Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska
Tracy Arm Fjord is where the mountains give way to the icy sea below. Richly coloured granite rocks delve into the ocean, which is a beautiful, almost emerald green colour. Stretching across more than 45 kilometres of twists and turns, Tracy Arm is an up-close and personal experience with Alaska’s Inner Passage region.
The Nordic term for a waterway enclosed by steep cliffs, a fjord is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Tall mountains and icy waterfalls line the edges of the waterway, highlighting rock formations moulded by the elements. At the end of the fjord, the waterway extends past 180 metres deep and icebergs float gently by.
Mountains reaching more than 1.5 kilometres high frame the water and are home to numerous mountain goats and a variety of birds. Tracy Arm is also the natural habitat for both brown and black bears, deer, wolves and harbor seals.
What makes Tracy Arm Fjord an absolute must-do on your cruise is the close proximity you will enjoy. As your boat navigates the fjord, the cliffs, waterfalls and ice is almost within your reach. An overcast day exaggerates the striking colours of the cliff faces, highlighting the diversity that this area is renowned for.
As lush rainforest gives way to bare rock, you will stare in wonder at the trees clinging to the edge of the cliffs. Almost vertical in some spots, Tracy Arm is an impressive culmination of nature.
Tracy Arm Fjord is approximately 80 kilometres south of Juneau, the nearest port. As the cruise ship capital of Alaska, Juneau port is equipped to deal with multiple ships at the same time. More than 400 cruise ships dock here every year.Public transport services cater to the influx of passengers.
Juneau’s cruise ship terminal is located only a few minutes away from the city centre by car. Public transport services run regularly, including bus and taxi transfers. There are regular shuttles and bus services leaving from the terminal to many local attractions, including the Last Chance Mining Museum and Mendenhall Glacier.
- Public toilets
- Visitor centre and Juneau guides
- Tourism information
- Access to public transport
- Cafes, restaurants and shops are nearby.
Accommodation in Juneau is plentiful, with a variety of lodges, inns and hotels available to cater to cruise visitor arrivals.
How to Get Around
Juneau International Airport is just 14 kilometres from the cruise ship terminal. There are taxi and bus services to transport passengers to the downtown region, their accommodation or the cruise ship terminals.
Visitors to Juneau may walk to the downtown area from the cruise ship terminal, which will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes. There are a number of car rental companies in Juneau, most of which offer a pick up and drop off service as well.
- Currency – The currency in Tracy Arm and Juneau is the United States Dollar (USD). Denomination is: USD$1, USD$2, USD$5, USD$10, USD$20, USD$50, USD$100 bills. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent (₵) and USD$1 denominations.
- Time Zone – Tracy Arm Fjord observes Alaska Standard Time (AKST), which is 9 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Saving Time (AKDT) begins in March and runs until November - AKDT is 8 hours behind UTC.
- Weather – Wet weather clothing is essential, particularly when on route to Tracy Arm. Mist or rain is the norm, with some nearby areas recording more than 3000mm of rain per year. Summer temperatures range from 15-12 degrees Celsius, while winter temperatures range from -2 to 1 degree Celsius.
- Sawyer Glaciers – These twin tidewater glaciers are the place to see active calving. The sound of the ice cracking is just the beginning of a natural spectacular. North Sawyer and South Sawyer are found at the end of Tracy Arm. South Sawyer’s face is a 1/3 of a mile long, while North Sawyer The glaciers have their own waterfalls, some of which are more than 100 feet high.
- Tongass National Forest – Tracy Arm is part of the protected forest area that is Tongass. The lush forestry is home to abundant wildlife, from seabirds and mountain goats, to brown bears, black bears and wolves. Be sure to have your camera ready.
- Stephens Pass – During many months of the year, whales can be spotted in Stephens Pass, which is on the trip to Tracy Arm. It’s also a popular spot for eagles and bears. Often cruises are lucky enough to pass whales as they surface.
- Harbor Seals – Tracy Arm is a popular spot for seals to inhabit. The thickness of the ice causes problems with whales’ sonar system, so it is safe for calves and mothers during the summer months. The seals favour the icebergs for sunning themselves.