Important Information For Kayakers
Unlike canoes, kayaks must be put into the water before getting in or out. Therefore, you must have calf length or knee high rubber boots to kayak. (Neoprene whitewater booties are generally considered insufficient). In Glacier Bay's gray, foggy, frequently rainy climate, you will be very thankful for your rubberized raincoat and pants, fiberfill bags (not down) and ample tarps and waterproof materials. Bring along a supply of plastic Ziploc and garbage bags.
When camping in southeast Alaska, you must use your best "bear country camping techniques." It is especially important to never store food or cooking gear overnight in boats, or near tents and other gear. Ask the NPS staff about other bear safety advice if you are uncertain. For more information on bear country camping and bear biology you may also look up the Park's web page on bears.
The use of bear-resistant canisters for food and garbage storage is mandatory. Plan your menus carefully, using convenient, lightweight compact foods to keep the number of canisters you require to a minimum. Canisters may be checked out free of charge at the ranger station when you pick up your backcountry permit. Please refer to our Bear Canisters page for more information.
Awareness of daily tides is necessary for any kayak trip. The National Park Service will provide tide tables so that you can note twice daily the time and height of each tide, and pitch your tents and camp accordingly. Kayaks must be carried (never dragged) every time you come ashore to a location above the high tide line. To obtain a tide table for advance planning, be sure to look at our Tides page, which will provide a link to NOAA's tide table for this area.
The community's only general store and hardware supply, the Bear Track Mercantile, closed in January 2013. Gustavus does have two smaller specialty grocery stores. The Sunnyside Market is a natural food store and deli that is open daily, and Toshco is a Costco re-sale store, closed Sundays. Both are located along the main road, which runs 10 miles from the airport to the Glacier Bay/Bartlett Cove campground. Both stores carry a more limited amount of fresh food and camping-type food than you might find down south. We suggest you purchase most of your food and camping supplies prior to your arrival and according to suggestions provided in Bear Canisters and Packing Tips. Maps and charts for Glacier Bay may be purchased at the National Park Service Visitor Information Station in Bartlett Cove. See our Bear Spray & Fuel page for details on getting these items.
We suggest stopping at one of the cash machines located in downtown Juneau or the Juneau airport before coming to Gustavus. There is only one ATM machine in Gustavus, located at the Great Alaska Husky Ranch Gift Shop on the corner of Gustavus Road and Mountain View Road. You may want cash for taxi fares, restaurant meals, miscellaneous purchases, and tips.