Looking out into Harding Icefield (9571134014).jpg 4,000 × 3,000; 2.44 MB Northwestern Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park.jpg 3,456 × 2,304; 7.35 MB NPS kenai-fjords-harding-icefield-trail-map.pdf 1,275 × … Explore the most popular trails in Kenai Fjords National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. As an avid hiker, I can truly recommend the hike up to Harding Icefield. Even if you do not hike the entire length of the trail, simply experiencing part of it allows for stunning views of the valley and 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. 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. There is a short interpretive talk at 12pm and ranger-led walks daily at 10am, 2pm and 4pm, from Memorial Day through Labor Day on the Lower Trail, as well as a longer guided hike to the Harding Icefield (gaining 3,500 ft in 4.1 miles) takes place at 9am on Saturdays in July and August. Located in the Kenai Fjords National Park, you’ll want to Head to the Exit Glacier Nature Center 20-30 minutes outside of Seward and 2.5 hours from Anchorage. 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. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. Get yourself in shape before going so you can make it if that's what it takes. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. A trail shelter sits atop an outcropping. Click the image to view a full size JPG (580 kb) or download the PDF (550 kb). The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. In fact, I’ve hiked all over the world and this hike still belongs in my top 5 with best hikes on the planet. This is the turn-around. Kenai Fjords National Park is an American national park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.The park covers an area of 669,984 acres (1,046.9 sq mi; 2,711.3 km 2) on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, near the town of Seward.The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. While much of the first half is hiking a rocky trail through the treeline, there are plenty of views along the way and it’s certainly not a boring trail at any point. Popular Charitable Galleries Abstract Landscapes Wildlife Glaciers Aurora Forest Water, All material Copyright Lee Petersen 2010-2020 For usage please contact me at lee@lwpetersen.com 603-748-1057, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Back to Alaska Guide Alaska Guide – Hiking, If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi. I highly recommend this trail for anyone that is suitably fit and has some experience hiking and navigating. There’s a reason there is a glacier here so be sure to come prepared! Harding Icefield Trail Hike. Thank you for your support! National Geographic Trails Illustrated - Kenai Fjords National Park Trail Map Maps & GPS; Download GPS Track; Description. 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. Above the Harding Icefield. The best map of the trail route that I’ve seen can be found @ NPMaps.com. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. At its peak, some 23,000 years ago, it completely covered the Kenai Peninsula except for a few big nunataks, the Caribou Hills, a small patch on the Tustumena benchlands, and the area around Big Indian Creek in the northwestern Kenai Mountains. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Map to travel and hiking locations around Alaska. 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. The trail begins as a flat easy stroll through the trees, then climbs up a slope which gives a spectacular view of the valley below and the surround mountains. A steep, four-mile trail leads from the ranger station at Exit Glacier up to the edge of the icefield, affording visitors with a spectacular view and skilled mountaineers with ready access to the ice. But, since it had been raining all day, I was already soaked. 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. Skirting the Harding Ice Field from the highway junction to Homer - July 2004. It’s seriously Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones fantasy level stuff and if that’s not enough still, just check out the photos below. While doing the entire hike of 8.2-miles up to the icefield is sure to be unforgettable, even a shorter hike affords amazing views of the valley below and Exit Glacier’s terminus. Hike to the massive Harding Icefield along one of Alaska’s most spectacular trails. The icefield is a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses that once covered half of Alaska. Depending on the time of year, you may be crossing some snowfields. The hike was certainly a challenge, but I'm glad a stuck with it and did the whole trail. Above the Harding Icefield. The expanse of ice and snow seems endless. 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. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Keystone Canyon is a gorgeous 3-mile long canyon with enormous waterfalls and cliffsides near Valdez, Alaska. Check out the Resurrection River Trail at Mile 7 of Exit Glacier Road. Get directions, reviews and information for Exit Glacier and 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. By this point, you may be in an entirely different climate than the trailhead now almost a mile below. It can snow any time of the year, and the local climate is typically very wet. Because of the heavy traffic in this area, walking or camping on vegetation is devastating. The first quarter-mile (0.4 km) is through dense cottonwood and alder passing a few small cascades. This edition of Iconic Hikes features one of the only maintained trails within Kenai Fjords National Park, the Harding Icefield Trail. If you’re worried about taking this hike on yourself, there are guided treks available for a rather reasonable price from several local operators just outside the park. If you’re visiting Kenai Fjords National park, you get to hang out in the great port town of Seward. 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. Click on the picture for a map of our route. While it’s not a large structure, it does offer an interesting perspective in the otherwise in-human environment around. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Early in the season, about half of the trail is covered in snow, but hikers with … Go to the end. When you’re in glacial country, nothing is ever simple and the park service suggests 6-8 hours for this adventure though you can go a shorter way up the trail for a killer view of Exit Glacier too! The chance of seeing bear, dall sheep, mountain goats, and eagles is extremely high. Midway through the journey, transition from vast ocean coastline to otherworldly alpine scenery in Denali National Park. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. The rest of us can only begin to appreciate the magnitude of this immense geographic feature by air. Camping is permitted along the trail only 1/8 mile from the trail on bare ground, not on vegetation! 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. By this point, you’ll have a continuous view of the glacier from just about any high point and it’s fascinating to look out as the ice transforms from well crevassed towards the more stable field above. Overview. It looks so gentle and lightly sloping with a few granite outcrops poking above the surface. The overall profile is around 1,000′ / mile over rough terrain including plenty of large and often slick rocks. In the far north, the wilds of Alaska are home to black bears, moose and caribou while the Harding Icefield Trail delivers spectacular views of an enormous glacier. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area.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 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/harding-ice-field-trail The views are pleasant up to the second lookout point, where you start to get a better view of Exit Glacier, but it's at the end of the trail, where you can see the endless expanse of the Harding Ice Field, and it … The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. Each location has a link to a guide on that spot with more detail and things to do or see. All-Day Hike: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Hike the ‘Edge of the Glacier Trail’ or continue on longer to the ‘Harding Icefield Trail.’ No matter what you choose, you’ll be rewarded with delicious eye-candy for the entirety. That will give you enough time to hike to the end of the trail and back, plus have time for photos and an hour to have lunch and enjoy the view at the top. How to shoot the northern lights, how to edit photos in post-processing with a focus on FOSS software programs. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … These links help support this website and keeps the content free. The Kenai Peninsula tends to be wet, so definitely be prepared to deal with rain (or snow). Click the image to view a full size JPG (580 kb) or download the PDF (550 kb). Featured Holiday Options View All Options . Numerous long and spectacular glaciers descend from the crests of those mountains. National Geographic Trails Illustrated - Kenai Fjords National Park Trail Map Maps & GPS; Download GPS Track; Description. Description: This map shows Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. Going the distance to the end of the established trail is incredible but really there are a thousand views along the way to take in. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s … Just as the view changes, so does the trail, moving from lush hills into a rockier terrain. Well, the former base, the glacier has been progressively receding and first few minutes of walking will take you past a number of markers pointing out where the glacier use to reach not so long ago. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. Other articles where Harding Icefield is discussed: Alaskan mountains: Physiography of the southern ranges: …resulting in the Sargent and Harding ice fields in the Kenai Mountains (on the Kenai Peninsula) and the Bagley Ice Field in the eastern Chugach Mountains. The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. You can also sign up for hikes out on the glacier with guides providing technical gear and support of course. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Mostly vertical, it can be a real A** whupper, but ohhhhh, the reward is sooooo worth it. 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. 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 glacier ends in a narrow ravine, and melting water from the glacier forms a beautiful braided river that flows from the ravine across the valley floor. It may not be the easiest way to get up close views of Exit Glacier, but the 4.1 mile uphill route reveals stunning new sights of the glacier at every turn. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. Harding Icefield Trail. The hike begins at the Exit Glacier Nature Center. There is a trail shelter high up for emergency use only. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. If you have time after returning, it’s well worth the quick jaunt out to see the terminus up close. 4. Kenai Fjords lodging map. And then you get to the top where you will see the incredible Harding Icefield. Necessary warning: While Exit Glacier & the Harding Icefield Trail may just be a “day hike,” it’s nothing to take lightly. In late July, I’ve had to cross about a half-mile in snowfields. Kenai Fjords lodging map. It was worth a pause to get out of the rain. 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. 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. If you’re interested in a longer day hike to add to the Exit Glacier Trail, consider the Harding Icefield Trail. This 8.2 mile round trip hike takes you through alder forests, fields of fireweed, and alpine terrain, finishing at the top of the Harding Icefield; the second largest icefield in North America, where it's all blue ice as far as the eye can see. The Harding Icefield hike is a must-do hike in Kenai Mountains. The Harding Icefield Trail starts at the base of Exit Glacier. This physically demanding hike climbs about 1000 ft per mile (190 m/km). The Twin Bears Trail is a relatively easy day hike at mile 29.5 Chena Hot Springs Road. Round-Trip: 8 miles. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Ascending the rocky (or snowy) slopes, the trail is mostly defined but does occasionally split as the ever-changing terrain has forced people to forge new routes around eroding surfaces You’re not likely to get lost on a clear day but paying attention to the terrain ahead will help you avoid sketchier sections and minimize impact by sticking to the developed paths (always stay off vegetation and avoid short-cutting switchbacks which damages the trail and environment.). As you make your way there, you won’t need to look at your map or anything else to know that you have arrived at the end of the line as you find yourself staring out at a landscape of ice. The trail starts at the boardwalk at the rear of the Nature Center--turn to the left and you can view the glacier up close and personal on the Edge of the Glacier trail. Though the trail is mostly dirt, rock, or potentially snow, you’ll start out on the paved Exit Glacier path just beyond the Nature Center. Be sure you know what you are doing if venturing out on steep snow! These guides will remain free for reading. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. Trails for all walkers and hikers. NPS Photo / F. North. The rest of us can only begin to appreciate the magnitude of this immense geographic feature by air. Following the Glacier Overlook Trail for 0.4 miles (0.64 km), the Harding Icefield Trail branches off to the right (well-marked). The Harding Icefield is over 700 square miles (1813 km 2) in its entirety (although, if one were to count its glaciers which descend from the icefield in all directions, the icefield measures in at over 1,100 square miles (2,849 km 2) The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. There are plenty of paths around to different viewpoints in the rocky hills above the Harding Icefield as well as a few trails down to its edge. The approximately 5-mile hike gains over 1300 ft. in elevation. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. Green meadows give way to rocky alpine terrain. The Harding Icefield Trailhead is located on the right about 1/3 of mile along the Exit Glacier Paved Path. When you’ve had your fill of photos (and lunch), head back down the way you came and enjoy a couple more hours of amazing views as you do so! As you climb the hill to reach it, your feet will be happy to know that the best icefield views are just a few minutes above. Fireweed and lupins blooming along the trail. Tutorials on general and auorora photography. OVERVIEW: The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2-mile, 5-hour hike round trip with a 3,150-foot elevation gain.Hiking conditions are best from June to September. Answer 1 of 12: Would anyone know if the rangers will be doing a guided hike up the Harding Icefield on Saturday, September 1? By Robert Earle Howells. You’ll cross muddy fields, traverse some narrow and exposed hillsides, and near the end pass over a few washed out points. 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. However, the walk down to get a closer look at the ice is worth it. Lucky you! Make sure to keep an eye on the time! Hiking to the Exit Glacier View at the Bottom of the Cliffs. Hike the 7.4 mile Harding Icefield Trail, up along side Exit Glacier to the place that glaciers are born in 700 square mile of ice called Harding Ice Field. If you’re visiting Kenai Fjords National park, you get to hang out in the great port town of Seward. It looks so gentle and lightly sloping with a … Map of Harding Icefield Trail (red) and Exit Glacier trails (blue) – map disclaimer and information. You'll feel like you're on the top of the world! That may not mean much if this is your first time visiting my blog but after climbing glacier filled slopes on Mount Rainier, exploring the floor of the Grand Canyon, and ascending the cables to the top of Yosemite’s Half Dome, I may not have been everywhere, but I’ve seen enough to know an amazing hike when I’m on one. After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. Be sure to check other restrictions with the National Park Service before your trip! You can check out my other photos and galleries here! The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. Look back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Harding Icefield. There are unlimited ways of why hiking here is worth your time, but here are our 5 favorite reasons to hike the Harding Icefield Trail. Hiking and travel guide to Alaska. Looking back, you can see the enormous glacial outflow plain where this past piedmont glacier once sprawled across 200 years ago. 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 as … I do not recommend it as one of your first hikes without someone experienced. Here you’ll find a ranger station with updated trail and area conditions, restrooms, potable water, and a few basic supplies in the bookstore. 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. Geography. 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. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of Exit Glacier to your left. You can go inside, but it is not permitted to camp here as it is an emergency-only shelter. However, it’s not the best maintained trail, so going with a guide could save you from getting lost (bonus: they’ll have all the tools you’ll need to hike safely on the glacier and know where the best ice caves are). The Harding Icefield trail can really be broken up into two sections: hiking out of the forest to the cliffs for an amazing view of Exit Glacier and then climbing on up to the Harding Icefield above it. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder … Best Hikes in the Parks: Trail Maps. Hike to hidden backcountry lakes and high ridgelines where, on clear days, Denali can be seen in all its majestic grandeur. All-Day Run: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail you’ll be transported to another time. Words cannot describe it. 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. Though the elevation profile is not always even, each of these sections is right around 2 miles so it breaks the day up nicely for objectives. For my hike, which started out on a nice day with just light rain, that meant snow by the top as you can see in the photos! Tempting as it is to stop here, it’s well worth moving on just a little further (though also all up hill) to the start of the cliff switchbacks and an incredible view down on Exit Glacier just below you. All Rights Reserved - Copyright Lee Petersen 2020, Intro To Darktable 1 – My Lightable Workflow, Arctic sweet coltsfoot – Petasites frigidus, Review: Gregory Alpinisto Pack (35 and 50). This is a Harding Icefield Trail map, showing the route up to the Harding Icefield from the Exit Glacier area and visitor center. Early in the season, there may be avalanche risk. The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. Hiking beyond the shelter, the trail (if it’s not all snow) splits in a variety of paths though most lead up to the hill ahead. Read More. The trail affords several excellent views of the glacier itself. This strenuous trail leaves from the same trailhead as the Exit Glacier Trail. Eventually, you come to the end of the maintained trail. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. Description for a few backcountry hikes possible near the Worthington Glacier starting at 2-miles and up. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. Your American dream starts here. My focus in photography is mainly landscape and wildlife. Lucky you! We saw a Grizzly down by the glacier – thankfully well out of range of the trail and several other creatures over the course of the day. There are numerous hiking trails in the area. Expect a vast, glittering snowfield, and an epic view of the mountains and glaciers that surround the Harding Icefield. Exit Glacier from just outside the park. If you are particularly adventurous (and well-experienced), you can access the icefield from here. Snow persists into mid-summer at the higher elevations. 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. Harding Icefield Trail Map PDF Access to the Harding Icefield is exceptional in comparison to other large icefields. Alpine flora takes a very long time to grow, so please stick to the trails. This is remote terrain with regular wildlife encounters (bears most certainly included) across a steep trail possibly with ice, snow, or water crossings. It may not be a technical climb (in summer season that is) but getting to the ice field is a serious undertaking just the same and the almost 4,000’ effective climb is rated as strenuous. The 8.2 mile out-and-back route carries visitors through the upper alpine areas of the park to viewpoints of the vast Harding Icefield. 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. The 8.2-mile roundtrip hike to the Harding Icefield overlook is strenuous—you’ll gain about 1,000 feet of elevation with each of the four miles to the top. Tempting as it is, I strongly suggest staying off the ice unless you are experienced in (and ready for) glacial travel – and again, respect the fragile environment you are in! I may earn commissions if you shop through the affiliate links on this page. The National Park Service’s Official Trail Page, Facilities: Restrooms, water, ranger station at the TH, Cost: $20 to enter the park or an NPS annual pass. Push yourself to do it. The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. 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. Even though the stats of the trail are not impressive, the scenery cannnot be beat, don't miss this one, but like all places in Alaska this is bear country. As in all National Parks, and as we should everywhere, follow Leave No Trace principles. The trail gains about 1000' of elevation, so it is not a hard hike. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. My foot punched through into water a few times. The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. The Harding Icefield trail can really be broken up into two sections: hiking out of the forest to the cliffs for an amazing view of Exit Glacier and then climbing on up to the Harding Icefield above it. In any event, reaching the trailhead is simple enough not exactly in the middle of town. Twin Bears Trails . If you are coming up here in season and you could only do one hike, this is the one I'd pick. 1 Minute Read. People do hike up to the icefield, and a few adventures ones even continue across. Hiking to the Exit Glacier View at the Bottom of the Cliffs. Soon you step out of the alder, willow, and cottonwood and find yourself surrounded by flowers and other tall plants. I spend quite a bit of time hiking in the backcountry of Alaska to find gorgeous sights that few people ever see. You can’t camp there. Feel free to edit / quote / embed with credit and for editorial or commercial use, contact me. As you top out from the cliff overlook (another main great break point if you want to push a little further), the trail cuts further into the hill and away from the glacier. When to Go: July to September. Harding Icefield lies near the top of this shot! Mostly in the Fairbanks and interior region of Alaska, but always expanding to new areas! Expect to cross over plenty of water along the last mile of the trail as you get closer to the melting snowpack above (waterproof boots or shoes are a serious help on this trail.). Harding Ice Field Trail: Harding Icefield Hike - See 190 traveler reviews, 281 candid photos, and great deals for Kenai Fjords National Park, AK, at Tripadvisor. Eielson Alpine Trail – Denali National Park Hiking. Be prepared and know your skill level, the glacier is heavily crevassed and dangerous! Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. At 1.4 miles, the trail really begins to break free of the treeline and opens up into a stunning meadow area with rolling hills ahead and towering cliffs further above. My income comes partly from affiliate links on these pages and from photographic print sales. This is one of the most stunning sections of trail I’ve ever seen. 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 Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. 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. 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 as … While there is plenty more to see going on ahead, this is not a trail where you must top out to get a view. Alaska wildflower guide with many photos and galleries of photos with identifying information, nomenclature and taxonomy, uses, and links to more references. We started at the highway junction where the highway to Seward branches off from the one to Homer. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. Trail length: From 1 – 4.2 miles round trip, out and back. Description. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. The best map of the trail route that I’ve seen can be found @ NPMaps.com. People do hike up to the icefield, and a few adventures ones even continue across. Thankfully, the views continue all around you so it’s easy to find a consistent excuse to take breathers as you pause to snap photos of it all. You may also find yourself crossing snow & ice for much of the upper trail so be sure to check with the rangers about the need for microspikes and / or crampons before heading out! The best map of the trail route that I’ve seen can be found @ NPMaps.com. Skiing down the Grewingk was Sarah’s favorite part of the trip. Today the 700 square feet of ice and snow is dotted with glacial islands of exposed parts of mountains known as “nunataks”. Long before I reached the last marker post, the Harding Icefield Trail at Exit Glacier had earned a place as one of my top 5-day hikes ever. And then you get to the top where you will see the incredible Harding Icefield… The Harding Icefield has been melting since the Wisconsin Ice Age, known locally as the Naptowne Glaciation. Harding Icefield Hike: One of the best challenging hikes in Anchorage, and indeed, the whole of Alaska, the Harding Icefield trail takes you up past Exit Glacier to the permanent snowfield. If you have recently hiked the Harding Icefield Trail, please feel free to leave info about the conditions in the comments below. After a few hundred more vertical feet, you’ll finally spot the Emergency Shelter standing out on a hillside above. Additionally, bears frequent this area, so you must know how to stay safe in bear country! This hike left me amazed and full of gratitude. Read More. Near Seward on the Kenai Peninsula, this park protects the Harding Icefield and at least 38 glaciers and fjords stemming from it. Kenai Fjords National Park was established as a national monument in 1978. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of … Late July, I had to cross some snowfields, but the path was obvious and flagged with orange markers through the snow. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Often these crevasses are snowcovered, so there’s no indication of what you are walking over. 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. (If you’re looking for something a little tamer, these are some great walks and may only take a few hours to explore). This is the log of a ten day trip down the Kenai Peninsula. For those up for the challenge, the reward is well worth it. Harding Icefield Trail Map PDF: Access to the Harding Icefield is exceptional in comparison to other large icefields. Alaska Guided Walking Holiday . As you climb the switchbacks, you’ll be just a short ways from the lower portion of Exit Glacier and a few partial clearings provide great encouragement to endure the constant uphill push along this section – rest assured that those views will only get better too! This is a Harding Icefield Trail map, showing the route up to the Harding Icefield from the Exit Glacier area and visitor center. Be sure to include the dates of your hike! For additional trail information including safety, maps and open seasons, learn more HERE. With such incredible views, the trail can get moderately busy and as I took my break / photo stop along the cliffs, I ran into several groups who had decided to make that point their stopping spot. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Full FTC Disclosure. Yet the trail is very well-traveled and flagged. How to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail. Kenai Fjords National Park is an American national park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.The park covers an area of 669,984 acres (1,046.9 sq mi; 2,711.3 km 2) on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, near the town of Seward.The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Map and descriptions for numerous trails near the entrance and Visitor Center to Denali National Park. One of the most popular glaciers in Alaska, Mendenhall sits just 12 miles outside of Juneau.The West Glacier Trail, a roughly four-mile jaunt, is the easiest way to get there. 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. Parking is limited so consider carpooling in and be sure to stock up on snacks and hiking essentials before you head to the park (likely in Anchorage.). Maps, photos, and information. National Park Service Ranger-led walks are available as well as a guiding service through Exit Glacier Guides. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. Starting on the Glacier Overlook Trail. Harding Icefield Trail . Copyright 2020 Traveler Ted. It’s an intense and strenuous trip but those who have enough stamina and don’t mind being sweaty for a while, will really enjoy this a lot. The vista is difficult to soak in. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail. Continuing from the lower cliffs, it’s easy to understand why many stop their day here as you look on ahead at the switchbacks that lead up the cliffs above. Looking towards the Harding Icefield from the Exit Glacier Harding Icefield hiking trail. Adding the Harding Icefield Trail. Go to the right to start the Harding Icefield trail. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. The Harding Icefield trail can really be broken up into two sections: hiking out of the forest to the cliffs for an amazing view of Exit Glacier and then climbing on up to the Harding Icefield above it. 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