Kenai Fjords National Park

Highlights
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Kenai Fjords National Park (Photo by John Page, Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking)

The best way for visitors to see the deep fjords, spectacular tidewater glaciers, and abundant marine life of this rugged, remote park is via one of the scheduled all-day boat tours or on a camping or kayaking trip with a commercial guide. Fishing includes saltwater, freshwater, and migrant species—halibut, salmon, trout, and more.

The Exit Glacier Ranger Station offers guided walks to glaciers and the ice field, interpretive displays, and other educational programs during the summer season. The terrain in this park is steep and camping/hiking opportunities are fairly limited. Public-use cabins are available in some areas—see map to locate specific cabins.)

Winters are rigorous, with up to 65 feet of snow per year, and although the area is open to snowmobiling, dogsledding, and backcountry skiing, winter visits are recommended only for the well-equipped and experienced.

Wildlife, Bird, and Glacier Viewing

Air charters, available in Seward or Homer, fly over the coast for sightseeing and access to the fjords. Boat tours and boat charters are available from Seward. In summer, boats play the coast observing calving glaciers, seabirds, and marine mammals. Among the many species of birds and wildlife at Kenai Fjords are moose, bear, mountain goats, humpback whales, fin whales, orca, harbor and dall porpoises, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, seabirds, puffins, murres, cormorants, and black-legged kittwakes.

Fishing

Trophy-size fish, fresh into Alaska waters from the open ocean, are a cast away at Kenai Fjords. Boats can be chartered in Seward and elsewhere for overnight fishing trips to the fjords and Resurrection Bay. Saltwater fish found in the waters around Kenai Fjords include halibut, lingcod, and numerous varieties of rockfish. Freshwater fish include Dolly Varden and other trout. Andromanous (migrant) fish include silver, red, chum and pink salmon.

Kayaking

Kayaking opportunities abound in the park, running from McCarty Fjord in the park's southern end to Resurrection Bay at the northeast corner. Independent kayak travel in the fjords is recommended for experienced paddlers only. Novice or experienced paddlers can enjoy a kayaking tour of the park by joining one of the tour operators offering kayaking trips in the area. The area is subject to rough seas and strong tidal currents. Although most experienced paddlers can travel to the fjords from Seward, most kayakers arrange drop-offs and pick-ups with charter boats. Never go within a quarter-mile of tidewater glaciers. Glaciers calve without warning, posing extreme danger from falling ice and cresting waves.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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