The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. So, I know most hikers on All Trails are not going to have this perspective but in case there are more people like me out there, this is for those who are kind of irrationally afraid of heights. Hike a bit further and in rocky alpine meadow you will reach another overlook – this time even closer. Very beautiful, a must do if it fits your activity level. Saw 3 black bears out today towards the last mile to the top, be careful. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Come prepared to hike the Harding Icefield Trail with layers, water, and trekking poles. Soon you will emerge above the treeline with the first overlook to Harding Icefield. Go towards Exit Glacier for around 0.5km until you find the Harding Icefield Trailhead on your right. The Harding Icefield Trail by Exit Glacier. I write this for the other scaredy-cats like me out there, the trail is worth it! Harding Icefield Trail (Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska) Looking for an all-day, challenging hike with a huge payoff for your fitness *and* Instagram feed? Happy hiking. Hiking Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords Alaska You really can’t lose when choosing which hikes to do in Alaska, the state is so full of beauty that you will be starry eyed while taking out your trash in the morning. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. Enjoy a rigorous hike in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s … The whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to descend. Reach Seward Village by heading south on AK-1, then State Highway 9. Loose trail is hard on the knees but the view from the top is amazing! Harding Ice Field Trail is a 13.2 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Lastly, you will traverse along the hillside and descend to get right next to the Harding Icefield itself. Being Mid-October, we started off with beautiful falls colors going up the bottom of the mountain, and by the time we got to the top of the hike, we were walking through a couple feet of snow. Three different climates to pass through and insane views all over the place. It is one of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever experienced. How to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail Getting to the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. The elevation gain is never very steep or too hard. And then you get to the top where you will see the incredible Harding Icefield… The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Hikes Oct 16th. I took my time and soaked it in. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Harding Icefield Trail A hike to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail gives you a glimpse of what much of south-central Alaska looked like during the last ice age. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail you’ll be transported to another time. There are unlimited ways of why hiking here is worth your time, but here are our 5 favorite reasons to hike the Harding Icefield … Take this trail to visit the overlook to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Kenai Mountains – Harding Icefield. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. 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. Probably ranks as my favorite hike so far! Pretty cold and breezy at the top as well so layers are definitely needed. After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. Visit Alaska SeaLife Center at Seward to learn about Alaskan marine fauna. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder … This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. Harding Icefield Trail Details: We started out with the kids and hiked the short trail up to the Glacier lookout. There are several places on the trail where the view was worth the hike and those who need less challenge can turn back for the welcome center. Dress in layers- very cold at the top if you go to the glacier. A particularly gorgeous turn back point is Marmot Meadows and the amazing view of the Exit Glacier. Along the way, enjoy wildlife, wildflowers, and waterfalls. It looks so gentle and lightly sloping with a … Mostly vertical, it can be a real A** whupper, but ohhhhh, the reward is sooooo worth it. Harding Icefield Trail. The trail climbs up four miles … The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. It just will take some people longer. I did know when I didn’t make it to the ice field because of some sketchy (to me) last steep exposed waterfall sections that were too narrow for my comfort level. Please do not pass this one up. The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. I say this first because I read the reviews of this climb thinking it was going to be very difficult. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. We will camp, ski tour, climb nunataks and explore the icefield over six days with full guide support. So the very first place Emily and I went to when she arrived in Alaska was Seward, where we went to the Kenai Fjords National Park and hiked the Harding Icefield Trail. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. The vast expanse of the Harding Ice Field is absolutely mind-boggling. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. 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. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. We had some difficulty navigating the trail under the snow as the orange flag trail markers seemed to have been covered for the most part. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. Mostly vertical, it can be a real A** whupper, but ohhhhh, the reward is sooooo worth it. People do hike up to the icefield, and a few adventures ones even continue across. If you decide to spend some time here, you might even notice the very slow movement of ice, slowly approaching the edges of the icefield and pouring from one of over 30 glaciers. Trail was amazing! Your adventure will begin at Exit Glacier car park. 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. The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. It climbs 5000 feet … This strenuous trail leaves from the same trailhead as the Exit Glacier Trail. The rest of us can only begin to appreciate the magnitude of this immense geographic feature by air. We hiked to the top and hit the offshoot on the way back. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email. 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 Icefield Trail A hike to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail gives you a glimpse of what much of south-central Alaska looked like during the last ice age. Did this hike on Aug 16. For this reason, it’s best to treat the hike as a full-day excursion and set out in the early morning! A particularly gorgeous turn back point is Marmot Meadows and the amazing view of the Exit Glacier. It is moderately inclined, but no difficult scrambling. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. And then you get to the top where you will see the incredible Harding Icefield… Glaciers And Glory: The Harding Icefield Trail. The hike is challenging. I would love to go back, maybe even in winter for a snowshoe hike. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of … The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: See 190 reviews, articles, and 281 photos of Harding Ice Field Trail, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in Kenai Fjords National Park. No spam. The Harding Icefield hike starts just a bit above sea level--so hopefully that will make a huge difference. 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 icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. If you’re in decent shape you’ll be able to finish the hike. The adventurous Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike near Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. 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. This 8.2-mile roundtrip hike is sure to not disappoint if you are ready mentally and physically. Didn’t see any cool animals, but other hikers saw bears. Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. Definitely would recommend this one. It felt like going through two different worlds in one afternoon. 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 was a long and never-to-be-forgotten adventure! We hit the trail head at 10am on an Oct Tue and had the whole trail to ourselves. The adventurous Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike near Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. We hiked to the top of the Icefield in July 2013. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … The trail is well developed but steep with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. and drive 11.4km until you reach a big Exit Glacier car park. Visit Exit Glacier overlook, which is easily accessible by the trail from the Exit Glacier carpark, Spend a night at Exit Glacier Campground to beat the crowds. You will find the Exit Glacier trailhead at the western part of the carpark, near the nature center. The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. They minded their own business and so did we. Frequently Asked Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The expansive view of endless ice floor above the clouds will take your breath away! The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The Harding Icefield Trail is a relatively strenuous trail for the casual visitor to Alaska. Harding Icefield Trail 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. I was comfortable for most of the trail and it had the most beautiful views I’ve seen even not making it to the ice field. First, I didn’t know this trail was rated difficult when we were on 99% of the trail! Strenuous. 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. This 500-square-mile frozen mass feeds almost three dozen glaciers, including Exit. 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 … Even a The Harding Icefield hike is a must-do hike in Kenai Mountains. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. 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. But, if there’s one trail I could recommend in Alaska, it’s Harding Icefield. That is just a little over 1000ft per mile, making the trail very steep and suitable only for hikers in good condition. It’s not technical and very safe. 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. Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the trailhead. The trail climbs up four miles from the valley floor, ending above the tree line at the stunning lookout over the Harding Icefield. We saw a baby moose which was so beautiful. Difficulty of the Harding Icefield Trail Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. The last 20-30 mins was through snow, at times knee deep, but just follow the tracks and the flags. History. We had decent boots with no covers and our feet stayed dry. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. Also, resist the urge to step on the icefield or glacier as it can be extremely dangerous. The icefield itself receives over 400 inches of snow each year. A definite must hike if you are in the Seward area. We did see a black bear that was off the trail and uninterested in us. Peer into the Pleistocene on the Harding Icefield Trail, high in the Kenai Mountains. Hard on the knees when you go down. The Flattop Mountain trail is a great day-hike near Anchorage. Such a fun and beautiful trail. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. To reach the beginning of the Harding Icefield trail. Took us just under 5 hours bottom to top with a short lunch stop at the shelter. Short, but steep this trail takes you to the top…, The hike up Hope Point Trail is a fun and challenging hike to the peak of Hope Point. Harding Ice Field Trail: Harding Icefield Hike - See 190 traveler reviews, 281 candid photos, and great deals for Kenai Fjords National Park, AK, at Tripadvisor. Head to Harding Icefield for views of surrounding peaks and fjords. The trail climbs up four miles from the valley floor, ending above the tree line at the stunning lookout over the Harding Icefield. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. 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. The views are beautiful. The trail is easy to follow all the way to the cabin, snow ankle deep for about the last 30 min or so but the trail is still easy to follow! Even if you do not hike the entire length of the trail, simply experiencing part of it allows for stunning views of the valley and Visit Exit Glacier Nature Centre to check the weather conditions before the hike. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5 This was one of our first hikes on our trip to Alaska, and it was definitely worth it. You will start ascending through bushy terrain. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. This 8.2 mile round trip hike takes you through alder forests, fields of fireweed, and alpine terrain, finishing at the top of the Harding Icefield; the second largest icefield in North America, where it's all blue ice as far as the eye can see. We were blessed — such days are not common in this area. The icefield is a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses that once covered half of Alaska. This strenuous trail climbs approximately 1,000 feet every mile, but spectacular views along the way make it well worth the effort. Above the Harding Icefield. The Trail. Bring tons of water and snacks. Harding Icefield Trail The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area . You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. If you give yourself enough time and have completed a few long hikes in your life, and maybe have a buddy for motivation, you should be fine :) As others have mentioned the changing landscape is amazing during this hike - definitely bring a camera, and LAYERS! The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Took us 6ish hrs roundtrip at a leisurely pace. The hike up to the Harding Icefield is a strenuous, 7.7 mile roundtrip, hike that gains 3000 feet. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder … Want some knowledgeable company? The Harding Icefield Trailhead is located on the right about 1/3 of mile along the Exit Glacier Paved Path. Also saw two black bears, very non-aggressive, on the trail! There are several places on the trail where the view was worth the hike and those who need less challenge can turn back for the welcome center. Glaciers And Glory: The Harding Icefield Trail. Gorgeous hike. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the best hikes in Alaska without a doubt. Begins in the lush green forest, ascends to colorful meadow and ends in a mars like tundra. Unfortunately you’ll also have to hike on the road to the trail head, which is closed to traffic in the winter. The Harding Icefield Trailhead is located on the right about 1/3 of mile along the Exit Glacier Paved Path. We saw 3 black bears on the way up. We will camp, ski tour, climb nunataks and explore the icefield over six days with full guide support. Take a turn on your right to Herman Leirer Rd. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. The ice field itself looks like something from another planet. The ice field was incredible (and freezing) make sure you bring gloves and a warm hat. Hike to Harding ice field in a nutshell starts on the valley floor, passes through dense forest growth, into the meadows and ultimately climbs above the tree line, though the gravel and snow to give a breath taking view of horizon of blue ice from the Ice Age, that is visible as far as the eye can see. Following the Glacier Overlook Trail for 0.4 miles (0.64 km), the Harding Icefield Trail branches off to the right (well-marked). Went all the way down to stand on the icefield. However, we didn’t think the girls would enjoy completing the 8.2 miles round trip journey. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. Elevation wise its all uphill with no flats whatsoever. Copyright © 2020 10Adventures Inc. All rights reserved. The Harding Ice Field is a fairly popular tourist destination, though those people typically come in July or August when the cruise ships make the rounds of the Alaskan coast. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Here you will be able to visit the nature center, fill your empty bottles and even use flush toilets. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. The first quarter-mile (0.4 km) is through dense cottonwood and alder passing a few small cascades. Even a Enjoy a rigorous hike in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. I enjoyed this hike so much! attilio pregnolato/Shutterstock At Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, you can go for a scenic day hike on the Harding Icefield Trail. You could, if you like “posting” which is hiking in extremely deep snow. harding icefield hike - kenai fjords national park - june 2016. 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 strenuous trail climbs approximately 1,000 feet every mile, but spectacular views along the way make it well worth the effort. Ice everywhere I look! The endless icefield scene will take your breath away. One of the hardest yet most rewarding hikes I’ve EVER done. 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. The hike up to the Harding Icefield is a strenuous, 7.7 mile roundtrip, hike that gains 3000 feet. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. We had great weather and clear skies! The adventurous Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike near Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. We were blessed — such days are not common in this area. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. The view is sooo awesome and 100% worth it! Strong winds, snow and storm are not uncommon here even after the sunniest mornings! 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. Today the 700 square feet of ice and snow is dotted with glacial islands of exposed parts of mountains known as “nunataks”. Adding the Harding Icefield Trail. The Harding Icefield Trail is a relatively strenuous trail for the casual visitor to Alaska. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. As noted, the hike is fairly difficult as it is pretty elevation intensive, but it is very much worth it. If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to Harding Icefield. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Killed my knees on the way down. Top of the cliff is probably a good return point if you are short of time. The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. 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. 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. Easily one of the best hikes we've ever done and could probably list it in the top 10 day hikes in the US. We ended up with 10.5 miles and just under 4000’ of elevation. Enjoy the view and carry on towards the glacier. Become a Contributor at 10Adventures and share your adventures! If you have time, take the offshoot at mile 2.5 to hike down to the glacier and get a feel for how amazing it is. This was definitely the right decision for our family. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. 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. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. I am an avid climber. 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.

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