Icy Strait is in the northern part of the famous Inside Passage that runs through the Alexander Archipelago in Southeast Alaska. Icy Strait separates Chichagof Island to the south and the Alaska mainland to the north. It is 40 miles from its west side at Cross Sound -- the entrance to the Gulf of Alaska -- to the east, where Lynn Canal and Chatham Strait fetch North and South.
Icy Strait supports abundant populations of world-class salmon and halibut, as well as harbor seals, Stellar's sea lions, humpback whales, orcas, sea otter and many bird species. The landforms and undersea depths create tidal mixing, which concentrates feed for marine life from plankton to humpback whales. Whale watching, charter fishing, wildlife tours and kayaking – all available in Gustavus -- are popular ways to experience Icy Strait.
Along the north shoreline of Icy Strait from the east are Point Couverden, Homeshore, Excursion Inlet, the city of Gustavus, the mouth of the two arms of Glacier Bay National Park, Dundas Bay, Taylor Bay and Cape Spencer at the Pacific Ocean. The wild, open sandy beach along the shoreline of Gustavus is protected by the Nature Conservancy.
Glacier Bay National Park extends from the park entrance to the Pacific Ocean. On the south shoreline are Hoonah and Icy Strait Point, Point Adolphus, Mud Bay, Port Althrop, Elfin Cove and Pelican. The Inian Islands, near the entrance to the Pacific Ocean, block ocean swells, which create comfortable boating conditions in Icy Strait.