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Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Kenai Fjords National Park

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  • One gorgeous section of the park is accessible via car, but the rest can only be reached via boat tours
  • Over 30 glaciers flow from the park’s massive Harding Icefield
  • President Obama visited in 2015

When To Visit: June-August

Climate: Cool to warm temperatures in the summer, bitterly cold with tons of snow most of the year

Location: Southern Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Kenai Fjords is probably Alaska’s most underrated national park – it is easily accessible from Anchorage and has some of the most breathtaking and unique sights in the state. You can take one of the most incredible hikes in the world along a glacier to an icefield as large as your eyes can see or hop on a boat tour to explore some of the park’s many glacier-lined fjords.

Photo: Harding Icefield

What To See & Do in Kenai Fjords

Kenai Fjords Hikes

Kenai Fjords has only two maintained trails – a short walk to Exit Glacier and a strenuous but oh-so-worth-it hike to the Harding Icefield.

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Exit Glacier from Harding Icefield Trail

Harding Icefield Trail

  • 8.2 miles round trip, out & back, elevation gain 3,366 feet, 5-8 hours, strenuous
  • Park at Exit Glacier Nature Trail
  • This one-of-a-kind, life-changing hike takes you along the side of Exit Glacier, exposing you to gorgeous mountain panoramas, wildflowers, creeks, and finally the gigantic see-it-to-believe-it Harding Icefield
  • On the way up or down, take an easy 15-minute side trail to the bottom of Exit Glacier, where you can see signs showing how far it has receded in the past decades and centuries and get a wonderful panoramic view of the glacier
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Harding Icefield Trail

Kenai Fjords Boat Tours & Kayaking

The park’s Visitor Center located in Seward is the best place to get the information you need to get out on the water.

Major Marine is the park’s official boat tour company – it is recommended to reserve tours ahead of time on their website. Boat tours range from 3 hours ($80) to 8 hours ($240).

Kayaking is a memorable way to get up close and personal with the park’s fjords – due to strong currents, it is recommended to go with a guide. Half day trips are around $75, while full day trips can be closer to $400.

Where To Stay & Eat in Kenai Fjords

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Harding Icefield Trail

There are no food services or lodging in the park, but there are plenty of restaurants, grocery outlets, and hotels in the city of Seward just outside the park boundaries.

For a rustic experience, stay at the quaint and affordable Midnight Sun Log Cabins in the tiny town of Moose Pass 30 minutes north of the park.

There is one 12-site campground at Exit Glacier which is first-come, first-served.

Nearby Side Trip from Kenai Fjords

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Fireweed along the drive from Kenai Fjords to Anchorage

Anchorage: Alaska’s largest city 2 hours north is shockingly warm and colorful during summer – with bright displays of flowers, midnight sun, and epic mountain hikes within city limits. Read more.

 

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