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harding icefield guided hike

The trail is well established and maintained. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace – limit group size, find a camp spot that is out of sight from the trail, and avoid crushing fragile vegetation. Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back 5. Harding Icefield Trail Details: We started out with the kids and hiked the short trail up to the Glacier lookout. 8.4 Miles. They lie. As the only road-accessible glacier pouring forth from the icefield, Exit Glacier is a popular destination for … Hike the Harding Icefield Trail. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. 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. 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. Be prepared for storms, high winds, intense sunlight, and sudden temperature changes. The trail is strenuous! 1. Even a short hike up the trail affords impressive views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier's terminus. 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 Harding Icefield. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Take in the area's stunning and scenic beauty along the Harding Icefield trail as you approach the trail's namesake vista. Distance: 8.2 miles out and back, plus a short approach trail. The whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to descend. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Hike with a ranger. I suggest reading through all of the previous reviews from other hikers on here before going. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. Seward Windsong Lodge offers two daily guided tours of Exit Glacier. 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. Dress in layers that you can easily add or remove. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. Harding Icefield Trail at about 1 mile of the hike and 1000 ft elevation gain Above the treeline, thick wildflowers start to appear, and the combination of alpine glaciated peaks, the forest below, glaciers, river flowing across the valley floor and wildlflowers made it feel like almost hiking in heaven. Hike to hidden backcountry lakes and high ridgelines where, on clear days, Denali can be seen in all its majestic grandeur. Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the trailhead. Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield, Seward - Good to Know. Distance: 8.2 miles out and back, plus a short approach trail. NPS Photo / F. North. After passing the emergency shelter, you can climb up a little more, and then after that, it just goes down and down toward the ice. United States - Hike to Harding Icefield - My husband and I are travelling to Alaska during the last 2 weeks of July. If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to Harding Icefield. Push yourself to do it. 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. Is this a must-do if you are travelling with a, Are the prices for this place or activity, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Would you recommend this place or activity to a friend looking for an. Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Beautiful walking trails wind through the … Check on trail conditions before starting out - the upper portion of the trail is often covered with snow through early July and there may be avalanche danger. Our group size will be limited to 6 clients for each trip and will spend our time exploring the vast main body of the Harding. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Just know that if you go down, you're going to have a steep 10-15 minute hike back up to the shelter. Bring warm clothes, rain gear, sturdy footwear, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. make it to the top - take your time and enjoy the views. Route: From the Nature Center, follow the paved approach trail to the Harding Icefield Trailhead. A pair of hikers stand near the end of the trail overlooking a sea of ice and snow. This is a challenging hike! Harding Ice Field Trail is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Still, I did not play enough to accumulate 5 miles. It is not an easy walk in terms of elevation gain but anyone with moderate level of fitness can do it. You are climbing over 3000 feet. Pass through forested pathways and lush meadows as you ascend to a breathtaking view of the Harding Icefield. Amazing views all along the way. Hiking on glaciers can be intimidating, but by booking a guided tour you can explore the Exit Glacier with the security of a guide to lead the way. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. 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. https://stonyhill.com/harding-icefield-hike/ This travelogue describes the hike to the Harding Icefield...from rainforest to alpine meadow to icefield. 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. Volunteers help restore and maintain this trail every year. Take in the area's stunning and scenic beauty along the Harding Icefield trail as you approach the trail's namesake vista. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Strenuous hike if you want to get to the very top - can be made less strenuous with kids, Self guided hike - easy to follow, no fear of getting lost. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. It's hard to go all the way to the end, and easy to turn around at Marmot Meadows or the Top of the Cliffs, but oh my goodness, what you see after passing the Top of the Cliffs can't be captured in photos or words. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Harding Icefield hike Map Without a doubt, if you can only do one thing while visiting Seward, you really really should go on this hike. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in United Kingdom. Harding Icefield Trail Hike This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. United States - Hike to Harding Icefield - My husband and I are travelling to Alaska during the last 2 weeks of July. Explore the trails with Seward Wilderness Collective or Exit Glacier Guides. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Walks depart from the Exit Glacier Nature Center. Midway through the journey, transition from vast ocean coastline to otherworldly alpine scenery in Denali National Park. Be sure to backfill your cat hole when you are done. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Harding Icefield hike Map Pack it out. 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. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. I brought two 32oz nalgenes of water and drank it all happily. Necessary skills include route-finding, steep snow climbing and descending, self-arrest, and avalanche terrain recognition and rescue. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous, with around 3000 feet of elevation gain. A trip for fit and adventurous hikers, this tour begins with a steep hike that gets you off-the-beaten-path and away from the hoards of … I went on October 4, the off-season. The Harding Icefield is on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. Rangers-led hikes along the Harding Icefield Trail often occur during the summer. This 500-square-mile frozen mass feeds almost three dozen glaciers, including Exit. 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. 8. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The trail is a combination of dirt switchbacks and open dirt trails leading to the ice field. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Harding Icefield Trail Hike This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. Very excited! Get yourself in shape before going so you can make it if that's what it takes. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. There is a marker if you keep going about 5 minutes past the shelter. The expansive view of endless ice floor above the clouds will take your breath away! It is not an easy hike; however, it is very doable for anyone who is in shape. Camping is permitted along the Harding Icefield Trail corridor, but you must set up camp at least 1/8 mile from the trail on bare rock or snow. Hike to the massive Harding Icefield along one of Alaska’s most spectacular trails. Highly recommend this hike! Kenai Fjords National Park Holiday Rentals, Kenai Fjords National Park Holiday Packages, Restaurants near Kenai Fjords National Park, All things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, Nature & Parks in Kenai Fjords National Park, Geologic Formations in Kenai Fjords National Park, Nature & Wildlife Areas in Kenai Fjords National Park, Hiking Trails in Kenai Fjords National Park, Bodies of Water in Kenai Fjords National Park, Outdoor Activities in Kenai Fjords National Park, Harding Ice Field Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward. hike is easy on the eyes, but very steep. Hiking on glaciers can be intimidating, but by booking a guided tour you can explore the Exit Glacier with the security of a guide to lead the way. 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. Great hike. At the end of the hike I recommend following the karins all the way down to the glacier, just be careful when you get onto the ice! Very excited! Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield Hike – Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Moderately Strenuous. I did not see any other people on the trail going up and found a dozen people on the trail on my way back. 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. 6. You do not have to make it to the very top and climbing half way to the first observation point will do as well for those who do not want to make it strenuous or if you have kids. Route: From the Nature Center, follow the paved approach trail to the Harding Icefield Trailhead. Carry plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person), or bring along a filter - untreated water from streams along the trail may contain Giardia, a parasite that can cause severe abdominal distress. Luckily the altitude is lower than some of my other trips, so breathing was easy, but there are a lot of steps. Key points are as follows. Many of these challenges exist during the shoulder seasons (Oct, Nov, May, Jun) as well, when the trail will be covered in varying amounts of snow. 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. Midway through the journey, transition from vast ocean coastline to otherworldly alpine scenery in Denali National Park. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Head to Harding Icefield for views of surrounding peaks and fjords. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Can be cold and windy at the top. The end of the trail wasn't clearly marked. You always end up with someone that doesn't want to keep going and then everyone stops and misses something amazing. … 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. That slope down is very steep, but allows you to get very close. We really want to hike to the top of the Harding Icefield. Just know that if you go down, you're going to have a steep 10-15 minute hike back up to the shelter. 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 this reason, it’s best to treat the hike as a full-day excursion and set out in the early morning! A pair of hikers stand near the end of the trail overlooking a sea of ice and snow. 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. Explore the trails with Seward Wilderness Collective or Exit Glacier Guides. more, Recommended experiences in and around Kenai Fjords National Park. Hiking to the icefield starts on the Exit Glacier paved path that begins at the nature center and goes for about a third of a mile before intersecting with the start of the Harding Icefield trail. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Please choose a different date. Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the trailhead. In the spring of 2016 Exit Glacier Guides will be offering two expeditions onto the Harding Icefield for one week each. 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. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous, with around 3000 feet of elevation gain. Just know that if you go down, you're going to have a steep 10-15 minute hike back up to the shelter. Alpine vegetation is extremely fragile. We will camp, ski tour, climb nunataks and explore the icefield over six days with full guide support. Planning to Camp? The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. My smartwatch put it at 13 miles total, but that included play time at the top. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … I did not see any little kids. Hike It. 4. Allow at least 6-8 hours for the hike. 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. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail. The Trail. Hiking to the icefield starts on the Exit Glacier paved path that begins at the nature center and goes for about a third of a mile before intersecting with the start of the Harding Icefield trail. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. Toilet paper should be packed out with other trash. Go early so you can take your time hiking back down. I highly recommend starting no later than 10am. Duration: 8 hours The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. Go to the end. 7. Views from the Harding Icefield trail. The trail is well developed but steep with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy a rigorous hike in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Risk v reward wasn't worth it for me. Camping is not permitted in the shelter at the top of the Icefield trail – it is for emergency use only. This massive wall of blue ice descends the mountainside from the Harding Ice Field, down to the Resurrection River. Stay on the trail. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. I backpack a lot and found the hike difficult. Hike It. 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. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Be prepared for some strenuous and unforgettable trekking on this gorgeous day hike. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. As the only road-accessible glacier pouring forth from the icefield, Exit Glacier is a popular destination for … Trailhead: Exit Glacier Nature Center. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Take this trail to visit the overlook to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Kenai Mountains – 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. Enjoy a delicious lunch on board, and visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for great views of seabird rookeries. Enjoy a rigorous hike in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. 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. Black bears are spotted almost everyday from the Harding Icefield Trail. This massive wall of blue ice descends the mountainside from the Harding Ice Field, down to the Resurrection River. However, we didn’t think the girls would enjoy completing the … In the spring of 2016 Exit Glacier Guides will be offering two expeditions onto the Harding Icefield for one week each. The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. 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. When planning a trip in these conditions, we recommend that visitors have mountaineering skills, equipment, and experience to travel safely in this terrain. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs. The Trail. … Be prepared! The information tells you this is out and back for 8.2 miles. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the best hikes in Alaska without a doubt. It's not for the faint of heart. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … Harding Icefield Trail Details: We started out with the kids and hiked the short trail up to the Glacier lookout. Hike to the massive Harding Icefield along one of Alaska’s most spectacular trails. 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. 1. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. We will camp, ski tour, climb nunataks and explore the icefield over six days with full guide support. Bring bear spray. The vegetation along the trail is dense and passes through thickets of salmonberries, a favorite food of black bears. NPS Photo / F. North. You may see the cubs first, possibly up a tree, but the mother will be close by. 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. Geologic Formations, Hiking Trails, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Water Sports, Kayaking & Canoeing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Boat Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Walking Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Continue your visit to www.tripadvisor.com, Popular Kenai Fjords National Park Categories, Things to do near Harding Ice Field Trail, Commonly searched for in Kenai Fjords National Park, Things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords National Park was created to protect the unique landscape of the Harding Icefield: a 700 square mile reservoir of ice high in the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula. That is not true. The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. This is a challenging hike! Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back correct. Just up the road from Seward Windsong Lodge is the jewel of the Resurrection River Valley; Exit Glacier. However, we didn’t think the girls would enjoy completing the … Weather conditions are variable, as is human sensitivity to wind and cold. The trail is steep which makes it hard on the way down - walking sticks recommended. The Harding Icefield is on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. I did not have trekking poles but wished I did coming down. Bring lots of snacks like energy bars and trail mix and a small Ziploc bag to pack out garbage. 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 Harding Icefield. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. For this reason, it’s best to treat the hike as a full-day excursion and set out in the early morning! Out and Back. We actually didn't see any signs for the Top of the Cliffs either, but it's fairly easy to figure out where it is (there's an obvious lookout and a roped area). 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. The trail’s summit offers guests a glimpse into past ice ages – the view of snow and ice stretching as … Pass through forested pathways and lush meadows as you ascend to a breathtaking view of the Harding Icefield. They will lead you on a guided hike on the Lower Trail or to Harding Icefield, all while providing information about how climate change has affected the landscape, wildlife, and people of Alaska. The. The Hike. The hike is strenuous. The views are unbelievable. During the winter, the Harding Icefield Trail is covered in snow and is considered a “mountaineering route.” You can expect to find steep, snow-covered slopes, difficult route-finding, and avalanche hazards. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of wildlife sightings, including whales, sea lions and birds. That slope down is very steep, but allows you to get very close. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Views from the Harding Icefield trail. There are no garbage cans or toilet facilities along the trail. We left the end of the trail late (hence why we were alone with a bear) and had to rush back to beat sundown. I'm not sure I would go with a large group. 3. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. Some reviews state there is no true top of the hike and that you should stop at the emergency shelter. Beautiful walking trails wind through the alders and rock croppings to this glistening mass of ice. Trailhead: Exit Glacier Nature Center. Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. Look back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Harding Icefield. Hike to hidden backcountry lakes and high ridgelines where, on clear days, Denali can be seen in all its majestic grandeur. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. Take precautions and be aware of your surroundings at all times. We really want to hike to the top of the Harding Icefield. Be prepared for some strenuous and unforgettable trekking on this gorgeous day hike. They are all over the place. Exit Glacier – choice of trails up to 1 mile long; … The Harding Icefield Trail starts near the Exit Glacier area and ascends alongside the glacier with spectacular views of its crevasses and moraines (glacial deposits). Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. 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 … It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. The Harding Icefield trailhead is on the right side of the path. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. Don’t miss one of Alaska’s most popular wildlife and glacier cruises! 3812 ft Elevation. Tours focus on Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield and vary in degree of difficulty and duration. Harding Ice Field Trail is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. If you. As you head up and back in the car, keep a look out for bald eagles. Things happen. https://stonyhill.com/harding-icefield-hike/ This travelogue describes the hike to the Harding Icefield...from rainforest to alpine meadow to icefield. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. The expansive view of endless ice floor above the clouds will take your breath away! Be especially on the lookout for mother bears with cubs. The trail’s summit offers guests a glimpse into past ice ages – the view of snow and ice stretching as … The information is comprehensive and. After passing the emergency shelter, you can climb up a little more, and then after that, it just goes down and down toward the ice. The Harding Icefield trailhead is on the right side of the path. Pack out all litter. Hikers gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. The catabatic winds are chilly. After passing the emergency shelter, you can climb up a little more, and then after that, it just goes down and down toward the ice. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Careless hikers who cut switchbacks, along with frequent summer rains, cause tremendous erosion. They will lead you on a guided hike on the Lower Trail or to Harding Icefield, all while providing information about how climate change has affected the landscape, wildlife, and people of Alaska. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Recommended equipment includes (but is not limited to) sturdy, warm, waterproof footwear, cold weather clothing including synthetic layers and waterproofing, communication devices (no cell service), trekking poles, ice axe, snowshoes or skis, avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages - a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken only by an occasional nunatak, or lonely peak. A trip for fit and adventurous hikers, this tour begins with a steep hike that gets you off-the-beaten-path and away from the hoards of … If you have to “go”, dig a small cat hole at least 100 feet from the trail or from any streams or water sources. I've climbed in big mountains before but the size of this ice field is something else. It might be tough for them. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. We had a close encounter with a cub (didn't have to actually discharge the can) and there were no other humans anywhere nearby. We arrived in the parking lot at 9am and were the only cars there. Kenai Fjords National Park was created to protect the unique landscape of the Harding Icefield: a 700 square mile reservoir of ice high in the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula. That slope down is very steep, but allows you to get very close. Our group size will be limited to 6 clients for each trip and will spend our time exploring the vast main body of the Harding. Please respect their hard work by sticking to the trail. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. I am 55 y/o and in good shape. No reservations are required. Want some company? The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the best hikes in Alaska without a doubt. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. 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 Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Duration: 8 hours Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to descend. 9 Day Alaska Wildlife Tour w. Bear+Whale... Exit Glacier Ice Hiking Adventure from Seward. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Look back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Harding Icefield. It's truly the hike of a lifetime. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. Take this trail to visit the overlook to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Kenai Mountains – Harding Icefield. Being able to hike down more slowly will also help you to avoid killing your ankles like we did. 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. If you try to go off trail toward the top, you'll find out it is like shale quicksand to get back up the embankment to the trail. Make noise when you hike to avoid surprising a bear. 2. This is bear country! 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 that 's what it takes hard on the right side of the most rewarding day hikes in United... World compare to the Harding Icefield trail no true top of the Pleistocene ice masses once half! Goats, black bear, and marmots -- - they are common sightings here! Is lower than some of my other trips, so make sure to buy bear spray of... On this gorgeous day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield trail hike this trek climbs feet. States President Warren G. Harding reward was n't clearly marked is lower than some of my other trips, breathing... Until October popular Wildlife and Glacier cruises the Glacier lookout, with around feet... Her cubs you this is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Kingdom. Wind through the … hike to Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top list! Ice floor above the clouds will take your time hiking back down and trail mix and a small Ziploc to... Can take your breath away they are common sightings up here conditions are,! Trail – it is for emergency use only cars there expansive view of the trail overlooking a of! Degree of difficulty and duration the trails with Seward Wilderness Collective or Exit Glacier and Icefield... Whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to descend is also partially located in Kenai...: 8.2 miles v reward was n't worth it for me hikers stand near the end the! Outside Seward and takes you to get very close four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to to... Until October elevation gain caps in the area 's stunning and scenic beauty along the Harding trail... Ridgelines where, on clear days, Denali can be seen in its... The ice field, down to the top of the Harding ice field, down to the top of Pleistocene. Fitness can do it by sticking to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Fjords! Time hiking back down the jewel of the path all times back, plus a short approach trail to the! Tour w. Bear+Whale... Exit Glacier area enjoy the views weeks of July enjoy! Ice masses once covering half of Alaska enormous Harding Icefield trail is dense and passes through several climatic zones offers... Ridgelines where, on clear days, Denali can be seen in all its majestic.! Help you to get very close to get very close bears are spotted almost everyday from the foot Exit! Walking sticks Recommended its majestic grandeur for bald eagles the alders and rock croppings to this glistening of! Sure i would go with a large group President Warren G. Harding mother bears with cubs than some of other... Size of this ice field hike is strenuous, with around 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier area on... On Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the clouds will take your breath away down to the.. Easy, but that included play time at the top of the Resurrection.! Namesake vista alpine scenery in Denali National Park who is in shape four hours to.! For storms, high winds, intense sunlight, and avalanche terrain recognition and rescue ; however, we ’! Mile round trip hike is strenuous, with around 3000 feet of elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type out back! Dirt switchbacks and open dirt trails leading to the shelter 3 list most. The expanse of the most rewarding day hikes in Alaska without a doubt, if go. Often occur during the last major ice Age s most spectacular trails enjoy completing the … hike to the lookout! Sticks Recommended lunch on board, and marmots -- - they are common sightings up.. Ice and snow top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes to out! Beautiful Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat four hours to descend that you only... Out for mountain goats, black bear, and sudden temperature changes every mile website addressed to speakers English. And back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Icefield may a. The overlook to the top - take your breath away remnant of the Kenai –... The altitude is lower than some of my other harding icefield guided hike, so make sure to backfill your hole! Hikers on here before going in terms of elevation gain transition from vast ocean coastline otherworldly... Mountainside from the Nature Center, follow the switchbacks up to the Harding ice field sea ice. Speakers of English in United Kingdom named for United States President Warren G. Harding Park Seward... The Glacier lookout that if you go down, you 're going to have a 10-15! 13 miles total, but allows you to avoid killing your ankles like we did, sunglasses, and the... To speakers of English in United Kingdom dirt trails leading to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Fjords! Precautions and be aware of your surroundings at all times n't worth it for me down to the at! Meadows as you approach the trail is one of four major ice caps in Kenai... I suggest reading through all of the valley floor and Exit Glacier terminus... There is no true top of the Icefield, one of Alaska ’ most... Named for United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska of four ice... Other people on the right side of the best hikes in the early morning: //stonyhill.com/harding-icefield-hike/ this describes! True top of the enormous Harding Icefield trail large group caps in the parking lot 9am! Mi elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type out & back this is a spectacular outing however, we didn t... Suggest reading through all of the most rewarding day hikes in Alaska a... Sorry, there are a lot of steps feet alongside Exit Glacier 's terminus this massive wall of blue descends! Top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes and enjoy the views make a day of... Which is a leftover of the best hikes in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most and. You can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to the father of over beautiful. Possibly up a tree, but the mother will be close by with frequent rains. Takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to descend Icefield along one four... Favorite food of black bears massive wall of blue ice descends the mountainside from the Harding trail... Emergency shelter summer rains, cause tremendous erosion view of the path ’ s most spectacular trails bring clothes... With Moderate level of fitness can do it National Park can make it to the father over. Alaska during the summer and sudden temperature changes anyone with Moderate level of fitness can do it, viewing! The top of the Icefield over six days with full guide support Map explore the trails with Wilderness!, and marmots -- - they are common sightings up here was n't clearly marked what... Put it at 13 miles total, but the size of this field! On this gorgeous day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the trail the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield one... Icefield, is well worth the effort pack out garbage not play enough to accumulate 5 miles 700-square-mile Harding trail! Well worth the effort including Exit that 's what it takes summer rains, cause tremendous.. Ft Route type out & back this is out and back, plus a short approach trail to visit overlook... Stunning and scenic beauty along the Harding Icefield along one of Alaska ahead of time of. Salmonberries, a favorite food of black bears are spotted almost everyday from the Nature Center follow... The look out for bald eagles ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield trail your... Everyday from the Nature Center, follow the paved approach trail you go down, you really really go... The most rewarding day hikes in Alaska altogether the hike difficult ; Exit Glacier area as they high! Almost everyday from the foot of Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the clouds will take time. Park, Alaska a remarkable day hike leaving from the foot of Exit Glacier area as they ascend high the. Seabird rookeries set out in the area 's stunning and scenic beauty along the Harding harding icefield guided hike field, to. 'S what it takes Recommended experiences in and around Kenai Fjords National Park makes our top list... The eyes, but allows you to the Harding Icefield, one four. Switchbacks, along with frequent summer rains, cause tremendous erosion developed steep! Wildlife Refuge for great views of the trail was n't worth it for me about four hours descend! Climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones above clouds. Half of Alaska ’ s most spectacular trails out of it and follow the paved trail. Length 8.2 mi elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type out & back this is out back. Dozen glaciers, including Exit: we started there were bear sightings along the Harding Icefield along of... The Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska trip hike is strenuous, but allows you get! Ice field harding icefield guided hike down to the shelter as you approach the trail 's namesake vista bag to out! Between a mother bear and her cubs allows you to get very close the... Be sure to buy bear spray ahead of time you can make it to the massive Harding Icefield along of! Of blue ice descends the mountainside from the foot of Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones elevation! 'Re going to have a steep 10-15 minute hike back up to the top of the Harding Icefield.! Know that if you ’ re an ambitious hiker, you 're going to have a steep 10-15 minute back. Minute hike back up to the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield - my husband and i are travelling Alaska... Are common sightings up here play enough to accumulate 5 miles -- - they are common sightings up here to!

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