Though pets are prohibited on this trail, service animals are able to accompany visitors. Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. In the spring of 1968, the first documented mountaineering party succeeded in crossing the icefield. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5. The trail ascends steeply over the 4.1 miles, gaining around 3500' of elevation. Lush trees, bears, and vast icefields of Exit Glacier. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. At only 4 miles to the end of the trail, hikers might assume that it is an easy hike; it’s not. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. This 300 square-mile Harding Ice Field covers a mountain range under ice several thousand feet thick, and flows out into 38 glaciers. Details: The magnificent Harding Icefield is the jewel of Kenai Fjords National Park (at least in my opinion!) The strenuous 7.7-mile roundtrip Harding Icefield Trail starts on the valley floor and climbs through alder and cottonwood forest, and wildflower meadows before reaching the stark landscape of the icefield gaining approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Length of the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. Travelers gain nearly 1,000 feet of elevation with each mile, putting this day hike firmly into the “strenuous” category. Early in the season, about half of the trail is covered in snow, but hikers with boots will have little problem walking through it. It's probably 9 miles round trip, a little longer than the sign says, with plenty of elevation gain, but it is well worth it. Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back Answer 1 of 4: I understand that hiking out to the Harding Icefield is one of the best day hikes in Alaska. The park's glaciers have retreated through the twentieth century, … The expedition left Homer on April 17, bound for Chernof Glacier; eight days later, they descended Exit Glacier and arrived in Seward. Some of it melts but a lot of it does not, and it’s compressed into dark blue ice over the next three or four decades. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Alaskan pilot, Bill Quirk tells me, “Make a visit to Alaska to enjoy the best in ski flying operations. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. Expedition members included Bill Babcock, Eric Barnes, Bill Fox, Dave Johnston, Yule Kilcher and his son Otto, Dave Spencer, Helmut Tschaffert, and Vin and Grace (Jansen) Hoeman. Thirteen glaciers were profiled, along with the tipper region 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. The Harding Ice Field is a bit more boring in its uniformity, in that most of its glaciers are retreating, he said. That is just a little over 1000ft per mile, making the trail very steep and suitable only for hikers in good condition. However, there are no glacial channels at the middle of the icefield so the new ice has nowhere to go. Even a half-mile hike up the trail gives you a panoramic view of the valley floor and the edge of Exit Glacier. They hiked from Bear Glacier west to Tustumena Glacier. It accumulates high enough to cover … The trail had contoured along a hillside of tundra festooned with the nodding white flowers of bell heather. Unfortunately, Daniel is a trail master. Conditions on the icefield overwhelmed him however, and a week later he was back in Seward. Seward Harding Icefield Hike Tour. Up to this point, however, people had walked only on the icefield's margins. Up there, just out of sight, sprawled the Harding Icefield. About 1940, two Kenai Peninsula residents, Eugene "Coho" Smith and Don Rising, apparently were successful in their attempt to cross the icefield. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. The National Park entrance is located about 7 miles back the road. DIRECTIONS: Kenai Fjords National Park is about a three-hour drive, south of Anchorage, Alaska. The other big thing we wanted to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, besides glacier kayaking, was hiking the famous Harding Icefield Trail.. Up there, just out of sight, sprawled the Harding Icefield. In about 1000 ft elevation the forest disappears to allow a hike that overlooks the Harding Icefield. The Harding Icefield is located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Hiking Tip. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages - a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken … You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. The National Park entrance is located about 7 miles back the road. The Trail. Retrieved December 14, 2006", Kenai Fjords National Park - Exit Glacier (U.S. National Park Service). The trail's summit … You'll gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile so be sure to allow at least 6-8 hours for this trip. We could have stayed much longer admiring the icefield, but the day was getting towards the end of the day and we had to start on the return. The snow covered unnamed mountain peak in the background is 5,900 feet on the western side of the icefield. The ice is so thick that it extends up to 6,000 feet of elevation. NPS Photo / F. North. … Went all the way down to … Airborne surface elevation profiles of the Harding Ice field, south-central Alaska, were made in 1991 and 1996. The trail is well developed but steep with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The icefield embraces Tuuli Peak, the highest point in the Kenai Mountains at 6,612 feet above sea level, suggesting that the Harding is likely a mile deep in some places. … Would you hike to the Harding Icefield? Hike the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. 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. 4.2 Miles – End of Trail and Breathtaking Overlook of Harding Icefield (3512 ft elevation) Weather. That’s some serious ice. From cottonwood forests on the lower trail, the trek takes you through some rocky terrain, to … The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. The park's highest point is an unnamed peak of 6,450 feet (1,970 m) in the Kenai Mountains. Although, an Alaskan local did tell me that bear spray wouldn’t do anything if you encounter a grizzly and that I should be carrying a fire arm, I still decided to carry some. Elevation Gain of the Harding Icefield Trail. Leaves from the Exit Glacier parking lot. There is a day parking area and a small nature center. Fin whale in Kenai Fjords. Such a fun and beautiful 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. Elevation wise its all uphill with no flats whatsoever. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Approx. Much of the interior is covered by the Harding Icefield. The still air was heavy with moisture as I hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside Seward, Alaska. The area generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate, primarily due to the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska. In early 1936, a 27-year-old Swiss immigrant and future state senator named Yule Kilcher disembarked in Seward. 8.2miles or 13km return. The core of the icefield covers 300 hundred square miles, with its glacial tentacles extending it out to 1,100 square miles, with much of it located in Kenai Fjords National Park. I have never so many sitting on the cliffs just staring out at nature for so long. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. Two parties attempted to cross the icefield in the mid-1960s. Took us 6ish hrs roundtrip at a leisurely pace. We need all that ice. This cumulative ice loss over those five decades from the Harding Icefield represents 1 percent of the total contribution of all mountain glaciers worldwide to rising seas! The trail is strenuous! A definite must hike if you are in the Seward area. A short hike up the trail affords impressive views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier's terminus. The icefield spawns more than 38 glaciers some of which are tidewater, some of which terminate in lakes, and others terminate on land. Camping is allowed along the Harding Icefield Trail, but you must travel at least 1/8 mile from the trail on bare rock or snow before setting up your camp. If you want to stay here overnight camping is allowed as long as you set up camp at least 1/8 mile from the trail on bare rock or snow. Kenai Fjords National Park is dominated by a glaciated landscape. A recent paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, however, estimated the Harding Icefield lost 0.72 meters in elevation per year in the 1990s, a 50 percent increase in thinning rate. Camping in the emergency shelter is not allowed. Camping: Yes, along the Harding Icefield Trail corridor, though you must be a decent ways from the trail on bare rock or snow. Harding Icefield is ~80 km long and 50 km wide, covering an area of ~1800 km2. Harding Icefield is in the Glaciers category for Kenai Peninsula County in the state of Alaska. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Harding Icefield Trail is an epic 8.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 3812 feet. Hike it on your own or take this guided tour . Although the view from the top is well worth the effort, you need not hike all the way to the top to experience the wonders of this trail.

harding icefield elevation

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