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5 Reasons to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail

a large mountain in the background

5 reasons Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail is the best choice Beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward offers something for everyone. From boat rides on the sea where you can witness marine wildlife to hikes that bring you as close as you can to a glacier, there is a wide variety of experiences to have in this incredible place! If you are up for the adventure, a hike up to the Harding Icefield Trail is definitely worth the effort. Walking up to see an immense icefield before you is an unforgettable memory that will last a lifetime.

While adventuring in Kenai Fjords National Park or exploring the picturesque town of Seward, be sure to stay with us! Seward Hospitality Group owns and operates 3 conveniently located hotels in downtown Seward as well as an RV park just outside of town. Wondering where to eat before or after a hike? We make it easy for you as we also operate 6 restaurants in Seward. For the ultimate Alaskan getaway, book your stay with us today!

5 reasons hiking the Harding Icefield Trail is the best choiceReasons to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail

Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward is a wonderland of ice, glaciers, and ocean. This magical spot brings you face to face with a quintessentially Alaskan experience. If you are prepared and willing, a hike up the Harding Icefield Trail will give you a spectacular reward! Using the power of your own body to get to this alpine Eden is an experience that you’ll carry with you for many years to come.

Come prepared to hike the Harding Icefield Trail with layers, water, and trekking poles. This 8.2-mile roundtrip hike is sure to not disappoint if you are ready mentally and physically. There are unlimited ways of why hiking here is worth your time, but here are our 5 favorite reasons to hike the Harding Icefield Trail.

  1. While doing the entire hike of 8.2-miles up to the icefield is sure to be unforgettable, even a shorter hike affords amazing views of the valley below and Exit Glacier’s terminus. There are ample opportunities for breaks on the way up as well either to rest or to enjoy the view and have a snack. Stop at Marmot meadows at 1.4 miles and then  Top of the Cliff at 2.4 miles up.
  2. Speaking of views, a good portion of Harding Icefield Trail is above treeline so jaw-dropping vistas abound. Look over one side of the trail to see the neon blue crevasses and moraines of Exit Glacier and on the other side, an alpine wilderness blanketed with wildflowers.
  3. The tundra ecosystem is prime habitat for wildlife such as bears, mountain goats,  hoary marmots, and moose. Don’t forget to bring your camera as you are sure to see these inhabitants especially during the summer months. You may want to attend a ranger-led hike up the Harding Icefield Trail for both safety and knowledge of the area. Tours leave from the Nature Center every Saturday in July and August.
  4. Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail you’ll be transported to another time. The icefield is a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses that once covered half of Alaska. Today the 700 square feet of ice and snow is dotted with glacial islands of exposed parts of mountains known as “nunataks”. Looking out amongst this landscape gives a glimpse of what once was and how glaciers shape and carve the earth.
  5. You’ll get a view of the past and more importantly, seeing the Harding Icefield Trail will give you a strong sense of what’s to come. The Harding Icefield is one of 4 major ice caps in the United States. This area has long been studied for the effects that climate change has on glaciers. This is one of the best places to get a visual of how quickly these effects can take place. 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.
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