Gustavus Wildlife Viewing
Beardslee Islands

photo of Beardslee Islands area wildlife Watch wildlife from the water’s surface on a kayak trip into the Beardslee Islands. Humpback whales, sea otters and harbor seals are scattered throughout the Beardslees, with whales and otters most likely to be seen on the western side of the islands. Watch the shore for black bears and moose. Black oystercatchers – black shorebirds with bright red-orange bills – nest on the islands. Look for harlequin ducks, pigeon guillemots, pelagic cormorants, arctic terns, marbled murrelets and large flocks of molting mergansers as well.


Harbor seals and sea birds are drawn to feed in the calm, sheltered waters of the Beardslees, and moose come each summer to browse on the abundance of plants on the islands.


  • Black Bear
  • Black Oystercatcher
  • Harbor Seal
  • Humpback Whale
  • Marbled Murrelet
  • Moose
  • Pelagic Cormorant
  • Pigeon Guillemot
  • Sea Otter
  • Terns


Look for moose swimming, or "moose paddling," between islands as they feed and raise their calves throughout the summer.


  • Fee
  • Interpretive Signs


Guided trips and kayak rentals are available. Before heading out on your own, check with a park ranger about tides, maps and areas closed for the protection of wildlife. Multi-day campers must attend an orientation, receive a permit and check out bear-resistant food containers. The Beardslee Islands are closed to motorized vessels, and the calm waters make this an ideal paddle for kayakers of all skill levels.

Plan to spend at least: 2 hours - full day +

Best Months

█ Best Month

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • Best Month May
  • Best Month June
  • Best Month July
  • Best Month August
  • Best Month September
  • October
  • November
  • December


The Beardslee Islands are adjacent to Bartlett Cove, where most of Glacier Bay's infrastrucutre and visitor services are.


National Park Service - (907) 697-2230 or

Additional Information

Living with Bears