NPS Visitor Information Station
NPS Visitor Information Station staff

NPS Camping Permits

The National Park Service (NPS) requires anyone camping in Glacier Bay National Park or the Bartlett Cove campground to obtain a camping permit. These permits are not limited and are free for both the Bartlett Cove campground and backcountry.

New in 2021, the backcountry permit and orientation videos are available online and the NPS recommends that you complete both the backcountry camping permit application and watch the videos in advance of your planned departure date.  The NPS will still be offering in-person Backcountry Camper Orientations daily at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM but prefers that you complete the permit and watch the videos in advance, if possible.

The two videos to watch are part of your required backcountry orientation and will answer your questions on minimum impact (‘Leave No Trace’) and bear country camping in Glacier Bay. All members of your party are required to watch them and we have included them at the bottom of this page.  We recommend viewing them just prior to departing on your trip in order to have the details fresh in your thoughts as part of your trip preparation.

The NPS Visitor Information Station (VIS) provides the required bear-resistant food canisters free for your use that you may check out for the duration of your trip. There will be a place on the camping permit to notify them of the number of bear canisters you think you will need. You can get more or return extra after you arrive.

NPS Storage Shed
NPS Storage Shed

During the summer, the NPS VIS will be open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily.  If you are departing on the tourboat the next morning, we ask that you arrive into Gustavus early enough in the afternoon so that you get to Bartlett Cove and get your bear canisters and permit at 3:00 PM before they close at 5:00 PM. This will also allow time for you to ask them any questions and for them to inform you of special wildlife and safety closures along your paddle route. We will then meet you there at the VIS at 5:00 PM to issue your kayaks for your up bay departure on the tour boat the next day.

You may inquire with the rangers about storing your excess gear with them at their small storage shed located next door to the VIS. Storage is free of charge and they will issue you a tag for each piece on which you will mark your name and the date of return. If you prefer secured storage, Glacier Bay Lodge will store your gear in their baggage room for a fee or for free if you are staying there before your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions on Tides & Currents may be answered in the Tides and Currents video.

For more information see the NPS website or contact the VIS at (907)697-2627.  See also the Leave No Trace website.