Kenai Fjords National Park Alaska
At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords’ crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Sugpiaq people relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Seward, AK 99664
The Exit Glacier area is the only part of the park accessible by road.
Here you can explore the trails, walk very close to an active glacier, or take a ranger-led walk.
Walk the “Edge of the Glacier Trail” (also known as the Lower Trail) to get a good photo in front of glacier ice, it’s not huge, but it looks big up close. The trail also provides access for people with disabilities.
If you’re looking for more of an adventure, take the Harding Icefield Trail, which climbs 3,500 feet in 4.2 miles. It is a challenging day hike, but you are
treated with stunning views of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. This massive icefield is the source of 38 named glaciers, including Exit. This steep trail is best suited for in-shape hikers (might be hard on the knees, too).
Harding Icefield Trail
The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages – a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken only by an occasional nunatak, or lonely peak.
The trail is strenuous! Hikers gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. Allow at least 6-8 hours for the hike. Although the view from the top is well worth the effort, you need not hike all the way to the top to experience the wonders of this trail. A short hike up the trail affords impressive views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier’s terminus.