Just a few hours away from Anchorage on one of the most scenic drives in Alaska, it deserves your visit! And you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes open the whole time for wildlife! , What’s one thing you’re grateful for? Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. And trust me, your legs will feel it (unless you’re some sort of Olympic athlete, which I most definitely am not!). You get to see the glaciers and the snow-capped peaks from a birds-eye view with no obstructions! We were blessed — such days are not common in this area. 4. 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. The Harding Icefield Trail should definitely be on your Alaska Itinerary! Click on the picture for a map of our route. 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. 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 … A shorter hike up the trail commands impressive panoramas of the valley floor, Exit Glacier, and the Harding Icefield. The overall profile is around 1,000′ / mile over rough terrain including plenty of large and often slick rocks. The End of the Trail. You experience roughly 1000 feet of elevation gain per mile! So what is this icefield you’ll be hiking to, anyway? Necessary warning: While Exit Glacier & the Harding Icefield Trail may just be a “day hike,” it’s nothing to take lightly. Helicopter rides, on the other hand, offer a unique vantage point and are an awesome choice if you have limited time. 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. The 7.4-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. 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. 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. Take the left fork and you’ll reach a clearing that is perfect for a picnic or simply to take in the views! Hello friends! The view you see in the photo above is not even from the top of the hike- only from halfway! First, you’ll wind through the forest, then, through a beautiful tundra meadow, and lastly, rocky terrain. And make sure the hole is at least 100 feet from any water sources or streams. Check out this post on 33 crucial things to know before visiting Alaska for some more useful information!). 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. 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. This strenuous trail leaves from the same trailhead as the Exit Glacier Trail. Holgate Glacier and Aialik Glacier are the most popular ones to see by boat. We actually didn’t get to go all the way to the icefield due to a storm that rolled in. Overview. The best map of the trail route that I’ve seen can be found @ NPMaps.com. Thanks for supporting my blog by purchasing through these links! 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.). My recommendation: opt to push through to the Top of the Cliff (2.4 miles). The alpine flora can take a while to grow, especially because this trail is highly trafficked. You also get a glimpse of the Icefield along with the majestic mountains surrounding the area. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. So if completing the entire trail seems outside of your wheelhouse, there are great viewpoints just a couple of miles into the hike. There are a few trails that lead from the parking lot to various parts of the lower section of Exit Glacier. The still air was heavy with moisture as I hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside Seward, Alaska. 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. This is the log of a ten day trip down the Kenai Peninsula. It is considered a challenging day hike and mainly suitable for the physically well-prepared. The weather can be unpredictable and the winds traveling down the mountain can be pretty chilly. 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. Harding Icefield Trail. Do I need those hiking pants to keep the bottom part of pants from getting wet? The Trail. To squeeze the most out of the Harding Icefield you can enjoy the hike by the day then camp overnight. Kenai Fjords National Park hosts some of the best of Alaska’s beauty within its massive rugged and dramatic landscape. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb.
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