Hiking

Glacier Bay National Park: Bartlett Cove Forest Trail

Ever find a corner of land that hits you hard? That was for me Bartlett Cove, which sits in Glacier Bay National Park. I had the chance to spend a couple hours there and after being at sea for many days, I felt like opening up my legs and sprinting.

Not that I am complaining, our ride The Wilderness Explorer, was a pretty awesome way to spend a week. But my legs were needing to unlock and open up. We pulled in for a couple hours, our only docking.

Walked up the dock to where the forest meets the water. There are bathrooms there, and many paths wander off. I took the first main one, to the left.

Many totem poles are along here, and a treat to visit. Some have benches to rest on, to look upon the water and the Fairweather Range in the distance.

Along the path is a display.

The bones of Snow, the Humpback Whale, who was hit by a massive cruise ship in 2001.

Xunaa Shuká Hít (Huna Tribal House), built in 2016, by the Tlingit.

After walking here I double backed to a trail I saw taking off into the woods.

It goes to stairs, that lead to the lodge here. The upper level is the visitor center for the Glacier Bay National Park. It has….FREE WI-FI….er, I mean great exhibits. Or for me, both of them.

I saw this in the forest, and took a double look. It’s wild Gooseberry. Which might not stand out to most eyes, and it isn’t seen much up there, but it’s in the native grow area. I saw multiples of it here. Later I talked to the NP ranger who was also a botany nerd and he asked me where I saw it. Woot for me!

Chocolate Lilly.

In bloom.

The Forest Trail starts just to the left of the front porch of the lodge. Look for the sign for it, then head to the right on the wide path. It winds thru the woods, then pops out to cross the road that goes to the lodge.

The trail from here to Blackwoods Lake is ADA accessible. It is smooth, and a joy to walk.

Blink and you might miss the owl.

Blackwoods Lake is a pretty low elevation forest lake.

It was also home to so much life, including being surrounded by high bush blueberry plants.

There are two viewing areas along the lake.

A last peek and off I went. You have two options: Either in and out, or you can continue on the trail, now back to a forest path. It winds along and then drops out to the beach, where a path above high tide takes you back to the dock.

Bartlett Cove is a place I’d like to return to. It’s not super hard to get there, just takes planning ahead of time. The Alaska State Ferry goes to Gustavus, and there is a shuttle you can buy a ride on from there to the National Park. Alaska Airline has flights in as well, in summer. As I said…it takes planning. There are multiple trails to hike, as well as a NP campground for walk ins.

It is simply a quiet corner of Alaska, full of life.

~Sarah

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