Massive Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords thinning in warmer weather . 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. Flightseeing is a great way to view the expansive Harding Icefield (map) on the southeastern side of the Kenai Peninsula, a part of Kenai Fjords National Park. Weather reports predicted an absolutely cloudless, picture-perfect afternoon so we immediately reserved a spot for later that day. Aialik Glacier). Exit Glacier), and some being tidewater (e.g. The Harding Icefield collects more than 400 inches of new snow each winter to replenish what evaporation and the glaciers take away. It is said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and we tend to set the bar for new adventures here in town. Sign in Sign up for FREE Black Friday Sale: 50% OFF Save Money by Booking a Package! Black Friday Sale: 50% OFF . We got to see a section of ice break from the wall and crash into the sea, although we’d get much closer looks later when we returned to Aialik by boat. One can guess with fair certainty if a body of water can be traced back to a glacier as its source. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area. Options abound too, including wheeled aircraft or floatplanes, or even helicopters, and from very short to hours-long flights. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. 4 stars. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. If you include its 40 glaciers the number increase to 1100 square miles / 2849 square kms. 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. Skilak Glacier), some ending on land (e.g. Hiker at the end of the Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Along the way, enjoy wildlife, wildflowers, and waterfalls. Exit Glacier), and some being tidewater (e.g. Indeed, much of it is … We arrived at the Harding Icefield Trail just north of Seward, Alaska mid-morning on the 4th of July. 5.0. The crushing weight of hundreds and even thousands of feet of ice pulverizes solid mountain rock into a fine powder called rock flour or glacial flour. Those are called nunatak and are the elevated places too high and too steep for the ice to envelop it in a blanket of white. Liquid Adventures has blazed its own path in the kayaking industry by building our own water taxis, pioneering new trips in new locations, and re-investing heavily in our equipment and guide training. 0. The Harding Icefield shares these mountains with another icefield, the Sargent that borders on Prince William Sound. The icefield is approxi-mately 80 km long (northeast-southwest) and 50 km wide with a total area of 1800 km2. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to … Tours operate from all of the major towns in the vicinity including Seward, Homer and Soldotna. Covering approximately 700 square miles, and at a maximum depth of roughly 4000ft, the Harding Icefield is the largest ice field entirely within the United States. It was a small plane with room for a pilot and four passengers. 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. It has everything; amazing scenery and wildlife. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. 0. This 500-square-mile frozen mass feeds almost three dozen glaciers, including Exit. The wildlife on this trail includes plenty of marmots, but there is a very good chance you will see bears and mountain goats as well. The timing couldn’t have been better. That’s a point to remember. We hit a few bumps caused by the temperature gradients over the ice but nothing too turbulent. Exit Glacier is massive, but when you reach the end of the Harding Icefield trail and look out across an endless frozen expanse of ice that is approximately 700 square miles and over a thousand feet thick in some places, Exit Glacier is dwarfed in comparison. The summit of Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords National Park, where the Glacier begin. Read more. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. The Kenai Mountains stretch a good 120 miles in total, down the length of the eastern side of the peninsula, from the Chugach Mountains to the peninsular tip. It is roughly a 3,000 to 4,000 foot mountainous plateau trending northeast and southwest that is covered with a layer of 1,000 feet of ice from thousands of years of snowfall of several hundred inches per year. Harding Icefield is ~80 km long and 50 km wide, covering an area of ~1800 km2. This immense icefield is named after Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States who served during the early 1920’s. 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. Minimum Age: 15, Price is per person and does not include the 7% city sales tax. If that is not enough I have pulled some stats from Wiki: Harding Icefield is the largest icefield contained entirely within the United States with its 300 square miles / 777 square kms. We were excited about what our day would bring. 5 stars. Covering approximately 700 square miles, and at a maximum depth of roughly 4000ft,  the Harding Icefield is the largest ice field entirely within the United States. Harding Icefield Sunrise I first hiked the Harding Icefield Trail in 2013 when I wasn’t as strong of a hiker or photographer. See every Twelve Mile Circle article on a map! People do hike up to the icefield, and a few adventures ones even continue across. Harding Icefield Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. What is the maximum group size during Harding Icefield Hiking Adventure? It’s a natural lake that’s been increased in size dramatically with a dam, and provides a source of hydroelectric power. The Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers cover 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice. This trip has a maximum group size of 8 participants but is often much smaller. 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. We passed many such examples both during our flight and during our several days of driving, walking and hiking through various parts of the Kenai. Over 30 glaciers of different size and type flow from the Harding Icefield, with some terminating in lakes (e.g. It feels like real flying in something that small, with everyone getting window seats with amazing views. It doesn’t produce the drama of icebergs calving as one experiences with tidal glaciers, but it does create an abundance of lakes, rivers and braided streams because the water has to drain somewhere. Your email address will not be published. Of all the wonderful hiking trails in the Seward area, the Harding Icefield trail is my favorite. Required fields are marked *. I've climbed in big mountains before but the size of this ice field is something else. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. Skilak Glacier), some ending on land (e.g. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Indeed, much of it is more than a mile thick. 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. The airplane flew to the edge of the icefield then steeply descended above the glacier, circling back around almost like a carnival ride. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. It is not an easy walk in terms of elevation gain but anyone with moderate level of fitness can do it. [1] They are often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation for them to form. Harding Icefield Glacier Ski Plane Adventure, Alaska Camping Trip In the Unlikely Glacier Valley, MOUNTAINEERING AND PRISTINE SUMMITS COURSE - 3 DAY, Total Length: 8.2 Miles RT 3000 ft Elevation Gain. Looks are deceiving up here. Take dramamine before departure if you’re subject to air or seasickness. I was fine. The icefield spawns more than 38 glaciers some of which are tidewater, some of which terminate in lakes, and others terminate on land. 3 stars. (5253 x 3502 pix.) We could have descended more slowly but what would the fun have been in that? Last September I carried a big backpack full of gear up the trail and camped overnight at the top to catch the early morning light over the Harding Icefield and Exit Glacier. This trip runs as soon as the snow safely melts (usually late June) to September 9th. Exploring the Mitten, Part 5 (Keeping Stock). The little island in the foreground is Squab Island. The meltwater carries this powder away, giving rivers and lakes a characteristic cloudy appearance in shades of blue, green or gray. In the spring of 2016 Exit Glacier Guides will be offering two expeditions onto the Harding Icefield for one week each. Water melts and flows from valley glaciers. Your email address will not be published. [6] The Harding Icefield is located on the Kenai Peninsula, south-central Alaska and is one of the larger icefields found there (Figure 1). Our Sister Company Liquid Adventures Runs the most Innovative and Spectacular Kayaking trips in Seward. 1 star. We got to see the icefield on a sunny spectacular day, and the sight was unforgettable. See all safety measures taken by Harding Icefield Hiking Adventure. See the Harding Icefield The jewel of Kenai Fjords National Park is the magnificent Harding Icefield. These are mountains with valleys, just as found elsewhere in the Kenai, except the valleys have filled completely with several thousand feet of solid ice build up through millennia. • Explore the history of how this massive frozen river shaped the landscape, • We often see large fauna like bears and goats on this hike, • Know yourself! Image Size 3000x2001 / 2.5MB Exit Glacier Seward Alaska Travel Destination Vacation Explore Cruise Cruise Ship Kenai Fjord Kenai National Park National Park Ice Glacier Harding Icefield Hikers Hike No need to register, buy now! 0. Head to Harding Icefield for views of surrounding peaks and fjords. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree … The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to Harding Icefield. Our flight path took us south towards Seward, cutting west over the icefield and then down south to Aialik Bay, then following further along the various Kenai Fjords, before looping back across the entire length of the icefield, and finally over deep valleys and glacier-fed lakes to the floatplane dock. Looking over a corner of the ice field is a humbling experience, one that leaves behind a sense of magnitude and awe that stays with visitors for a long time after they leave Alaska. 0. to see how you can save money on multiple adventures. Check out this page to see how you can save money on multiple adventures. We are open and currently running trips with COVID precautions in place. Our current policies are listed here. We wanted to do this sometime during our trip but we hadn’t made any definite plans. Over 30 glaciers of different size and type flow from the Harding Icefield, with some terminating in lakes (e.g. A: This activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers. Reviews. File:NPS kenai-fjords-harding-icefield-trail-map.jpg Metadata This file contains additional information such as Exif metadata which may have been added by the digital camera, scanner, or software program used to create or digitize it. Liquid Adventures has an excellent reputation running small-group, boutique kayaking trips out of Seward. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. 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 … 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. The ice is so thick that it extends up to 6,000 feet of elevation. Harding Icefield, named for former U.S. President Warren Harding, is located in the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. We will camp, ski tour, climb nunataks and explore the icefield over six days with full guide support. Liquid Adventures has blazed its own path in the kayaking industry by building our own water taxis, pioneering new trips in new locations, and re-investing heavily in our equipment and guide training. It accumulates high enough to cover much of a mountain range except for the occasional peaks that form nunatak. Notice even from this distance that glaciers continued to pour from the icefield into the lush, green valleys below. Liquid Adventures has an excellent reputation running small-group, boutique kayaking trips out of Seward. 2 stars. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5. He became the first president to visit Alaska though, so that was enough of a reason to name the icefield in his honor. It looks so gentle and lightly sloping with a few granite outcrops poking above the surface. The Harding Icefield is over 700 square miles (1813 km ) in its entirety (although, if one were to count its glaciers which descend from the icefield in all directions, the icefield measures in at over 1,100 square miles (2,849 km ) The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Close Reserve Now & Pay Later. As the name implies, a tidal glacier is one that terminates at a body of water that is subject to the tides, and is capable of spawning icebergs. The Harding Icefield has been melting since the Wisconsin Ice Age, known locally as the Naptowne Glaciation. Many different types of glaciers descend from the field including alpine glaciers, hanging glaciers, and as with the example pictured above, tidal glaciers. It’s a bit of a shame that something so beautiful was named for one of the worst, scandal-plagued presidents in American history, an Administration beset by corruption. From this massive 700-square-mile icefield, countless tidewater glaciers pour down, carving fjords and icebergs. Find premium, high-resolution stock photography at Getty Images. I’m sure that’s part of the show. The scenic mountains continued to dazzle as we flew further away from the Harding Icefield. We are able to safely run the majority of our trips and have been enjoying the glaciers this season since mid-May! The day started cloudy and overcast but the sun began to peak through by mid-morning. We ascend 3000ft on the trail to get to the full views of the icefield. One of the other passengers, however, spent most of his time with his face in an airsickness bag. Nowhere to go a sunny spectacular day, and a few adventures ones even continue across some the. 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