After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska: Harding Icefield Trail. Alaska 511: Alaska has some amazing hiking opportunities, even in the winter. Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area as they ascend high above the trailhead. Additionally, during the winter, the trail is considered a “mountaineering route,” and should only be tackled by hikers with experience and equipment. This popular hike takes is busy during summer months, but if you have the skills to tackle it in the winter, you’ll find a much more solitary trek and some killer views. End of the TrailAbout 3,500 feet above the valley, the trail ends at the edge of Harding Icefield, a vast expanse of snow and ice stretching as far as the eye can see. Love Alaska? Follow trail along Exit Glacier ridge; best photos in summer twilight . The trail takes you out to a good viewpoint… 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. If you're not up for the entire hike, you can still find some excellent views by hiking a shorter portion of the trail. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Distance: 1,300 miles. Obey the posted signs, and don't go past them for your own safety. HGL006. According to the National Park service, the Harding Icefield trail is a strenuous 8.2-mile hike in which “hikers gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. Trails are open to foot traffic only, no bikes or pets. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. The NPS closes the road so you have to walk 8 miles or more to get to the trail head before you start the ascent. Be prepared for ice, slippery conditions, unclear trail locations, and deep snow. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. The 8.2-mile out-and-back run along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. 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. Rockfall danger is a possiblity, especially above Top of the Cliffs. Check out the Resurrection River Trail at Mile 7 of Exit Glacier Road. *Talk loudly *Don't get between a sow and cubs During the winter, the Harding Icefield Trail is covered in snow and is considered a “mountaineering route.” You can expect to find steep, snow-covered slopes, difficult route-finding, and avalanche hazards. Florida: Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida National Scenic Trail. 4. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. Following the Glacier Overlook Trail for 0.4 miles (0.64 km), the Harding Icefield Trail branches off to the right (well-marked). … Watch for rockfalls as you hike up the trail. 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. Does the "upper trail" offer view nearly as good as the Harding Icefield Trail? You should also be prepared for avalanche conditions, with a beacon, ice axe, probe and shovel. History. Trails near the Exit Glacier Nature Center: All trails near the Exit Glacier Nature Center are open. Allow at least 6–8 hours to hike to the end of the trail and back. Beliveau Farm Winery opened May 2012, with one simple goal: to make great wine! *Dogs may add to the mother bear's stress Location: 60.181412, -149.663361. Enjoy an afternoon of incredible ambiance on our sprawling estate. This site is updated regularly to reflect the latest conditions, as is the Recorded Information Line at 907-422-0573. There is currently an ice fall hazard warning for the toe and sides of Exit Glacier. Do we need to carry winter jacket? End of the TrailAbout 3,500 feet above the valley, the trail ends at the edge of Harding Icefield, a vast expanse of snow and ice stretching as far as the eye can see. If continuing to the Exit Glacier Area, it is important to be prepared for minimal daylight and winter weather conditions. Unfortunately you’ll also have to hike on the road to the trail head, which is closed to traffic in the winter. Stay with us while exploring Seward After a day of hiking in the alpine tundra, stay with us at one of 3 conveniently located downtown Seward hotels. Allow at least 6–8 hours to hike to the end of the trail and back. And then you get to the top where you will see the incredible Harding Icefield… *Hike in groups If needed, contact the park headquarters directly at (907) 422-0500, during normal business hours. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. *Do not surprise a bear, NO DOGS The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail you’ll be transported to another time. *Give it lots of space Alpine meadows, scree slopes, snow, glaciers, rainforest, waterfalls, and an ice field. The big payoff comes at the end of a bruising four-mile ascent that gains nearly 1,000 feet of elevation each mile: the Harding Icefield. Watch for rockfalls as you hike up the 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. It is always a good idea to check on current conditions before setting out. 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. Snow at higher elevations on the Harding Icefield trail can persist into mid-summer. Kenai Fjords National Park is open year-round; however, the road to Exit Glacier is closed to cars for the winter months and much of the spring. We planned to join a ranger-led hike of Harding Icefield Trail, an 8.2-mile roundtrip hike up a mountain and back down, much of it alongside Exit Glacier. Of the 37,684 offenders currently imprisoned by the state, 4,348 — 11.54 percent — remain eligible for parole under the old law. 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. Have you hiked the Harding Icefield Trail during the winter months? You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. At the top, the Harding Icefield itself can be viewed, its 700-square-mile expanse stretching as far as the eye can see*. BE BEAR AWARE 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 Harding Icefield trail has such varied terrain that truly gives you an idea of the diversity of Alaska’s incredible environments. *Plan to wait if there is a bear near the trail - You are no longer in a hurry! Catherine loves local bookstores, independent films, and spending time with her family, including Gus the golden retriever, who is a very good boy. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a full … Kenai Fjords National Park is technically open throughout the year. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of … Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Trail below snow is in parts muddy/wet/slippery. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. The icefield is a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses that once covered half of Alaska. Harding Icefield Trail (and winter route): The trail is OPEN. After leaving the Harding Icefield, we continued south on smaller glaciers. HGL008 Rockfall danger is a possiblity, especially above Top of the Cliffs. Views from the Harding Icefield trail. Harding Icefield Trail. 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. 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.Runners can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area … Writer, editor and researcher with a passion for exploring new places. Be prepared for ice, slippery conditions, unclear trail locations, and deep snow. Harding Icefield Trail, an 8.2 mile round-trip with a significant elevation gain, that provides views of Exit Glacier and eventually the Harding Icefield I started with Edge of the Glacier… … which doesn’t take long, and is fairly easy to hike. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. Unfortunately you’ll also have to hike on the road to the trail head, which is closed to traffic in the winter. Exit Glacier Developed Area map and regulations. The Harding Icefield Trail Is A Beautiful Winter Hike In Alaska That Will Make You Feel At One With Nature Posted in Alaska November 16, 2017 by Catherine Armstrong The Absurdly Beautiful Winter Hike In Alaska That Will Make You Feel At One With Nature Alaska has some amazing hiking opportunities, even in the winter. Snow at higher elevations on the Harding Icefield trail can persist into mid-summer. IF YOU SEE A BEAR 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. Winter conditions are expected. Harding Icefield: We started the day with intentions of reaching Harding Icefield. Skiing down the Grewingk was Sarah’s favorite part of the trip. Today the 700 square feet of ice and snow is dotted with glacial islands of exposed parts of mountains known as “nunataks”. Thank you! Be prepared, and make sure to have food and water, extra clothes, sturdy footwear, and rain gear. Make Your Winter Magical By Staying In Downtown Talkeetna In This Historic Alaskan Roadhouse, Walk Through A Snowy Alaskan Wonderland To Get To A Frozen Waterfall On The Thunderbird Falls Trail, Peek Out At The Northern Lights From The Most Wished For Airbnb In Alaska, These 9 Jaw Dropping Places In Alaska Are Some Of The Most Beautiful On Earth, Most People Will Never See These Gorgeous Lakes Hiding In Alaska, This Easy Hike Proves That Alaska Is Home To Unrivaled Beauty, The Alaska Hike That Leads To The Most Unforgettable Destination, The Glacier Hike In Alaska That’s Everything You’ve Ever Dreamed Of, 18 picturesque trails that are perfect for winter hiking. Mostly vertical, it can be a real A** whupper, but ohhhhh, the reward is sooooo worth it. Kenai Fjords National Park is technically open throughout the year. Harding Icefield Trail (and winter route): Winter conditions are expected. The construction of the Spruce Creek trail that year, however, made it possible to view the upper portions of the icecap, and President Harding's … *Carry bear spray Pretty impressive if you ask me. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here: You'll want to be properly equipped for a mountaineering adventure, with waterproof hiking boots, trekking poles, communication devices (there's no cell coverage up here!) Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail of the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is one of the best adventures in the Kenai Peninsula and in Alaska. The icefield itself receives over 400 inches of snow each year. and warm, layered clothing. The roads leading to the trail can be impassable by car, so they’re closed once heavy snows come in. The first quarter-mile (0.4 km) is through dense cottonwood and alder passing a few small cascades. Sharp nunataks (lone peaks) break the white horizon, glaciers spill from the ice field’s edge, and mountains fill the frame in every direction. 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. We thought at the end of our hike (the end of Exit Glacier Road) we would arrive at the Harding Icefield viewpoint and see the beautiful, snow-covered expanse that goes as far as the eye can see. Hiking in Alaska: Harding Icefield Trail Hiking in Alaska can be trying; mosquitoes, grizzly bear and our old foe, moose are always a possibility. 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 forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. The terrain remained interesting throughout the route. You could, if you like “posting” which is hiking in extremely deep snow. Enter your e-mail address for things to do, restaurants to try and much more! Harding Icefiled is the one I w have the most knowledge of and I think you will find the approach makes the hike more than a day hike. We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. However, the best time to hike the Harding Icefield Trail is during the summer months, primarily between June and October. Purchase a gourmet cheese plate, soft pretzel, scratch made pizza, or other lite fare. You can see the Harding Icefield on the popular Harding Icefield Trail which departs from the Exit Glacier Visitor Center in Seward, Alaska. Location: 60.181816, -149.656311. Depending on the time of year you can run into rain, snow and ice on the trails as well. The Trail. If visiting the area, please give the bears space. The Seward Highway (AK-9) is the only road that provides access to Kenai Fjords National Park. The roads leading to the trail can be impassable by car, so they’re closed once heavy snows come in. Alaska's Department of Transportation website will continuously update the driving conditions on the state's highways. Kenai Fjords National Park is open year-round; however, the road to Exit Glacier is closed to cars for the winter months and much of the spring. Road to Exit Glacier (Herman Leirer Road): During the winter, Herman Leirer Road is unmaintained and inaccessible to automobile traffic due to a state road closure. Give our readers some tips! 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. You'll receive your first newsletter soon! 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. A particularly gorgeous turn back point is Marmot Meadows and the amazing view of the Exit Glacier. The winery has a beautiful tasting room, a warm fireplace to sip wine around, picnic spots, lavender farm, and on-site hiking trails. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. Want some knowledgeable company? You could, if you like “posting” which is hiking in extremely deep snow. The Harding Icefield Trail is a great ambassador for the changing environment because of how easy it is accessed by people from all over the world. 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. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. 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. Trail and weather conditions can change over the course of a day. However, the best time to hike the Harding Icefield Trail is during the summer months, primarily between June and October. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. *Dogs are prohibited on trails at all times. The Harding Icefield Trail is a relatively strenuous trail for the casual visitor to Alaska. Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. Trail opens to views of Harding Icefield, a near-blinding spread of bowl-shaped glacial cirques covering half the park . is important. This stunning icefield is one of just four left in the United States, and is the largest of the four. The Trail. HGL007. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. And all in a 13km hike. It is always a good idea to check on current conditions before setting out. Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. Traveling beyond the state gate (first gate) to the Exit Glacier Area is another 7 miles (11.5 km), and an additional 1 mile to the Exit Glacier overlook. Check out these 18 picturesque trails that are perfect for winter hiking. I am trying to minize the weight to carry 3. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Get more stories delivered right to your email. Ready for more winter hiking? Other Hazards: On snow covered sections weak snow bridges are forming in low areas, and sudden falls (2-3ft) to ground level are possible. Or, see it from above on the Harding Icefield Tour with Natron Air, which departs from the Kenai / Soldotna area. Turn L onto side trail for Exit Glacier overlook . Hikers should be prepared for a wide range of conditions, including wet, mud, rain/snow and rockfall. Snow pack conditions will very greatly at all the hikes you mention. *Back away Skiing down the Grewingk was Sarah’s favorite part of the trip. The 8.2-mile roundtrip hike to the Harding Icefield overlook is strenuous—you’ll gain about 1,000 feet of elevation with each of the four miles to the top.
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