In the south of Alaska, at the southern edge of Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai Fjords face out on the world and greet the Gulf of Alaska with frozen rivers and jagged, slate-grey cliffs. Streams of glowing remnants of the Ice Age stretch back from the granite wall of Kenai Fjords and crawl inland, joining together ice and sea. Here, at this remarkable meeting point, lies Harding Icefield, a 700-square-mile ocean of glacier nearly one-mile thick in places.
How to see the Kenai Fjords
To witness Harding Icefield, one need only travel to the quaint town of Seward, Alaska, and hop on a 9-hour excursion boat ride. Once you reach Harding, you’ll discover ice flows that serve as safe havens for seals, as well as rocky cliffs and glaciers–the resting places of herds of sea lions. Visitors of this miraculous portion of Kenai Fjords National Park will learn why the park boasts one of the largest populations of puffins on Earth, and what makes Kenai Fjords such a spectacular sanctuary for a wide array of other birds.
If you aren’t willing to take the long journey out to Harding, you can find other of Kenai Fjords’ masterpiece glaciers a little closer by at Resurrection Bay, which is only a four-hour boat ride. This stretch of water and rock is the nearest accessible fjord at Seward. And there is also Exit Glacier, which juts out of the rocks 12 miles from Seward. This famous glacier is in a constant state of receding, as it has been melting for centuries and shrinking back into the mountains. A number of trails skirt Exit Glacier and can be followed to catch glimpses of the dripping glacier from a variety of unique viewpoints.
If you’ve yet to witness a seemingly endless bed of glaciers or sunbathing sea lions up close and personal, Kenai Fjords National Park is waiting to help you check an item off your bucket list!