologist Gorge William Lamplugh who visited the Glacier Bay in 1884. The glacier originates in the Brady Icefield to the East of Fairweather Range. It has a width of about 0.75 miles, a height of 46-49 meters with a depth of 10-14 feet. It stretches to over 26 km. The ice flow rate from this glacier is said to be receding in the central and eastern parts of the ice face. When observed during the low tide, this phenomenon forms a delta and the water is seen turning from brown to tan milky.
The Margerie Glacier is a tidewater glacier that is among the most active glaciers in the Glacier Bay. An actively calving, pristine stretch of ice near the Canadian border, Mergerie glacier was named after the famed French geographer Emmanuel de Margerie, who visited the Bay in 1913. It is 34 km long and 1.6 km wide. It can only be reached by air or water on glacier cruise.
Jackson glacier rests on the north side of Mount Jackson. In 2005 it was measured at 250 acres. History states that between 1966 and 2005, this glacier lost almost a third of its acreage. A trip to this glacier takes one off trail into a remote section of the Glacier National Park nestled against the continental divide. The trip can be done during the day but it is more enjoyable at night. You can stay at Gunsight Lake which is very beautiful as you plan your trip to climb Mount Jackson and check the Jackson Glacier.
This is the second largest glacier in the Glacier National Park. It is situated to the north of Blackfoot Mountain near the Jackson Glacier. When it was first documented in 1950, it was fused together with the Jackson glacier and they covered approximately 1,875 acres which is about 7.59 square kilometers. With the help of a tour guide you will be able to see Mount Logan, Blackfoot Mountain and many beautiful types of scenery.
Grand Pacific glacier
The Grand Pacific glacier located at the end of the Tarr Inlet in the North features streaked face covered with gravel and stones. On the eastern side of the glacier extending to about two - thirds width of the ice face are landslides and medial moraines. It is a beautiful scene when viewed during the day.