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Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park

I recently took the family to Seward [1] for the weekend. One activity that was on our list to do was to visit Exit Glacier which, outside of taking a day cruise to Kenai Fjords, is the most accessible feature of Kenai Fjords National Park [2]. Exit Glacier is part of the Harding Ice-field which covers half of the National Park. From Seward we took a short 15 minutes drive up the Resurrection Valley along Hermain Leirer Road which follows the Resurrection River. The drive itself, which goes past the Seward Windsong Lodge made it worth while.Upon arrival we first visited the Exit Glacier Nature Center. The Nature Center provides great information on the various walks and more adventurous hikes available to further explore Exit Glacier along with the geological history of the Resurrection Valley and Exit Glacier. Rangers who staff the Nature Center also provide ranger-led hikes of the area at various times throughout the day, along with updates on glacier activity, weather. During the day that we were there, there were regular black bear sightings and the Rangers track and report these sightings so that visitors can be aware of their being in the area.

My kids, ages 7 and 9, were quite excited about the opportunity to get up close to the Glacier so we chose to take the short .5 mile hike up to the Glacier. Once we realized how easy of hike it was, we spent a lot more time exploring the foot of the glacier, and walked down to the head of the Resurrection River where the kids took off the shoes, played in the sand, searched for rocks, and even had the opportunity to grab floating chunks of glacial ice out of the Resurrection River.

The trails between the Nature Center and Exit Glacier were all easily accessible for all ages of visitors, and the Nature Trail which provides a short loop down to the Exit River and views of the Glacier appeared to be fully accessible by wheel chair. A longer hike of about 4 miles each way could be taken by hardy hikers up the Harding Ice-field Trail for the more adventurous hikers, or those without young kids.

Although not a substitution for going on a Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise [3] which I consider a must do for any first time visit to Seward, the visit to Exit Glacier ended up being one of the highlights of our visit to Seward. If you have a car, it’s easily done on your own but there is also the Exit Glacier Tour [4] which departs from the Seward Windsong Lodge which is a great value and option for those who travel to Seward by train or the Park Connection Motorcoach.