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how long is the harding icefield trail

My recommendation: opt to push through to the Top of the Cliff (2.4 miles). How to hike harding icefield exit glacier trail. However, the challenging, strenuous climb makes the hike seem longer. I have spent some wonderful nights on the edge of Harding Icefield with my tent watching some beautiful sunsets and sunrises. The views along this stretch of the hike are way better since trees are no longer in your way. There is plenty of wildlife to be found around the Harding Icefield! From the valley floor, the trail weaves through bushy terrain, gaining elevation steadily while breath-taking views open up periodically. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for all of my travel updates and blogging/influencer tips! It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. (On a larger scale, it lies in the Kenai Peninsula about 125 miles south of Anchorage. 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. Turn L onto side trail for Exit Glacier overlook . 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. 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. Very excited! The temperatures are mostly in the 70s during the daytime and 40s at night. The Harding Icefield Trail should definitely be on your Alaska Itinerary! COPYRIGHT © 2020 | PRIVACY POLICY | Website designed by Alley Digital | Exclusive Member of Mediavine Travel. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. There is a trail shelter at the top, but it’s used for emergencies only. 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. 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. The Cliff is halfway through the entire trail. However, the best time to hike the Harding Icefield Trail is during the summer months, primarily between June and October. 3. There are no toilets on the trail. We were excited about what our day would bring. This will minimize the impact of the campfires and preserve the pristine environment for future generations. I’d do one day for the Harding Icefield hike, and one day for a boat tour and to explore Seward a bit. The network of both walking and hiking trails leads to different viewpoints of Exit Glacier. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb. The strenuous 4-mile Harding Icefield Trail has stunning views of Exit Glacier and the mile Harding Icefield. 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 eight mile (round-trip) trail begins by following Exit Glacier, but then climbs steeply and eventually ends overlooking the massive Harding Icefield, the largest icefield entirely within the US, which feeds Exit Glacier and about 40 other glaciers. Check out this post on 33 crucial things to know before visiting Alaska for some more useful information!). For this reason, it’s best to treat the hike as a full-day excursion and set out in the early morning! 9) The Harding Icefield Trail Is A More Strenuous Hike Nine miles round trip from the Exit Glacier Nature Center, this strenuous hike is not for the faint of heart. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. Here are a few: Now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s talk about the national park that houses the Harding Icefield! After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. 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. To squeeze the most out of the Harding Icefield you can enjoy the hike by the day then camp overnight. These mild temperatures are perfect for hiking. The still air was heavy with moisture as I hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside Seward, Alaska. And trust me, your legs will feel it (unless you’re some sort of Olympic athlete, which I most definitely am not!). 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. And make sure the hole is at least 100 feet from any water sources or streams. I highly recommend a helicopter tour like this one while you’re in Alaska. 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. Harding Icefield lies near the top of this shot! Dense clouds hung low, and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. United States - Hike to Harding Icefield - My husband and I are travelling to Alaska during the last 2 weeks of July. It seemed like we hiked for hours (although only a couple) trying to make our way to the lookout over the Harding Icefield. 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. What you see in the photo is Exit Glacier as it stretches down from the Harding Icefield. Necessary warning: While Exit Glacier & the Harding Icefield Trail may just be a “day hike,” it’s nothing to take lightly. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The roads leading to the trail can be impassable by car, so they’re closed once heavy snows come in. You experience roughly 1000 feet of elevation gain per mile! When we went, a storm was rolling in, which meant we had to keep an eye out for impending rain and pack plenty of waterproof gear. The trail comes to an end at a rugged rocky overlook with a sweeping view of the stunning icefield. Thanks for following along on my adventures! Hello friends! 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! The first you’ll reach is Marmot Meadows. After a few hundred more vertical feet, you’ll finally spot the Emergency Shelter standing out on a hillside above. On the water, you can see the glaciers calving (when chunks of ice break off), which is a crazy expereince! They give you amazing views of Exit Glacier and partial views of the icefield. Alternatively, you can opt for an Airbnb as well! IF YOU GO Length: 1.4 miles to Marmot Meadows, another 2.7 miles to the Harding Icefield; 8.2 miles total round trip Once you’re in the parking lot your hiking adventure will begin right by the Exit Glacier Nature Center. Follow trail along Exit Glacier ridge; best photos in summer twilight . This 8.2-mile roundtrip hike is sure to not disappoint if you are ready mentally and physically. 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 … 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. So what is this icefield you’ll be hiking to, anyway? With a boat ride, you also enjoy wildlife and marine life spotting opportunities! There is a free ‘tent only’ campground close to the Exit Glacier Nature Center. And if you’re heading to Alaska, here are a few posts you might find helpful: Your email address will not be published. The tent should either be on the snow or bare ground (to preserve the area’s fragile vegetation). The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Review trail conditions and the weather before starting your hike. What's yo, Weekend vibes ✌️ Anyone else wish they were in. 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. So here’s everything you need to know before embarking on the Harding Icefield Hike. 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. There is no parking fee and camping is also free. It’s one of about 40 glaciers that descend out of the massive Harding Icefield. Click on the picture for a map of our route. 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. Camping on vegetation is destructive which can be pretty devastating. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. Skiing down the Grewingk was Sarah’s favorite part of the trip. And you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes open the whole time for wildlife! Exit glacier is one of the most visited places in Kenai Fjords National Park thanks to its accessibility. There are a few trails that lead from the parking lot to various parts of the lower section of Exit Glacier. It doesn’t even encompass how giant the ice field is! ), What to Wear in Alaska: An All-Season Packing Guide. Check out the best things to do in Seward here! Harding Icefield Trail Map PDF Access to the Harding Icefield is exceptional in comparison to other large icefields. Glaciers And Glory: The Harding Icefield 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! Le sentier longe une cascade et sa difficulté est évaluée comme difficile. The Harding Icefield is the main reason Kenai Fjords National Park exists. 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 round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Feel free to edit / quote / embed with credit and for editorial or commercial use, contact me. If you choose to explore on foot, there are a few different trails with different levels of difficulty. An icefield is actually a large area of interconnected glaciers. 4. Comment below! How to hike harding icefield exit glacier trail. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. 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. Check out this post on 33 crucial things to know before visiting Alaska for some more useful information! Hi, I’m Jasmine! 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! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. The weather can be unpredictable and the winds traveling down the mountain can be pretty chilly. The Harding Icefield Trail starts at the base of Exit Glacier. This is the log of a ten day trip down the Kenai Peninsula. 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.). The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. Hiking from Marmot Meadows to Top of the Cliff is a lot more fun, to me at least. But honestly, I don’t think I would’ve had the strength to go all the way to the top! Bring lots of snacks such as energy bars, or a picnic if you’re going all the way to the top. 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 still air was heavy with moisture as I hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside Seward, Alaska. We did the Harding Icefield Hike at the end of August and were constantly wowed by the beauty and stunning views. 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. 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. Your email address will not be published. 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. It is considered a challenging day hike and mainly suitable for the physically well-prepared. The trail is about 8 miles round trip – that isn’t too bad, but like most trails in the Seward area, you do a lot of climbing – it has a 3,000 vertical foot rise in total. The Trail. Copyright 2020 Traveler Ted. HGL007. I'm in moderately good shape so I think I should be able to handle the hike. 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. The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. If possible, you should plan to stay in or around Seward. View over Harding Icefield from end of trail. But this may not be the best option if you want to enjoy the views without feeling rushed. The town is right outside the park, so it’s a short drive away. We arrived at the Harding Icefield Trail just north of Seward, Alaska mid-morning on the 4th of July. The Harding Icefield trailhead is on the right side of the path. Learn how your comment data is processed. This enormous wall of ice descends the mountain from the Harding Icefield and goes down all the way to Resurrection River. First, you’ll wind through the forest, then, through a beautiful tundra meadow, and lastly, rocky terrain. Holgate Glacier and Aialik Glacier are the most popular ones to see by boat. You’ll see a path split off from the main path on your left. This is remote terrain with regular wildlife encounters (bears most certainly included) across a steep trail possibly with ice, snow, or water crossings. Harding Icefield Trail – The Arrival. Your days will be packed to the brim with mesmerizing mountain views, incredible glaciers, varied trails, and lots of wildlife. The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. Thanks for supporting my blog by purchasing through these links! Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back 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 … chachaSH/Tripadvisor The trailhead is located near the nature center. Ho, Here’s a postcard from Oahu for anyone who needs, Turns out Dallas is pretty in the fall too! chachaSH/Tripadvisor The trailhead is located near the nature center. Unfortunately you’ll also have to hike on the road to the trail head, which is closed to traffic in the winter. Even without socks, the hike up the Harding Icefield Trail is incredible. Barring bad weather, it’s worth it to keep going to the Top of the Cliff at the very least! 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.). Yes please! The whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to descend. And if you love your full time job, stick around for travel tips and inspiration! We actually didn’t get to go all the way to the icefield due to a storm that rolled in. Otherwise, four days would be perfect. You can also charter a boat and take in the views at a leisurely pace. A hike with glaciers at the end? 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. Kenai Fjords National Park is technically open throughout the year. You’ll cross muddy fields, traverse some narrow and exposed hillsides, and near the end pass over a few washed out points. One of the best ways to quickly experience the Harding Icefield is by hiking the Harding Icefield Trail. My legs already felt like jelly by the time I got to the Top of the Cliff viewpoint! The hikes are also way easier compared to the Harding Icefield Trail. Another benefit of visiting in summer is the mild, temperate weather. From there, the icefield at the top stretches as far as your eyes can see. 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! If you’re interested in a longer day hike to add to the Exit Glacier Trail, consider the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. 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. The End of the Trail. Just as the view changes, so does the trail, moving from lush hills into a rockier terrain. You can also camp along the trail under some conditions. Required fields are marked *. It’s also the perfect place to pull out that sandwich that you’ve been thinking about the entire hike The trail extends upward through different ecosystems. FYI, most product links on my site are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission from advertising or affiliate programs. 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. The picnic area is also a great resting place after a long day on the trails. Just a few hours away from Anchorage on one of the most scenic drives in Alaska, it deserves your visit! You also get a glimpse of the Icefield along with the majestic mountains surrounding the area. The hole should also be 100 feet from the trail. You experience roughly 1000 feet of elevation gain per mile! You get to see the glaciers and the snow-capped peaks from a birds-eye view with no obstructions! Kenai Fjords National Park hosts some of the best of Alaska’s beauty within its massive rugged and dramatic landscape. 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. Endless ice stretched to the horizon in front of us, vast and wonderful: 700 square miles of blue white punctuated with lonely rock peaks. Well, it’s a ginormous stretch of land atop the mountains in Kenai Fjords National Park that is covered in… you guessed it… ice! When driving, you’ll see a clear sign signaling the turnoff point from the Seward Highway: mile 3 to Exit Glacier Road. 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. The shuttle drops you at the parking lot then picks you up later in the afternoon. 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. 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! You’ll get to see Bear Glacier and so much more! 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. We started at the highway junction where the highway to Seward branches off from the one to Homer. What is the best hike in alaska. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. It is about 1.4 miles above the treeline, where the lush green forest falls away and you approach an open meadow. , What’s one thing you’re grateful for? Where is the trail head for harding icefield exit glacier hiking trail in alaska. While it’s not a large structure, it does offer an interesting perspective in the otherwise in-human environment around. The alpine flora can take a while to grow, especially because this trail is highly trafficked. Up to this point, however, people had walked only on the icefiel… Location: 60.181412, -149.663361. While there is plenty more to see going on ahead, this is not a trail where you must top out to get a view. This is a very different photo than what I usually, Moana vibes What’s your favorite Disney mov, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! (More on that later.). You can also sign up for hikes out on the glacier with guides providing technical gear and support of course. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Exit Glacier from just outside the park. A marmot made its way across a hill near us (it was my first time seeing a marmot!). 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. 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’ll find intertwined trails which means you can do multiple routes without starting over. 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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