As noted above, Yule Kilcher, Dave Johnston, Vin Hoeman, and Grace Hoeman were veterans of previous attempts; of the ten, only four–Bill Babcock, Dave Johnston, Yule Kilcher, and Vin Hoeman–hiked all the way across the icefield. The ice is so thick that it extends up to 6,000 feet of elevation. 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 magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. Early in the season, about half of the trail is covered in snow, but hikers with boots will have little problem walking through it. Photo by Emily Stone. DIRECTIONS: Kenai Fjords National Park is about a three-hour drive, south of Anchorage, Alaska. Harding Icefield is displayed on the Seward A-8 USGS quad topo map. 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. If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to Harding Icefield. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder … Feature Type: Glacier. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. The Harding Icefield collects more than 400 inches of new snow each winter to replenish what evaporation and the glaciers take away. Hiking back over the moraine. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. Answer 1 of 4: I understand that hiking out to the Harding Icefield is one of the best day hikes in Alaska. The park's glaciers have retreated through the twentieth century, … 3000 feet or 914 metres. Copyright © Locality, LLC | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | About. Although the view from the top is well worth the effort, you need not hike all the way to the top to experience the wonders of this trail. The latitude and longitude coordinates of Harding Icefield are 60.0180556, -149.9861111 and the approximate elevation is 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) above sea level. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Allow at least 6-8 hours for the hike. Can someone who has done it estimate the time it takes ? I read online that the Harding Icefield Trail is the most beautiful trail in the National Park system, and it very well may be. Indeed, much of it is more than a mile thick. Up there, just out of sight, sprawled the Harding Icefield. The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2 mile round trip trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside of Seward, Alaska. At only 4 miles to the end of the trail, hikers might assume that it is an easy hike; it’s not. A short hike up the trail affords impressive views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier's terminus. Alaskan pilot, Bill Quirk tells me, “Make a visit to Alaska to enjoy the best in ski flying operations. View over Harding Icefield from end of trail. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. Harding Icefield Trail A hike to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail gives you a glimpse of what much of south-central Alaska looked like during the last ice age. I’d learned to identify those same flowers weeks ago at a lower elevation. Coordinates: 60.0180556°N, -149.9861111°W Throughout the … Harding Icefield between Bear and Skilak Glaciers, Nunatak Plateau in background, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Alaska Science Forum: "Harding Icefield's Loss is the Ocean's Gain." The Harding Icefield is over 700 square miles (1813 km2) 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 km2) [1] The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Harding Icefield Trail is an epic 8.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 3812 feet. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Ian Malone. Went all the way down to … This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. View from the end of the Harding Icefield Trail. Airborne surface elevation profiles of the Harding Ice field, south-central Alaska, were made in 1991 and 1996. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of elevation in only 4 miles. Hike it on your own or Leaves from the Exit Glacier parking lot. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Cresting the final ridge of bedrock and loose debris, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The park is bordered on the west by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and on the south by Kachemak Bay State Park. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. Elevation: 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) Seward Harding Icefield Hike Tour. Not surprisingly, this accelerating ice melt is due to rapidly … There is a day parking area and a small nature center. Hiking conditions are best from June to September. Expedition members included Bill Babcock, Eric Barnes, Bill Fox, Dave Johnston, Yule Kilcher and his son Otto, Dave Spencer, Helmut Tschaffert, and Vin and Grace (Jansen) Hoeman. You'll gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile so be sure to allow at least 6-8 hours for this trip. They are accessed from the Herman Leirer Road (also called Exit Glacier Road) off of the Seward Highway about four miles north of town. The trail ascends steeply over the 4.1 miles, gaining around 3500' of elevation. If you have visited Harding Icefield … A recent paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, however, estimated the Harding Icefield lost 0.72 meters in elevation per year in the 1990s, a 50 percent increase in thinning rate. Hiking. The area generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate, primarily due to the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska. We did the Harding Icefield Hike at the end of August and were constantly wowed by the beauty and stunning views.

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