I usually don’t love out-and-back hikes, but I can say I looked forward to the return trip, not just because it was downhill. Harding Icefield Trail Exit Glacier Trails Map photo taken July 2003 North 0 0.5 Miles 0 0.5 Kilometers Kenai Fjords National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Harding Icefield Trail A hike to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail gives you a glimpse of what much of south-central Alaska looked like during the last ice age. Camping is permitted along the trail only 1/8 mile from the trail on bare ground, not on vegetation! 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. Trail Map: National Geographic Trails Illustrated - Kenai Fjords National Park Trail Map Maps & GPS; Download GPS Track; Description. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. The trail is strenuous – you’ll gain about 1,000 feet of elevation each mile – and it will take you most of the day to complete it. Because of the heavy traffic in this area, walking or camping on vegetation is devastating. ~ƒËkW¸zaÍӁ? Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! Make sure to keep an eye on the time! Log In. Pack a warm coat or fleece, windbreaker and hat. The Harding Icefield Trail is a great ambassador for the changing environment because of how easy it is accessed by people from all over the world. If you have recently hiked the Harding Icefield Trail, please feel free to leave info about the conditions in the comments below. Look back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Harding Icefield. Alpine flora takes a very long time to grow, so please stick to the trails. The Harding Icefield Trail near Seward is one of Alaska’s most memorable hikes. You'll gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile so be sure to allow at least 6-8 hours for this trip. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder and cottonwood forest as well as heather-filled meadows. For the more adventurous, the challenging Harding Icefield Trail is a must. Map and descriptions for numerous trails near the entrance and Visitor Center to Denali National Park. All-Day Run: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! You are not allowed to camp up there. Snow persists into mid-summer at the higher elevations. Yet the trail is very well-traveled and flagged. Kenai Fjords National Park was established as a national monument in 1978. The expanse of ice and snow seems endless. Winding through the valley floor, the trail passes through a forest of alder and cottonwood, over meadows abundant in heather with a climactic ascent above the tree line to a stunning vista of the Harding Icefield. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. However, the walk down to get a closer look at the ice is worth it. Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. National Park Service Ranger-led walks are available as well as a guiding service through Exit Glacier Guides. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. Depending on the time of year, you may be crossing some snowfields. Sign Up. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. To avoid hypothermia, change into dryer and/or warmer clothes at the emergency hut located 1/4 mile before the edge of the Icefield. The hike begins at the Exit Glacier Nature Center. You can go inside, but it is not permitted to camp here as it is an emergency-only shelter. Stay with us while exploring Seward After a day of hiking in the alpine tundra, stay with us at one of 3 conveniently located downtown Seward hotels. Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. The flora shrinks the higher you climb until there’s nothing but alpine meadows, towering mountains, waterfalls, and a behemoth of a blue and white glacier below you. This is a Harding Icefield Trail map, showing the route up to the Harding Icefield from the Exit Glacier area and visitor center. For physically fit hikers, a strenuous four-mile trail parallels the glacier’s north edge on a 3,000-foot ascent to the ice field, offering spectacular views of the glacier and surrounding mountains along the way. (If you’re looking for something a little tamer, these are some great walks and may only take a few hours to explore). The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. Explore. Overview. Kenai Fjords lodging map The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Harding Icefield (Seward) Distance: 8 miles round trip Difficulty: Challenging. The Kenai Peninsula tends to be wet, so definitely be prepared to deal with rain (or snow). Topographical Map. There are also trails to the toe of the glacier and to the edge of the glacier that are shorter and less steep than the Harding Icefield Trail. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. The 8.2-mile out-and-back run along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. The icefield is the birthplace of nearly forty glaciers, and the Harding Icefield Trail climbs alongside one of the most famous and accessible of these, the Exit Glacier, for an out-of-this-world view of the icefield. Often these crevasses are snowcovered, so there’s no indication of what you are walking over. The trail itself is only 3.8 miles out, but you'll need to access it via the Exit Glacier Paved Path, which adds to the overall distance.Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area … 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 expansive view of endless ice floor above the clouds will take your breath away! Trails for all walkers and hikers. It can snow any time of the year, and the local climate is typically very wet. Be sure to check other restrictions with the National Park Service before your trip! Eventually, you come to the end of the maintained trail. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. A trail shelter sits atop an outcropping. Thank you for your support! How to shoot the northern lights, how to edit photos in post-processing with a focus on FOSS software programs. Back to Alaska Guide Alaska Guide – Hiking, If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. Map of Harding Icefield Trail (red) and Exit Glacier trails (blue) – map disclaimer and information. Check out the Resurrection River Trail at Mile 7 of Exit Glacier Road. A link to the trail map: Harding Icefield Trail Map The Harding Icefield trail is located about 9 miles down Exit Glacier Road, just outside of Seward, Alaska. The Harding Icefield Trailhead is located on the right about 1/3 of mile along the Exit Glacier Paved Path. While it helps to be in shape and have strong legs and endurance, I rate the trail moderate in difficulty because it’s only 3.7 miles (6 km) of climbing and is very well maintained. Soon you step out of the alder, willow, and cottonwood and find yourself surrounded by flowers and other tall plants. Click the image to view a full size JPG (580 kb) or download the PDF (550 kb). Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. *ד¶ Additionally, bears frequent this area, so you must know how to stay safe in bear country! endstream endobj 11 0 obj <> endobj 12 0 obj <> endobj 13 0 obj <>stream There is a register to sign in at the trail head. An informational display outside of the Visitor’s Center at Exit provides a visual map of the glacier’s location, but because it was taken in 2005 and is thus already outdated, our guide Lane used his finger to show us the terminus at the present year of 2017. Looking back, you can see the enormous glacial outflow plain where this past piedmont glacier once sprawled across 200 years ago. We hiked this trail around the end of July in 2020 and here is a guide of what you need to know before diving into this epic adventure. This is one of the most stunning sections of trail I’ve ever seen. Keep your eyes peeled for Mountain Goats that frequent the areas along this hike. History. From cottonwood forests on the lower trail, the trek takes you through some rocky terrain, to green alpine meadows overlooking the blue, crevassed Exit Glacier, past mountain cascades up to a vista of the endless sea of ice that is the Harding Icefield. After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. We planned to exit on the Grewingk Glacier, which would provide an easy summer trail to access Kachemak Bay and a boat ride to Homer. 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. Showing results 1 - 90 of 744. It was worth a pause to get out of the rain. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Help Download the app. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the best hikes in Alaska without a doubt. My foot punched through into water a few times. In late July, I’ve had to cross about a half-mile in snowfields. Kenai Fjords National Park - Harding Icefield Trail is a hiking trail near Seward, Alaska, United States - Edit Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. This is a day hike only. A "can't believe I'm here" moment: top of Harding Icefield Trail. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. This is the turn-around. If traveling in September, consider gloves and a hot thermos. The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. Winding through the valley floor, the trail passes through a forest of alder and cottonwood, over meadows abundant in heather with a climactic ascent above the tree line to a stunning vista of the Harding Icefield. There are no trash receptacles or outhouses along the trail, so be prepared to pack everything out or dig a cat hole at least 100 feet from the trail or water source for human waste. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. The construction of the Spruce Creek trail that year, however, made it possible to view the upper portions of the icecap, and President Harding's promise to visit the territory was sufficient to bestow his name on the feature. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Sign Up. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. Even though I would allow for an entire day for the Harding Icefield Trail, it wasn’t difficult to add the Glacier Overlook Trail, which only added a mile out-and-back. 5. Starting on the Glacier Overlook Trail. Early in the season, there may be avalanche risk. Be sure you know what you are doing if venturing out on steep snow! Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. Following the Glacier Overlook Trail for 0.4 miles (0.64 km), the Harding Icefield Trail branches off to the right (well-marked). Harding Icefield Trail - Hiking. There is a trail shelter high up for emergency use only. Green meadows give way to rocky alpine terrain. You can check out my other photos and galleries here! The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Full FTC Disclosure. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. My income comes partly from affiliate links on these pages and from photographic print sales. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. I highly recommend this trail for anyone that is suitably fit and has some experience hiking and navigating.
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