Icy Bay Sea Kayaking Trip

Discover Icy Bay. World Class Kayaking.


  • 5 nights camping
  • Five days sea kayaking
  • One night of comfort in one of the finest backcountry lodges in Alaska (optional)
  • Private charter flight Yakutat to/from Icy Bay
  • Unbeatable camping, wildlife & scenery
  • Spectacular views of Mt. St. Elias

Welcome to our Icy Bay sea kayaking trip in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

I’m always exited to return to this area and explore this geographic phenomenon again. You will be too.

Icy Bay is one of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park’s least visited areas, and also one of Alaska’s best kept secrets. Few visitors venture here.

The place offers simply superb, second-to-none, sea kayaking. Paddle up close to the giant, calving glaciers and countless icebergs. Photograph the various species of marine mammals and myriad different sea birds. The world’s tallest coastal mountain and mountain range tower above you.

Enjoy all this with the very strong probability that you won’t encounter another human being the whole time. You’ll likely see grizzly bear tracks in the sand along the beach long before you see any human footprints!

Camping

A beachfront campsite with my favorite view in all Alaska. The world’s tallest coastal mountain towers overhead. Glaciers crawl from the mountain peaks down to the shoreline and the deep clear waters of Icy Bay lap at your doorstep.

For solitude, for wilderness experience, and for an exceptional sea kayaking vacation, Icy Bay has it all. The area affords us some nice day hiking options as well.

This is one Alaska vacation experience you’ll not forget!

Icy Bay Sea Kayaking Trip Video

Trip Info

You’ll love five nights camping in Icy Bay, one night at Icy Bay Lodge. 5 days of paddling, hiking and photographing.

Camp by the beach and enjoy a nightly fire and great food. The view from dinner doesn’t get any better.

Paddling adventures will takes us across the bay and up the various fjords and passages of the bay. We’ll try to get up close to the various glaciers and icebergs but must treat them all with respect. Water in the bay can easily reach depths of 300 feet!

This is rated as an easy trip and we offer a flexible itinerary to accommodate you/your group.

Combine a few days sea kayaking with some hiking, beach camping, exploring and relaxing in one of the most impressive landscapes anywhere. Basecamp and enjoy paddling different fjords each day.

Or if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous we can break camp each day and paddle to a new location.

Your call.

Coastal Alaska

Icy Bay

100 years ago, this bay was covered in ice. A multitude of massive gainers crept southward from the St. Elias Mountains and met the shores of the northern Pacific Ocean along the Cape Yakataga shoreline. There was no bay here when Captain Cook sailed by in 1778.

Today, after a century of recent glacial retreat, Icy Bay is a cluster of cool, deep bays. As the glaciers recede further northward toward the lofty sanctity of the St. Elias Range, Icy Bay grows even larger.

Three large fjords constitute the best of our paddling domain, and we’ll explore the nooks and crannies of all of them; the Taan and the Tsaa in particular.

Icy Bay was labelled one of the 10 treasures of the world by National Geographic, and truly lives up to its reputation. Icebergs the size of a small house float by. Mountains soar overhead.

Mt. St. Elias

Any commentary on Icy Bay inevitably includes observations on Mt. St. Elias.

Why? Because it’s a remarkable mountain, and a powerful spectacle. When the clouds clear and the mountain comes out, it commands our attention.

Rising over 18 000 feet directly from the shoreline, the mountain is the tallest coastal peak in the world. Sitting on the US/Canada border, it is the second tallest peak in both countries. Its presence above our camp and our excursions is constant. You’re ever aware of this mountain.

The Saint Elias mountain range is the world’s tallest coastal mountain range, and the scenery here is without equal. Snow-capped peaks surround you. You’ll also get great views of 4 glaciers, the Guyot, Yahtse and Tyndall Glaciers being the most prominent.

Who's This Trip For?

This trip is a great option for those looking for an easy vacation in a remote and beautifully wild setting. It’s also customizable enough to fit both novice paddlers and experienced kayakers and outdoors people.

Looking for a quiet getaway? This trip is for you. Solitude and a peaceful serene wilderness locale make the Icy Bay Sea Kayaking Trip the perfect summer destination. The relatively calm, glassy water of the fjords make it a nice place to paddle for those with little or no experience.

You might also take short easy dayhikes along the beach or through the woods. Explore the edges of the glaciers at the far reaches of the fjords. There are numerous small creeks and waterfalls to enjoy and photo opps around every bend.

For those folks looking for a more rigorous outing we’ll break camp each day and kayak the entire length and breadth of the bay. There are campsites along the beach near the glaciers. If you’d like we can make this an expedition adventure of the entire Icy Bay.

Where Are We?

Logistics

Depending on the exact trip itinerary and extension options you’d prefer, we depart from Yakutat to Icy Bay, or possibly from McCarthy. We’ll fly in to Icy Bay, grab lunch at the Icy Bay Lodge, catch a 30 minute shuttle via ferry boat to our basecamp location deeper in the bay, and set up camp.

Weather issues

The Taan Fjord still shows on many maps as ice covered! The calm, protected pristine waters of these fjords make classic Alaska sea kayaking. Even in inclement weather we’re typically able to get out and paddle. We can venture up the various fjords towards the glaciers, hike the shore lands and poke around the glaciers as we explore this very dynamic area.

Gear Requirements

I’ll provide you with a detailed gear list upon your reservation. download the Free eBook Info Packet for a brief overview if you like.

Trip Options & Extensions

There are various possibilities to extend the trip. We can head to the nearby Samovar hills for a multi-day hike, or the Lost Coast for a backpack/packraft trip, or cross over the mighty St. Elias Mountains and combine this trip with one of the backpacking/basecamp trips in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, such as Iceberg Lake – Bremner Mines. For a challenging adventure, we can grab our backpacks and traverse across the mighty Malaspina Glacier in an honestly epic adventure. Not for the meek!!! We can, if you’re interested, also extend the Icy Bay sea kayaking portion of the trip to more thoroughly explore every nook and cranny of this amazing place!

Trip Itinerary

Caveat – don’t expect your trip to run exactly as I outline it here. This section is here to give you an outline of a typical itinerary, and is only intended as a sample. That said …. read on

Day 0 – You need to arrive in Yakutat the night before our trip begins.

Day 1 – We’ll meetup the morning of your trip departure date for a brief orientation and gear review. next, meet your pilot for a spectacular charter flight to Icy Bay. We’ll fly to Icy Bay Lodge, pick up our kayaks, have a bite to eat, and then take a short ferry ride up the bay to our campsite.

No Cruise Liners Here?

A shallow sand strip near the mouth of the bay keeps the area free of these monstrosities. We’re able to enjoy this incredible place in relative solitude.

Testimonial

Icy Bay Sea Kayaking trip Alaska Seb D“The place, the guide, the weather !!! Carl has successfully answered our expectations and even more. Don’t think, sign with him !!!

– Seb Delhaye, France

What's Included?

Flexibility means I can accommodate most of your additional gear needs. Typically, I’ll include your kayaking gear, return charter flights to Icy Bay (from Yakutat), and general group gear. Let me know what you don’t have, or would like us to provide, and we’ll get to work on that for you.

Trip FAQs

  • One reason Icy Bay is such a great sea kayaking location is the distinct and very noticeable absense of cruise ships.

    None of the major cruise liners venture into the Bay, which makes the area very different from many of Alaska’s other more popular sea kayaking destinations. A shallow sand strip near the mouth of the bay has so far continued to keep the area free of these monstrosities, and we’re able to enjoy this incredible place in relative solitude. In 2013 the only other vessel we saw in the entire week was a small private sailboat that drifted nearby for a few hours.

  • Icy Bay is a great bird watching area, and we’ll see an array of ducks, sea birds, shore birds and raptors. Bald eagles are common, as are falcon as well. Both marbled and the endangered Kittlitz’s murrelets are found in Icy Bay.

    Harbor Seals come into the bay as well, hunting salmon, which are always a treat to see. With an estimated population in the bay of over 3500 seals, you’ll more than likely see quite a few!

    This is one of the few areas where they’re rarely bothered by orcas, so they’re often very visible in the calm waters, as well as loafing around, soaking up the sun resting on the icebergs. June/early July is birthing time, so it’s possible you’ll see some cute seal pups as well.

    If we’re lucky, we’ll also see mountain goats as well. Grizzly bears are abundant in the area, and it’s likely that we’ll see them as well.

  • Perfect trip for the beginner. Perfect for the intermediate paddler and darn near perfect for experienced paddlers as well.

    That’s as honest as I can tell ya. Read the linked articles here for some tutorials.

  • The beauty of a basecamp sea kayak trip is the flexibility. We’ve done days with good, solid experienced paddlers where we covered almost thirty miles in a day. Other days, with other paddlers, 5 or 6 miles.

  • I like to keep the group to five, maximum. Contact me to talk about bringing a larger group if you need to.

  • Flights on major airlines come through Anchorage or Juneau.

  • Not too bad.

  • I know you do. I do as well.

    I recommend starting with the General Trip FAQ page

    More questions? Email me or call me  and we’ll go through them.

    Upon your reservation I’ll also send out a comprehensive trip information packet that covers just about everything and more you might imagine about your trip.

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