Kenai FjordsAlaska 

Abundant wildlife and massive glaciers in Alaska.

Kenai Fjords National Park

The National Park Service website calls it “Where Mountains, Ice, and Ocean Meet”.  At Kenai Fjords, you can enjoy the intersection of a massive icefield, towering glaciers, the icy sea and a temperate rainforest. It is the smallest national park in Alaska, protecting just over 600,000 acres. It includes Exit Glacier (a road accessible river of ice), Harding Icefield (the largest ice field entirely within US borders), and the coast and glacial waters inhabited by whales, sea otters, harbor seals and other wildlife.

Kenai Fjords National Monument was created by President Jimmy carter in December 1978 among 16 other national monuments in Alaska. In December 1980, the President signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act into law and Kenai Fjords became the seventh Alaska National Park.

Seward

The city is the gateway to Kenai Fjords and the start of the historic Iditarod Trail.  Seward has a population of approximately 2,500 with major industries of fishing and tourism.   It is the southern terminal of the Alaska Railroad and a popular destination for cruise ships.

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Wildlife Watching

Opportunities include seeing mountain goats, black bears, bald eagles and whales.

Resurrection Bay and Boating

This is a fjord on the Kenai Peninsula and is the gateway to the Kenai Fjords since most of the park is accessed by boat. Seward is located at the head of the bay and is the place to pickup a half day or full day cruise of Resurrection Bay. The half day cruises are for wildlife and whale watching, while the full day cruises are approximately 9 hours and include views of glaciers within Kenai Fjords. Boats depart daily during the summer from Seward’s small boat harbor to provide a tour of the area and the opportunity to see wildlife.  Kayaking Resurrection Bay or other areas is also possible, but an experienced guide is recommended.

Harding Icefield Trail

A 300 square mile icefield with 40 glaciers descending from it to cover an additional 800 square miles.  A spectacular 8.2 mile round trip day hike takes you there if you are in good shape.  Leave plenty of time for hiking the trail, as it climbs roughly 1,000 feet every mile to the top.  The walk offers spectacular views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier.

Exit Glacier

The only part of the park accessible by road (from May until snowfall).  The turnoff for Herman Leirer Road (aka Exit Glacier Road) is at mile 3 of Seward Highway.  The parking lot for the nature center is at mile 8.4.  From this point, short trails of 1-2 hours round trip provide close up views of Exit Glacier.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get to Kenai Fjords?

The visitor center is located in the boat harbor of Seward. Exit Glacier is accessible by road in the summer, with a nature center located at the trailhead for the area. The park is also seen by air and boat sightseeing tours. Seward can be reached by the Seward Highway, Alaska Railroad, cruise ship, or a local flight from Anchorage.

Can you drive through Kenai Fjords?

The practical answer is no – it is not possible to drive “through” the park. Exit Glacier Road allows visitors to drive into a small section of it during the summer – the Herman Leirer Road to Exit Glacier is closed during the winter.

Where is the Kenai Fjords located?

Kenai Fjords National Park is located on the southeastern side of Kenai Peninsula near Seward, about 130 miles south of Anchorage.

How was Kenai Fjords formed?

The fjords of the Kenai Peninsula were formed by the advance and retreat of the glaciers.

How many days do you need in Seward?

Seward and Kenai Fjords are best experienced over at least two days, and possibly three days if you would like to do a full day glacier tour or another guided experience such as fishing. A one day itinerary would include a trip to Exit Glacier, a half day wildlife cruise, and a walk around the city to explore.

How big is Seward Alaska?

Seward is one of the biggest areas in Alaska for tourism and commercial/recreational fishing. It is also a key port for cruise lines in Alaska, creating a number of half and full day guided excursions in the area. There are a number of other things to do, including hiking in the park and the Coastal Trail, the Seward House Museum, the Seward Community Library and Museum, drink and dine at the Seward Brewing Company, view the start of the Iditarod National Historic Trail, and more.

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