2 Best Hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park Overview

Kenai Fjords National Park is located in south-central Alaska, near the town of Seaward, about 130 miles south of Anchorage. The beautiful park contains the largest icefield in the United States, Harding Icefield. Nearly 40 glaciers flowing from Harding Icefield have carved the numerous fjords for which the park is named. Most of the park is only accessible by water so boat tours are the best way to see the immense power of the tidewater glaciers up close. These tours also offer the best chance of seeing the park’s marine wildlife including seals, otters, orcas, humpback whales, and many more. The only maintained trails are found in the Exit Glacier area and the 2 best hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park are listed below.

Nearest Metro AreaAnchorage, AK
Area Size669,984 acres
EstablishedDecember 2, 1980
Hiking Trails5 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park

Harding Icefield Trail
Harding Icefields
Harding Icefields, Photo by Jenny Salita

Harding Icefields tops the list of best hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park. This trail rises through a forest to end up above the tree-line with awe-inspiring views of the Harding Icefield. Snow and ice stretch as far as you can see, broken up only by the occasional peak. You will want to check the trail conditions before starting out as it remains snow-covered well into July. Come prepared! The trailhead is found near the Exit Glacier Nature Center.

  • 8.2 miles out and back
  • 3100′ elevation gain
  • Strenuous
Exit Glacier Loop
Retreating Exit Glacier Terminus
Retreating Exit Glacier Terminus, Photo by Steve Fung

System of short trails with excellent viewpoints of Exit Glacier along the way. The trail is paved most of the way to the Toe of the Glacier but becomes rocky as it meets the glacier. At its end you can get close enough to touch the glacier. This loop is a great chance to see the impact the glaciers have made on the surrounding landscape. The trailhead is also located next to the Exit Glacier Nature Center.

  • 1.8 mile loop
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Easy

Featured Image: Humpback Whale, Photo by Kenai Fjords National Park

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