Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park
P.O. Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664-1727
907-224-2132 (recorded park information)
The park lies south and west of Seward, Alaska, 130 road miles south of Anchorage, on the Seward Highway.
The park lies 130 road miles south of Anchorage, via the Seward Highway. The park's headquarters and visitor center are located on Seward's small boat harbor.
In addition to accessibility by road via the Seward Highway, bus and commuter-flight service link Seward and Anchorage. The Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) System connects Seward with Homer and Seldovia via Kodiak, providing service to Valdez and Cordova. The Alaska Railroad serves Seward from Anchorage during the summer months.
In summer, Exit Glacier can be reached by car on a gravel road (approximately nine miles) and a short trail. The Harding Icefield can be reached by air or trail. Air and boat charters provide access to the fjords.
Operating Hours and Seasons
The visitor center in Seward offers exhibits, slide programs, maps, publications, and information. It is open Monday through Friday year-round, and Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with extended hours.
There is a ranger station at Exit Glacier, which offers exhibits and information about the glacier and the Harding Icefield, interpretive programs, and talks. Rangers provide information daily during the summer months.
The two major sites are the main visitor center, located on Seward's small boat harbor, and the Exit Glacier Ranger Station.
A bookstore is located in the park visitor center.
Trails and Roads
Exit Glacier is the only portion of the park accessible by trail. A gravel road at mile 3.7 of the Seward Highway leads nine miles to the Exit Glacier Ranger Station. An easy half-mile walk will take you to the glacier's terminus. The first quarter-mile of this trail is completely accessible. A steeper trail continues across moraines and bedrock. Visitors may return to the ranger station via a nature trail.
The three-mile Harding Icefield trail, which follows the glacier's flank to an overlook of the icefield, is for day use only. Overnight backpacking is prohibited. Check bulletin boards for current trail conditions.
The glacier is active and calvingfalling ice is dangerous. The area beyond the warning signs is strictly off-limits. Please stay off the ice!
Programs and Activities
Regularly scheduled tours, guided walks, and educational programs are conducted by park rangers at major sites in season.
Authorized commercial guides provide camping, fishing, and kayaking services. Air charters fly over the coast for flight seeing and access to the fjords. Boat tours and charters are available from Seward. In summer, boat tours ply the coast, observing calving glaciers, seabirds, and marine mammals.
Boat charters offer overnight fjord trips and fishing trips to the fjords and Resurrection Bay. Saltwater fish include halibut, lingcod, and a variety of rockfish; freshwater fish include Dolly Varden and silver, red, chum, and pink salmon).
There are interpretive talks, exhibits, and a slide program at the visitor center and Exit Glacier Ranger Station.
Lodging and Camping
Exit Glacier has 12 walk-in summer camping sites. Three backcountry cabins for summer visits along the park's coastline are located in the fjords of Holgate Arm, Aialik Bay, and North Arm. The cabins are accessible by boat, kayak, or small plane. In winter, a public use cabin is available at Exit Glacier. Cabin stays are limited to three days.
Visitors must obtain reservations and permits in advance.
Seward provides full tourist services, including campgrounds.
Food and Supplies
Food and supplies can be obtained at local restaurants, grocery stores.
The park visitor center and the exhibit area near the Exit Glacier Ranger Station are wheelchair accessible. The first quarter mile of the Exit Glacier Trail is fully accessible. Contact the park for details.
Reservations and Permits
Reservations for school groups or other educational groups should be made prior to the visit. Reasonable notice and application for Special Use Permits is required. For additional information concerning reservations or permits call 907-224-3175.
Overcast and cool days are frequent in this maritime climate of abundant rain. May is the driest month; successive months see increasing precipitation. Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid-40s to low 70s (F). The wet, stormy fall begins in September Wool or synthetic clothing and sturdy rain gearpants, coat, and hatare essential.
Write park headquarters, Kenai Fjords National Park, P.O. Box 1727, Seward, AK 99664-1727 or call 907-224-3175.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication