Kayak to fjords, hike to icefields and glaciers and view the antics of land-based and marine wildlife in this vast Alaskan park.
Experience a living Ice Age in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park. Explore fjords and glaciers by kayak, hiking trails or flyovers to see a fascinating wintry parkland unlike anything in the lower 48 states.
Travel to Alaska’s coastline where fjords cut giant ravines into a shoreline of rock and snow. Rent a sea kayak and gear to paddle along Aialik Bay or Northwestern Lagoon. The National Park Service strongly recommends hiring a guide. The area’s very cold open waters can be treacherous, with rough surf and swells of 3 feet (1 meter) or more.
Book a cruise to Resurrection Bay or Northwestern Fjord. Watch for sea lions and orca and other whales in the water and mountain goats and puffins on land. Many cruises include narration by a park ranger. Dress in layers for changeable summer conditions ranging from bright sun to chilling winds.
Hike some or all of the very strenuous 8.2-mile (13.2-kilometer) round-trip Harding Icefield Trail. You’ll start with views of purple lupine flowers, heather and cottonwood and climb to the top of a seemingly endless ice field overlooking Exit Glacier. View this same area with a “flight seeing” trip, sightseeing from a small plane soaring over the park lands, with more than 30 glaciers.
Drive to the Exit Glacier Nature Center to learn about the region’s geology and wildlife. Walk to the glacier itself to observe the ever-changing environment as the glacier retreats. When the nature center road closes for the region’s extended snow season, access the area by snowmobile, dog sled or cross-country skiing.
The park is open year-round. However, June through August offer the warmest weather and easiest access to the largest number of facilities. Park entrance and camping are free. For mountaineering, ice climbing and other advanced sports, check the official website for safety requirements and guide recommendations. Reach the park at Seward, Alaska, 126 miles (203 kilometers) south of Anchorage.
U.S. national parks offer affordable access to unusual and exciting scenery and adventures across the country. Enjoy your visit to the fascinating world of ice and snow at Kenai Fjords National Park.