It might be just the fifth most-visited park in Alaska, but Kenai Fjords National Park is one of most beautiful spots in the whole state (and that’s saying something in a place like Alaska!). Overall, Harding Ice Field hike has â ¦ Even as you hike up, you'll notice the how the age of the forest changes. There are a couple short (but steep) trails that go up to a viewpoint of the Exit Glacier, or visitors can hike the 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail. Mountaineers that have experience with traversing glaciers, crevasse rescue techniques, and are experienced skiers can ski or snowshoe across the icefield. Originally, it was in 1978 on the 1st of December when the Kenai Fjords National Monument was designated by the American President Jimmy Carter. “There is a program for everyone,” say the rangers. The temperature can drop considerably when you are sitting a quarter-mile from a tidewater glacier,” they explain. “In the evening, much of the glacier is in shadow and you are shooting against the light.”, 5. Most people visit Kenai Fjords National Park to explore the Exit Glacier. The scenery has beautiful mountains and lakes and the first 50 miles run along the Turnagain Arm, which is home to beluga whales. The smaller group size gives you the best opportunities to interact with and ask questions of our experienced, knowledgeable crew. “This is when the steep walls come alive with ephemeral waterfalls, and the subdued light actually makes the glaciers take on a deeper blue tint.”. The road to Exit Glacier isn't plowed during the wintertime, and therefore is closed to traffic when blanketed with snow and ice. Kenai Fjords National Park goes a step further, too, making available Art for Parks Backpacks filled with art supplies to explore your creative side whilst in the aprk. The park is famous for the fjords it contains, which are valleys that were created by glaciers that are now below sea level. You can still ski or snowmobile on the road in the winter to get into Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier is the ideal ‘exit’ since it is the one access point where you don’t have to rely on meeting a boat or a plane.” The trip can take anywhere from six days to a couple weeks, and mountaineers should be prepared for a storm to come in at anytime and cause white-out conditions. There are almost 40 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield, one of the largest in the United States. 281 Reviews . The park covers an area of 669,984 acres (1,046.9 sq mi; 2,711.3 km ) on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, near the town of Seward. I know they will all be great but may need to limit them. It’s a very strenuous day hike, gaining about 1,000 feet of elevation per mile, so plan on spending about 6-8 hours out there. Take a hike: Experienced hikers may want to take on the Harding Icefield Trail, what park rangers call “arguably the best day hike in the National Park Service.” The Harding Icefield Trail begins at the Exit Glacier Nature Center and travels to the edge of the Harding Icefield, which makes up 50 percent of the park. Take flight: Get a bird’s eye view of the park via a flight tour with a park-approved outfitter. According to theNPS website, “the most popular routes are from Tustemena Glacier to Exit Glacier and from Chernof Glacier (via the Fox River on Kachemak Bay) to Exit Glacier. The trails are steep, so hiking poles are definitely helpful. The best time of year to visit Kenai Fjords National Park is the summer, when the days are longer. 2. Visit Exit Glacier: Be sure to take the time to visit Exit Glacier, the only part of the park accessible by road. The fjords that have been carved by glaciers over thousands of years have created estuary ecosystems that are only found in five other locations in the world. “There are many opportunities for guided trips around the park,” say the rangers. With the town of Seward as a home base, it’s easy to spend a couple days or more exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. Get on a boat: Much of the park is only accessible by water, including the fjord ecosystem and tidewater glaciers. In addition, the coastal backcountry is inaccessible late-fall through early-spring due to rough seas. Park rangers say that boat tours provide opportunities for wildlife viewing and experiencing amazing scenery. More inexperienced kayakers should hire a guide to navigate the tides. There are also opportunities for experienced kayakers to explore the fjords. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Kenai Fjords Tours (kenaifjords.com) offers a six- and eight-and-a-half hour cruises that depart from Seward and take tourists through tide-water glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Half-day tours stay within the more protected waters of Resurrection Bay, while full-day tours provide views of some of the park’s tidewater glaciers. Once at the lodge, there are nature trails to explore and kayaking in the gentle lagoon. It is one of the best bang-for-the-buck trails in Southcentral Alaska with spectacular views along most of its length. “Don’t come all the way to Alaska and then miss out on that opportunity,” say the park rangers. Check the “Kayaking in Kenai Fjords” map to plan your trip. Located roughly 2.5 hours south of Anchorage, the small community of Seward, Alaska acts as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Many people consider fjords the very symbol of Norway. The only way to explore the rest of Kenai Fjords is by boat and the Aialik Glacier is a popular destination. The road to Exit Glacier usually opens around May and closes with the first snow (around October). The captains of these boats are very informative about the surrounding area, sealife, and glaciers. There’s also a 12-person canoe that takes people across the glacial moraine to hike along the lagoon’s glacier. MORE PARK INFO: Kenai Fjords National Park, (907) 224-7500; nps.gov/kefj/ No products in the cart. In 1978, United States President Jimmy Carter designated Kenai Fjords as a national monument. 10. The Aialik Bay is the most popular kayaking spot in Kenai Fjords National Park, so try the Northwestern Fjord instead if you are looking for more solitude. This includes packing all litter! Harding Icefield Trail Map PDF: Access to the Harding Icefield is exceptional in comparison to other large icefields. It's a great place for kids, but also for adults to learn more about the animals in the area. Nearly 51 percent of the park is covered in ice, but there's still plenty to see and do within Kenai Fjords, which was designated a national park in 1980, just two years after it was established as a national monument by presidential proclamation. For those who might be nervous about taking on the adventure alone (bears are commonly spotted along the trail), there are ranger-led tours that leave the nature center at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays in July and August. ... Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay Half-Day Wildlife Cruise. Ice, ice, baby: You’ll find plenty of it at Kenai Fjords National Park on the edge of the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska, near Seward, where 40 glaciers are the main attraction. As The best way to kayak in the park is to either get dropped of in Aialik Bay or the Northwestern Lagoon (there are campsites along the these areas to stay the night) or by paddling from Seward to Resurrection Bay, Caines Head, or Bear Glacier. Aimed for kids ages 4 through 12, the guide is filled with activities that help kids learn more about the park’s glaciers and wildlife while having fun. Wonder at the sight of whales frolicking at sea - all of these signature Alaskan sights are easily accessible on our wildlife and glacier cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is also home to the Alaska SeaLife Center , which is not just an aquarium, but also a marine mammal rehabilitation center on Resurrection Bay. Become a Junior Ranger: Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park is for adventurers, so it’s no surprise that the park’s Junior Ranger program involves an adventure guide. Interestingly, … If a block of ice was to detach itself further high, it could roll down quite a ways. With so many natural wonders and easy access via road, rail, and boat, it’s no surprise that the area draws visitors of all stripes. This country contains some of the longest, deepest, and most beautiful fjords in the world. Whale watching cruises are a popular activity on the waters along the coast of the park. This is Alaska, after all, so when planning your visit, consider that peak visiting months are June, July and August, while limited services are available in May and September. Kenai Fjords National Park, which is situated 130 miles south of Anchorage near Seward, Alaska, is home to a quarter of the state’s glaciers.While the park’s icefields have receded due to climate change, many glaciers are still intact, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Visitors can drive to Seward, the nearest town, from Anchorage along the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway, or take the train from Anchorage. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, th… There are a couple short (but steep) trails that go up to a viewpoint of the Exit Glacier, or visitors can hike the 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail. If you do make it all the way, you are rewarded with a spectacular view back into the ice age. Jul 23, 2012 - Explore Kenai Peninsula Tourism Market's board "Kenai Fjords", followed by 264 people on Pinterest. 4. In a survey conducted by National Geographic Traveler Magazine the famous fjords of Norway were selected as the number one unspoiled travel spot from a list of 115 destinations around the world. It’s possible to drive up to where Exit Glacier is;  that’s the only part of the park accessible by car. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southeast Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park in Southcentral Alaska are best seen from the water. This is our best tour … The Tracy Arm Fjord with Adventure Bound out of Juneau or Northwestern Fjord Tour out of Seward. Kenai Fjords National Park is a 669,984 acre park located in Alaska in the United States. You may even hear a harbor seal bellowing from an iceberg.”. Join a ranger: Throughout the summer, park and fjord rangers offer programs from walking to hiking to talks about the park. There is no land access to Glacier Bay park. Inlet and into the glacier-filled Chugach Mountains. From Glacier View, hike west 1,000 feet to a T-junction and turn left. The park is named for the numerous fjordscarved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. I have taken many glacier and whale watching cruises in Alaska, so I can speak from experience that Kenai Fjords Tours is one of the best. There are about 27 species of land mammals and 10 species of marine mammals in the area, including moose, black bears, wolverines, coyotes, mountain goats, harbor seals, Stellar sea lions, porpoises, and sea otters. During many of the tours, park rangers provide narration, as well as present programs at Fox Island. Experienced kayakers often travel in and around Resurrection Bay. 8. This is a list of glaciers existing in the United States, currently or in recent centuries.These glaciers are located in nine states, all in the Rocky Mountains or farther west. A fjord is a long, narrow arm of the sea with steep sides, carved by glacial activity. 7 Excellent Spots for the Best Spring Skiing in North America, 7 Ways to Celebrate Spring In Jackson Hole, The 10 Best Family-Friendly Activities in Salt Lake City, 5 Ways to Explore Olympic's Rarely Visited Staircase Region. During the summer, potable water is available at the restroom building, through both water-fountains and a water-bottle filling station. At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. For a unique experience, book a stay in the eco-friendly Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. We are the original Kenai Fjords wildlife and glacier cruise operator, since 1974. The park was designated as a national park in 1980 as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Be prepared: If you do take a boat tour, park rangers suggest that you come ready for the weather: “Bring warm layers for the boat tour: something to break the wind, light- to medium-weight gloves and a hat. Ped­er­sen Glac­i­er, locat­ed in Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park, reced­ed through­out the 20 th cen­tu­ry expos­ing Ped­er­sen Spit and Ped­er­sen Lagoon. How many glacier viewing cruises is enough? Come prepared for any kind of weather, including snow on the trail. The water is that gorgeous blue-green created by glacial melt, and you can see the harbor seals and a variety of seabirds that spend time on the Northwestern Glacier. A network of short trails leads to different views of Exit Glacier, including a one-mile accessible loop and the more rugged Edge of the Glacier trail. He designated the park via the Antiquities Act. Log in; Home; Windows. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Many people walk up to, and in some cases onto the glacier using the Exit Glacier … Massive glaciers can be viewed with relative ease in Alaska's national parks. Take in the views of this massive sheet of ice, then turn around for the return trip to the trailhead. Though Kenai Fjords National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round, it’s not necessarily accessible that often. Kenai Fjords National Park was established as a national monument in 1978. Rainy days aren't bad: “Don't fret if you find yourself with a grey, rainy day to tour the fjords,” advise the park rangers. The trail starts at the valley floor and winds through forests and meadows until getting above the tree line. Take your time exploring Exit Glacier, and then take a cruise or kayak tour around one of the bays. Kenai Fjords National Park, Wrangle-St. Elias National Park, and Glacier Bay National Park, are all known for their glacier viewing. For a head start in your planning, we checked in with Kenai Fjords National Park Rangers to compile these 10 tips, in no particular order: 1. See more ideas about kenai fjords, kenai, fjord. Park rangers suggest visiting Exit Glacier early in the day for the best photographs. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. Once at the top, visitors will have an impressive and breathtaking view of the entire icefield, which stretches as far as the eye can see. It became a national park in 1980 to preserve the fjord and rainforest ecosystems, Harding Icefield, abundant wildlife and historical and archeological remains, and to provide visitor access. The Harding Icefield located in Kenai Fjords National Park is the largest icefield contained entirely within the United States, 300 square miles and if you included the glaciers which descends from the icefield it would be over 1,100 square miles. The park is 669,984 acres and more than half of it is covered in ice. Windows 10; Windows 8.1; Microsoft Office Please try again. The waters here are very dangerous. All of this land was once buried beneath the ice and still bears its influence, in both the physical forms, and the everyday glacial terminology used at the park. One of the most popular glaciers is the Exit Glacier which can be reached by road. Outdoor destinations + local stories & exclusive outdoor events. When you arrive at the park, stop in at the park’s two visitor centers to plan your time to make the most out of your visit. The park boasts abundant wildlife, alpine and tidewater glaciers, and breathtaking scenery. It is one of the most accessible valley glaciers in Alaska and is a visible indicator of glacial recession due to climate change. Kenai Fjords National Park is an American national park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. On land, you may spot moose, mountain goats, river otters, snowshoe hares, lynx, gray wolves, wolverines, and black and brown bears. April is the best time for this and the best access points to get on the glacier are on the east side and Tustemena or Chernof glaciers on the west. The crew members are dedicated to the comfort and overall good experience of their guests. Paddle the fjords: While park rangers advise that the park’s waters are not for beginners, you can get out on the water to kayak the fjords. The Exit Glacier area features the park’s only maintained hiking trails, a campground and the Exit Glacier Nature Center. It’s from the air that you will really be able to take in the size and scope of the park, as well as the varying landscapes. And in the air, focus your binoculars for any one of the 191 species of birds found within the park’s boundaries, including bald and golden eagles, and two types of puffins (who may be found feasting on the water’s surface, too). Skirting the Harding Ice Field from the highway junction to Homer - July 2004. 9. from $166.25* Rangers say that the “8.2-mile round trip hike is strenuous, gaining nearly 1,000 feet of elevation each mile on the way up,” and add, “The Harding Icefield Trail, though steep and somewhat strenuous, is worth every step. Beyond the incredible glacier views, the hills you will be hiking are rather amazing to look at too and on a clear day, you’ll also be able to see plenty of other glaciers on neighboring mountains. Resrurrection Bay and the fjords yield salmon, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. A state fishing license is required. Kenai Fjords National Park is a land dominated by glaciers, massive rivers of ice that flow out from the Harding Icefield. One of the best things about Kenai Fjords National Park is getting there. There are camping options that are accessible by kayak, or there is a 12-site, tent only campground just before the nature center. Many Glacier is one of the most popular campgrounds in the park, offering 109 sites for $23 per night. Glaciers can extend hundreds of feet below the surface, ... Usually less than 6 degrees Celsius, water in LeConte Bay is warm relative to the ice, and even other fjords around the world. 7. The route climbs gradually for another half a mile to an overlook at the edge of the glacier. Glaciers, waves and mountains have shaped Kenai Fjords National Park over millennia, forging some of the most awe-inspiring and picturesque vistas in Alaska. 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