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General Information for Guided Backcountry Trips

New in 2020, GBSK is excited to offer both Guided Rentals and Citizen Science kayak trips. These trips are tailored to the same independent and experienced camper willing to outfit their own trip, but who wish to have the added benefit of an experienced naturalist and guide at less cost than a fully outfitted trip. If you’d like to learn more about Glacier Bay, this might be the trip for you!

Our group sizes for each trip will be limited to 6 guests maximum in order to lessen our impact on Glacier Bay’s environment, wildlife and other backcountry visitors.

What’s the Difference Between Guided Rental Trips and Citizen Science Trips?


Guided Rentals

Our Guided Rental trips provide you with an experienced Glacier Bay kayak guide.  Our guides are excellent naturalists with a passion for sharing their knowledge of this special place. They will provide you with information about the flora and fauna, an understanding of glaciology and how climate change is affecting Glacier Bay National Park.

You will also benefit from their expertise with local weather patterns, familiarity of the coastline and route you’ll be taking, safety practices in bear country, Glacier Bay’s cultural and natural history, and assistance in good decision making for the group when challenges arise.


Citizen Science

Our Citizen Science trips include all this plus are designed to collect valuable data to contribute to NPS wildlife surveys for humpback whales or Audubon Alaska’s e-bird list for migratory birds. The trip dates are timed to visit areas in Glacier Bay with high or diverse populations of these species.

Researchers and scientists have welcomed the involvement of Community Based Monitoring (CBM) projects and Citizen Science Tourism to assist in the collection of usable data. These trips will give you the opportunity to be more than a visitor to Glacier Bay and gain a deeper understanding of the wildlife and habitats of this incredible park.


What is Included in the Trip Price

  • We will provide tarps/shelters, along with safety equipment that includes First Aid kits, marine radio, satellite radio, and an In-Reach texting device.
  • Kayaking equipment includes fiberglass sea touring double kayaks, Extrasport PFDs, Aquabound paddles, paddle floats, spray skirts, pumps and sponges. See our Equipment & Rates page for more information about our kayaks and equipment. For safety reasons, all guests will be in double kayaks.
  • We will outfit you with high quality Grunden’s mid-weight rubberized rain gear, which includes a hooded jacket and bib overalls, and calf high rubber boots.
  • Our guide(s) will provide route and camp site advice and will serve as your expedition naturalist. Be advised that your guide may make changes to the itinerary due to weather, safety, wildlife or other considerations. Guides will be responsible for their own food.
  • Boat transfers for trips requiring one way or round trip camper transport.
  • Dry suits are available to rent at an additional cost of $25/day plus tax.

What You Need to Provide

As with a multi day independent kayak rental, you will be required to supply all your own personal clothing & gear, camping equipment (dry bags, tents, sleeping bag & pad, cooking and eating gear) and you will handle your own food provisioning and cooking. We do not rent any camping equipment or dry bags. Binoculars a must!

Please review our Gear List and other packing pages for helpful information on items to bring. You will need to attend the NPS Backcountry Camper Orientation and they will provide free bear canisters for your food and toiletry items.

  • Trip Insurance - we highly recommend trip insurance for all our trips.
  • Lodging - We can assist in making reservations for you at Glacier Bay Lodge the night prior to your departure. We recommend staying in Bartlett Cove either at Glacier Bay Lodge or the NPS campground on the night prior to trip departure. Consider staying an extra day or two at the end of your trip to explore Gustavus. See our Accommodations page for a list of local lodgings.
  • Airfare - review our Getting Here page for transportation options to Gustavus.
  • Gratuities

How to Make a Reservation

  1. Our office is closed during the winter months until March each year. Please e-mail us to determine trip availability. Once we open you may email or phone us at (907) 697-2257. Specify the trip you wish to reserve and the number of people in your group. We can pencil in a reservation for you which guarantees your space while you make all of your final travel arrangements.
  2. Make your airline reservations to Juneau. Decide on your airplane or ferry itinerary between Juneau and Gustavus. See our Getting Here page. We can make your air taxi reservations. Please see the air taxi departure times in the drop down box on the reservation form for the scheduled flight times between Juneau and Gustavus. You may email us for current scheduled departure times and fares for flights between Haines and Gustavus or Skagway and Gustavus.
  3. Go to the Guided Backcountry Trip Reservation Form. Fill it out completely. Be sure to include the names and ages of everyone in your party and any additional reservations you’d like us to make for air taxi flights or Glacier Bay Lodge rooms. Please be sure to include sizes for rain gear and boots. Dry Suits are available for rent at an additional charge.
  4. To confirm your reservation, we ask for a 50% deposit plus full payment for any air taxi, and lodge room reservations you’d like us to make. The remaining amount due is payable a week prior to departure. After submitting the reservation form, please call us with your visa or master card payment information. If you're making this reservation in our off-season, we will secure all your reservations and contact you when our office re-opens in March for credit card payment information. We do not take credit card information on the reservation form for security reasons. Following receipt of your payment, you will receive by e-mail a friendly confirmation letter with a receipt, outline of your itinerary, and other helpful information.

Cancellation Policy

Reservations canceled 30 or more days in advance are subject to a 10% cancellation penalty. Reservations canceled less than 30 days in advance are subject to a 100% penalty.

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