Alaska Kayaking

Spectacular sea-kayaking grounds throughout Alaska

Paddling and kayaking puts an adventurer in touch with Alaska’s big saltwater domain. Kayaking is the perfect way to explore the coves and islands in the state with the country’s longest coastline. Popular kayaking destinations include Southcentral Alaska’s Prince William Sound, Kachemak Bay and Resurrection Bay; the Inside Passage and Misty Fjords; and Kenai Fjords National Park and Glacier Bay National Park.


Kayaking Glacier Bay:

Glacier Bay’s waters are arguably the finest sea-kayaking grounds in the world. In the southerly precincts of the bay at spots like the Beardslee Islands, you can paddle zoom-lens close to moose, bald eagles, bears, inquisitive harbor seals, and humpback and killer whales. Head up Muir Inlet to the ice-choked waters at the snout of McBride Glacier and you’ll witness the mind-numbing spectacle of a tidewater glacier periodically dumping itself into the sea. Given the intensely wild feel of Glacier Bay, it’s a welcome surprise that kayakers of all skill levels can get a deep draught of paddling here; the fractured coastline offers many sheltered quiet-water coves, and the park infrastructure – which includes a number of officially sanctioned outfitters and a concession-run boat that drops paddle-campers off at remote backcountry locations – makes it easy enough to hew deep into the wildest parts of the bay.

Check the Forest Service’s Glacier Bay website for more information.

Auke Bay (Juneau):

Auke Bay is a good locale for beginning paddlers. It is relatively easy to put in at the boat harbor, and the bay is big enough and sufficiently varied to allow interesting paddling. These are generally protected waters, but if conditions do become unpleasant, it is easy to quit and go home. Under favorable wind and tide conditions, the paddle from Auke Bay to downtown Juneau is an easy day trip through Mendenhall Bar Channel – the shallow upper reaches of Gastineau Channel.
Trip Highlights: Spectacular views of Mendenhall Glacier and lots of Bald Eagles.


Icy Bay (Near Gustavus):

Formed this century by a receding glacier, Icy Bay gives one an idea of what explorer John Muir saw 100 years ago. Is there an unknown sea kayaker’s fantasy land in Alaska? A place where no more than a handful of people have ever disturbed the tranquil waters; where glaciers tumble to the sea from high mountains and meet wildlife and wildflowers in undiminished numbers? Along the broad arc of the Gulf of Alaska, 100 miles west of Glacier Bay National Park, enveloped in the rugged sweep of beaches at the foot of the 18,000-foot Mt. St. Elias, lies a new bay: Icy Bay.

Icy Bay now stretches 40 miles inland, and varies from four to ten miles wide. Its south shore is protected from the crashing waves of the open Pacific by a long, low neck of sand, the Pt. Riou spit, which marks the last forward advance of the glaciers. At the head of the bay lie three deep fjords and the glaciers that formed them: the Tyndall, Yahtse, and Guyot. In between is 40 miles of unsurpassed wilderness, a paddling and camping paradise.

Fishing from a kayak:

Fishing rods can be carried on the craft. Anglers catch salmon and rockfish from kayaks — and occasionally they hook Alaska’s favorite flatfish, the halibut.