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how long is the harding icefield trail

We were excited about what our day would bring. I’d do one day for the Harding Icefield hike, and one day for a boat tour and to explore Seward a bit. Just a few hours away from Anchorage on one of the most scenic drives in Alaska, it deserves your visit! 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. You get to see the glaciers and the snow-capped peaks from a birds-eye view with no obstructions! 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! My legs already felt like jelly by the time I got to the Top of the Cliff viewpoint! You’ll get way more views there, and the hike becomes more scenic than the first stretch you’ve already done. Seward is packed with all types of accommodations- we stayed at Resurrection Lodge on the Bay and loved it! Harding Ice Field Trail: Tickets & Tours‎ ... visitor center short hike global warming easy access viewing area ranger station the past years longer hike walk up national park harding ice field markers showing moderate hike marked trail viewing point seward highway parking lot harding icefield … The Harding Icefield trailhead is approximately a 20-minute drive (about 3.7 miles) north of Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park. Sometimes, even in early July, the areas close to the top of the trail are snow-capped. HGL006. If you want to stay here overnight camping is allowed as long as you set up camp at least 1/8 mile from the trail on bare rock or snow. This doesn’t raise prices- it sometimes may actually lower them! And trust me, your legs will feel it (unless you’re some sort of Olympic athlete, which I most definitely am not!). I highly recommend a helicopter tour like this one while you’re in Alaska. Although the distance from the parking lot to the top of the trail is roughly 10 miles round trip, the trail itself is 8.2 miles round trip. Covering approximately 700 square miles, and at a maximum depth of roughly 4000ft, the Harding Icefield is the largest ice field entirely within the United States. The other big thing we wanted to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, besides glacier kayaking, was hiking the famous Harding Icefield Trail.. Endless ice stretched to the horizon in front of us, vast and wonderful: 700 square miles of blue white punctuated with lonely rock peaks. Does the "upper trail" offer view nearly as good as the Harding Icefield Trail? 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. We started at the highway junction where the highway to Seward branches off from the one to Homer. There’s a reason why it’s considered the best hike in the Kenai Peninsula! How to hike harding icefield exit glacier trail. 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 alpine flora can take a while to grow, especially because this trail is highly trafficked. Also it was my first time seeing a bear in the wild!). Dense clouds hung low and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. Trail Guide: Hiking to Alaska’s Exit Glacier & Harding Icefield (8.2 miles / 3500′ / 6+ hours) Trail Guides October 19, 2017 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. We actually didn’t get to go all the way to the icefield due to a storm that rolled in. They give you amazing views of Exit Glacier and partial views of the icefield. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. A shorter hike up the trail commands impressive panoramas of the valley floor, Exit Glacier, and the Harding Icefield. Copyright 2020 Traveler Ted. Following the Glacier Overlook Trail for 0.4 miles (0.64 km), the Harding Icefield Trail branches off to the right (well-marked). How to hike harding icefield exit glacier trail. ), What to Wear in Alaska: An All-Season Packing Guide. It is considered a challenging day hike and mainly suitable for the physically well-prepared. (Check out this post on the 36 best things to do on the Kenai Peninsula!). So here’s everything you need to know before embarking on the Harding Icefield Hike. The first quarter-mile (0.4 km) is through dense cottonwood and alder passing a few small cascades. The information tells you this is out and back for 8.2 miles. 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. Here you’ll find a ranger station with updated trail and area conditions, restrooms, potable water, and a few basic supplies in the bookstore. I’ve quit my 9-5 to become a travel blogger, and my goal is to show others how they can too! FYI, most product links on my site are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission from advertising or affiliate programs. 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. The trail extends upward through different ecosystems. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. It’s one of about 40 glaciers that descend out of the massive Harding Icefield. 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. This is remote terrain with regular wildlife encounters (bears most certainly included) across a steep trail possibly with ice, snow, or water crossings. In fact, it’s the only land entrance into Kenai Fjords National Park. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. This will minimize the impact of the campfires and preserve the pristine environment for future generations. The strenuous 4-mile Harding Icefield Trail has stunning views of Exit Glacier and the mile Harding Icefield. And trust me, once you’re done with this hike, your legs will feel too much like jelly to do anything else the rest of the day! Barring bad weather, it’s worth it to keep going to the Top of the Cliff at the very least! But honestly, I don’t think I would’ve had the strength to go all the way to the top! HGL008 Learn how your comment data is processed. The Trail. 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! Helicopter rides, on the other hand, offer a unique vantage point and are an awesome choice if you have limited time. Covering approximately 700 square miles, and at a maximum depth of roughly 4000ft, the Harding Icefield is the largest ice field entirely within the United States. Kenai Fjords National Park is technically open throughout the year. 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. After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Otherwise, four days would be perfect. Check out this post on 33 crucial things to know before visiting Alaska for some more useful information! I had heard of the Harding Icefield and even drove by the trailhead on previous trips to the Kenai Peninsula and always wondered what an icefield is like. The Harding Icefield trailhead is on the right side of the path. That means there’s something for everyone, especially the Exit Glacier trail, which is also handicap accessible! If you choose to explore on foot, there are a few different trails with different levels of difficulty. The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. This strenuous trail leaves from the same trailhead as the Exit Glacier Trail. The hole should also be 100 feet from the trail. Although the distance from the parking lot to the top of the trail is roughly 10 miles round trip, the trail itself is 8.2 miles round trip. 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. 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. Yup, it’s literally a field of ice, hence the name. 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. 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! Between the mid-1920s and the early 1930s, the increasing popularity of aviation had given a lucky few the opportunity to soar over the icefield. We could have stayed much longer admiring the icefield, but the day was getting towards the end of the day and we had to start on the return. Sewardresidents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. Another benefit of visiting in summer is the mild, temperate weather. 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. Location: 60.181412, -149.663361. The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly a wonder to behold! 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 are unlimited ways of why hiking here is worth your time, but here are our 5 favorite reasons to hike the Harding Icefield Trail. Located in the Kenai Fjords National Park, the Harding Icefield Trail is 8.8 miles long and is quite strenuous, with an elevation gain of 3,953 feet. United States - Hike to Harding Icefield - My husband and I are travelling to Alaska during the last 2 weeks of July. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. If time is a factor, set aside at least two days to explore the massive Kenai Fjords National Park, Resurrection Bay (pictured above), and Seward. 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! If you’re looking for more weekend getaways from Anchorage, check out this post!). Exit glacier is one of the most visited places in Kenai Fjords National Park thanks to its accessibility. Le sentier longe une cascade et sa difficulté est évaluée comme difficile. From the valley floor, the trail weaves through bushy terrain, gaining elevation steadily while breath-taking views open up periodically. The views along this stretch of the hike are way better since trees are no longer in your way. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for all of my travel updates and blogging/influencer tips! Check out the best things to do in Seward here! You also get a glimpse of the Icefield along with the majestic mountains surrounding the area. This includes packing all litter! The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Answer 1 of 11: Hi all, I'll be in Seward at the end of June, and I'm interested in hiking the Harding Icefield Trail. Ho, Here’s a postcard from Oahu for anyone who needs, Turns out Dallas is pretty in the fall too! The Harding Icefield is the main reason Kenai Fjords National Park exists. I'm in moderately good shape so I think I should be able to handle the hike. , What’s one thing you’re grateful for? To squeeze the most out of the Harding Icefield you can enjoy the hike by the day then camp overnight. This is the log of a ten day trip down the Kenai Peninsula. Today wa, Tis the season for love and giving! You’ll see a path split off from the main path on your left. This 8.2-mile roundtrip hike is sure to not disappoint if you are ready mentally and physically. 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. First, you’ll wind through the forest, then, through a beautiful tundra meadow, and lastly, rocky terrain. No wonder boat tours are a common way to explore the Park- especially with visitors who are eager to come up close with glaciers. 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.

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