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Hard on the knees when you go down. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Harding Icefield. It is moderately inclined, but no difficult scrambling. If you give yourself enough time and have completed a few long hikes in your life, and maybe have a buddy for motivation, you should be fine :) As others have mentioned the changing landscape is amazing during this hike - definitely bring a camera, and LAYERS! The rest of us can only begin to appreciate the magnitude of this immense geographic feature by air. 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. Also, resist the urge to step on the icefield or glacier as it can be extremely dangerous. 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. 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. 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. It’s difficult rating hikes when everyone is on different levels. The Harding Icefield trailhead is on the right side of the path. Begins in the lush green forest, ascends to colorful meadow and ends in a mars like tundra. Killed my knees on the way down. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: See 190 reviews, articles, and 281 photos of Harding Ice Field Trail, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in Kenai Fjords National Park. The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. We saw a baby moose which was so beautiful. Altogether the hike to and from Harding Icefield is 8.2 miles. Skiing down the Grewingk was Sarah’s favorite part of the trip. Did this hike on Aug 16. Mostly vertical, it can be a real A** whupper, but ohhhhh, the reward is sooooo worth it. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Saw 3 black bears out today towards the last mile to the top, be careful. We hiked to the top and hit the offshoot on the way back. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Take this trail to visit the overlook to the father of over 30 beautiful glaciers in Kenai Mountains – Harding Icefield. We saw 3 black bears on the way up. Took us 6ish hrs roundtrip at a leisurely pace. 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. The scenery is incredible as you hike up the mountain and get increasingly better views of the glacier and the Kenai Mountains. you can either drive and park at Exit Glacier Car Park or take the Exit Glacier Shuttle that costs $10 return with a few different times to choose from. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. We ended up with 10.5 miles and just under 4000’ of elevation. Gorgeous hike. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Harding Icefield. Take a turn on your right to Herman Leirer Rd. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. We hit the trail head at 10am on an Oct Tue and had the whole trail to ourselves. Peer into the Pleistocene on the Harding Icefield Trail, high in the Kenai Mountains. Top of the cliff is probably a good return point if you are short of time. I was comfortable for most of the trail and it had the most beautiful views I’ve seen even not making it to the ice field. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. It climbs 5000 feet … You could, if you like “posting” which is hiking in extremely deep snow. Harding Icefield Trail is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. A definite must hike if you are in the Seward area. The trail climbs up four miles from the valley floor, ending above the tree line at the stunning lookout over the Harding Icefield. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5 I started out at 7:45am and had the trail all to myself the entire way up even going slow for all the picture taking. The whole trail takes approximately 8 hours: about four hours to hike up and about 3-4 hours to descend. Strong winds, snow and storm are not uncommon here even after the sunniest mornings! Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder … The Harding Icefield Trail is a relatively strenuous trail for the casual visitor to Alaska. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email. The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. The Harding Icefield hike starts just a bit above sea level--so hopefully that will make a huge difference. Didn’t see any cool animals, but other hikers saw bears. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. 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 magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. Here you will be able to visit the nature center, fill your empty bottles and even use flush toilets. For this reason, it’s best to treat the hike as a full-day excursion and set out in the early morning! The route is 8.2 miles long and takes six to eight hours. To reach the beginning of the Harding Icefield trail. However, we didn’t think the girls would enjoy completing the 8.2 miles round trip journey. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. We were blessed — such days are not common in this area. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. Visit Exit Glacier Nature Centre to check the weather conditions before the hike. It was a long and never-to-be-forgotten adventure! 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. Being Mid-October, we started off with beautiful falls colors going up the bottom of the mountain, and by the time we got to the top of the hike, we were walking through a couple feet of snow. 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.Hikers can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area as … The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. Want some knowledgeable company? They minded their own business and so did we. If you have time, take the offshoot at mile 2.5 to hike down to the glacier and get a feel for how amazing it is. This 500-square-mile frozen mass feeds almost three dozen glaciers, including Exit. The views are beautiful. Harding Icefield Trail Details: We started out with the kids and hiked the short trail up to the Glacier lookout. I write this for the other scaredy-cats like me out there, the trail is worth it! The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. Bring tons of water and snacks. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of … Easily one of the best hikes we've ever done and could probably list it in the top 10 day hikes in the US. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. Pretty cold and breezy at the top as well so layers are definitely needed. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. 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. Enjoy a rigorous hike in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Three different climates to pass through and insane views all over the place. Hike to Harding ice field in a nutshell starts on the valley floor, passes through dense forest growth, into the meadows and ultimately climbs above the tree line, though the gravel and snow to give a breath taking view of horizon of blue ice from the Ice Age, that is visible as far as the eye can see. This was definitely the right decision for our family. Hiking Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords Alaska You really can’t lose when choosing which hikes to do in Alaska, the state is so full of beauty that you will be starry eyed while taking out your trash in the morning. That is just a little over 1000ft per mile, making the trail very steep and suitable only for hikers in good condition. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. Go towards Exit Glacier for around 0.5km until you find the Harding Icefield Trailhead on your right. The construction of the Spruce Creek trail that year, however, made it possible to view the upper portions of the icecap, and … Such a fun and beautiful trail. The hike up to the Harding Icefield is a strenuous, 7.7 mile roundtrip, hike that gains 3000 feet. The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. How to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail Getting to the Harding Icefield Trail To reach the beginning of the Harding Icefield trail. Harding Ice Field Trail: Harding Icefield Hike - See 190 traveler reviews, 281 candid photos, and great deals for Kenai Fjords National Park, AK, at Tripadvisor. This 8.2 mile round trip hike is strenuous, but the breathtaking view of the icefield, is well worth the effort. I would love to go back, maybe even in winter for a snowshoe hike. The adventurous Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike near Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. 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