What Are Some Facts About Glacier Bay in Alaska?

Glacier Bay, in Alaska, has been a National Park and Preserve since 1980. The size of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is over 3 million acres, making it close to the size of the entire state of Connecticut.

Glacier Bay is located in southeast Alaska in a cool and wet coastal temperate rain forest. In the summer, the temperature doesn't usually get higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the winter the temperature can plunge to negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, the area experiences precipitation more than 200 days per year. Glacier Bay receives about 14 feet of snow each year, except for in the Fairweather Mountains where total snowfall can exceed a staggering 100 feet. Mount Fairweather is the tallest mountain within Glacier Bay with an elevation exceeding 15,000 feet.

Glacier Bay was covered by one single tidewater glacier when Captain George Vancouver and the H.M.S. Discovery sailed the Alaskan coast in 1794. The glacier measured up to 4,000 feet thick in some places at that time. By 1879, the massive glacier had retreated 30 miles, more than enough to form an actual bay. Glacier Bay experienced massive earthquakes in 1853, 1874, 1899, 1936 and 1958. As of 2014, there are over 1,000 glaciers recorded in the park.