All-Day Hike: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! ... You gain about 2,800 feet in elevation on the way up, so it was a nice change of pace to hike downhill once we hit the summit. Hikers gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of elevation … Pretty cold and breezy at the top as well so layers are definitely needed. Be prepared for storms, high winds, intense sunlight, and sudden temperature changes. Harding Icefield Trail – The Arrival. The trailhead at the valley floor where the Exit Glacier terminates is a forest of cottonwood and alder. Would have loved to see a bear but maybe next time. Probably ranks as my favorite hike so far! Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Check on trail conditions before starting out - the upper portion of the trail is often covered with snow through early July, and there may be avalanche danger. Check. Along the way, enjoy wildlife, wildflowers, and waterfalls. Hikers gain approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2 mile round trip trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside of Seward, Alaska. Harding Ice Field Trail: Harding Ice field trail - See 190 traveler reviews, 281 candid photos, and great deals for Kenai Fjords National Park, AK, at Tripadvisor. 3000 feet or 914 metres. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. We hiked to the top and hit the offshoot on the way back. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. The trail ascends steeply over the 4.1 miles, gaining around 3500' of elevation. Stops along the way at Marmot Meadows (1.4 miles) and Top of the Cliff (2.4 miles) provide scenic vistas to take a break during your journey or turn around for a shorter hike. 1 Reviews of Harding Ice Field Trail "About 9 miles RT from the parking lot, and about 3000' elevation gain. I was comfortable for most of the trail and it had the most beautiful views I’ve seen even not making it to the ice field. Stay with us while exploring Seward After a day of hiking in the alpine tundra, stay with us at one of 3 conveniently located downtown Seward hotels. The Harding Icefield at the top is the real treat, with scenic views over same ice that covered much of Alaska 23,000 years ago in the Pleistocene Epoch, although the trail offers more awe-inspiring experiences along the way. Hikes Oct 16th. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. Be prepared! We were initially a little intimidated by these numbers, but the trail sounded too amazing not to try. The Harding Icefield Trail is 8.2 miles roundtrip and gains 3,800 feet in elevation – that’s a rate of about 1,000 feet per mile! Glaciers And Glory: The Harding Icefield Trail. 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 Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly a wonder to behold! The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. We did the Harding Icefield Hike at the end of August and were constantly wowed by the beauty and stunning views. Very beautiful, a must do if it fits your activity level. Quick Facts. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Travelers gain nearly 1,000 feet of elevation with each mile, putting this day hike firmly into the “strenuous” category. If you’re in decent shape you’ll be able to finish the hike. Anyone who is interested in visiting Harding Icefield can print the free topographic map and street map using the link above. Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information. Killed my knees on the way down. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Look back in time, when viewing the expanse of the Harding Icefield. I had heard of the Harding Icefield and even drove by the trailhead on previous trips to the Kenai Peninsula and always wondered what an icefield is like. We arrived at the Harding Icefield Trail just north of Seward, Alaska mid-morning on the 4th of July. Location: 60 ° 11' 5.194" N, 149 ° 38' 14.172" W Region: Kenai Peninsula Nearest City: Seward Uses: Hiking Length: 4.1 mi (6.6 km) Elevation: 408 ft (124.36 m) Low: 408 ft (124.36 m) High: 3480 ft (1060.7 m) Elevation Gain: 3215 ft (979.93 m) Elevation Loss: 153 ft (46.63 m) 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. Elevation Gain of the Harding Icefield Trail. Saw 3 black bears out today towards the last mile to the top, be careful. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. Exit Glacier – choice of trails up to 1 mile long; … We saw 3 black bears on the way up. As an out and back trail, hike as far as you would like. Hiking Tip. Peer into the Pleistocene on the Harding Icefield Trail, high in the Kenai Mountains. Avalanche hazards can exist in late spring and early summer as well. The hike to view the Harding Icefield is about 4 miles (oneway) with 3,500 feet elevation gain. Though pets are prohibited on this trail, service animals are able to accompany visitors. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. The strenuous 7.7-mile roundtrip Harding Icefield Trail starts on the valley floor and climbs through alder and cottonwood forest, and wildflower meadows before reaching the stark landscape of the icefield gaining approximately 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous, with around 3000 feet of elevation gain. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/harding-ice-field-trail The trail gains about 1000' of elevation… Volunteers help restore and maintain this trail every year. The forest slowly opens up as the trail steepens and you start some long switchbacks. I write this for the other scaredy-cats like me out there, the trail is worth it! The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. Took us just under 5 hours bottom to top with a short lunch stop at the shelter. Definitely would recommend this one. Lush trees, bears, and vast icefields of Exit Glacier. I had heard of the Harding Icefield and even drove by the trailhead on previous trips to the Kenai Peninsula and always wondered what an icefield is like. Harding Icefield is displayed on the Seward A-8 USGS quad topo map. Get up close and personal with Alaska's famous glaciers by trekking along the Harding Icefield Trail. NPS Photo / F. North. Please do not pass this one up. The first quarter-mile (0.4 km) is through dense cottonwood and alder passing a few small cascades. OVERVIEW: The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2-mile, 5-hour hike round trip with a 3,150-foot elevation gain.Hiking conditions are best from June to September. Keep your eyes open! It felt like going through two different worlds in one afternoon. We had decent boots with no covers and our feet stayed dry. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. Length of the Harding Icefield Trail. Camping: Yes, along the Harding Icefield Trail corridor, though you must be a decent ways from the trail on bare rock or snow. Alpine vegetation is extremely fragile. Stay on the trail. The views are beautiful. We were excited about what our day would bring. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb. Good shorter options with scenic views are Marmot Meadows (1.4 mi one way) or Top of the Cliffs (2.4 mi one way). John and Katie’s Alaska RV Trip 2017: On Top of the World via the Harding Icefield Trail. From the very beginning, this trail climbs upward, starting with switchbacks through the forest. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. They minded their own business and so did we. It’s not technical and very safe. Trailhead: Exit Glacier Nature Center. Harding Ice Field Trail is a 13.2 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Kenai Fjords National Park - Harding Icefield Trail: Summary: Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield: Type: Day Hike - Out and Back: Distance (Total) 7.4 miles / 11.9 km: Elevation Gain The trailhead is located near the nature center. 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. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. The ice field was incredible (and freezing) make sure you bring gloves and a warm hat. 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. 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. Kenai Fjords National Park - Harding Icefield Trail: Summary: Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield: Type: Day Hike - Out and Back: Distance (Total) 7.4 miles / 11.9 km: Elevation Gain Didn’t see any cool animals, but other hikers saw bears. Tag: Harding Icefield Trail elevation gain. The hike to view the Harding Icefield is about 4 miles (oneway) with 3,500 feet elevation gain. Between the mid-1920s and the early 1930s, the increasing popularity of aviation had given a lucky few the opportunity to soar over the icefield. The view is sooo awesome and 100% worth it! Loose trail is hard on the knees but the view from the top is amazing! I did know when I didn’t make it to the ice field because of some sketchy (to me) last steep exposed waterfall sections that were too narrow for my comfort level. Gorgeous hike. The eight mile (round-trip) trail begins by following Exit Glacier, but then climbs steeply and eventually ends overlooking the massive Harding Icefield, the largest icefield entirely within the US, which feeds Exit Glacier and about 40 other glaciers. Easily one of the best hikes we've ever done and could probably list it in the top 10 day hikes in the US. Starting on the valley floor, this 8.2-mile roundtrip trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, through heather-filled meadows and ultimately climbs above the treeline to an astonishing view of the Icefield. Being Mid-October, we started off with beautiful falls colors going up the bottom of the mountain, and by the time we got to the top of the hike, we were walking through a couple feet of snow. Went all the way down to stand on the icefield. John and Katie’s Alaska RV Trip 2017: On Top of the World via the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. How to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail. View from the end of the Harding Icefield Trail. 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. Let someone know your plans. 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. There are Ranger led Harding Icefield hikes from 9am on Saturdays in July to August. The construction of the Spruce Creek trail that year, however, made it possible to view the upper portions of the icecap, and President Harding's promise to visit the territory was sufficient to bestow his name on the feature. Dress in layers- very cold at the top if you go to the glacier. Bring warm clothes, rain gear, sturdy footwear, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The edges of the Exit Glacier are skirted while hiking the trail, and keen ears can listen to the cracking ice. Overview Hike the 7.4 mile Harding Icefield Trail, up along side Exit Glacier to the place that glaciers are born in 700 square mile of ice called Harding Ice Field. For those looking for an easier outing, the Exit Glacier can be viewed from an accessible trail that is about one mile in length. Such a fun and beautiful trail. Watch for wildlife throughout your hike, as bears, mountain goats, hoary marmots, and others, have all been seen from the trail. Length of the Harding Icefield Trail. Also saw two black bears, very non-aggressive, on the trail! Happy hiking. Harding Icefield Trail is an epic 8.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 3812 feet. Le sentier longe une cascade et sa difficulté est évaluée comme difficile. Harding Icefield Trail is an epic 8.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 3812 feet. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. Combine that with the easy accessibility from the town of Seward, and it was a no-brainer. The trail is strenuous! Took us 6ish hrs roundtrip at a leisurely pace. The Harding Icefield at the top is the real treat, with scenic views over same ice that covered much of Alaska 23,000 years ago in the Pleistocene Epoch, although the trail offers more awe-inspiring experiences along the way. Three different climates to pass through and insane views all over the place. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5. Follow the trail to its terminus at a vista of the icefield, just past the emergency use shelter. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. The Harding Icefield hike is a must-do hike in Kenai Mountains. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. The ice field itself looks like something from another planet. I am an avid climber. We ended up with 10.5 miles and just under 4000’ of elevation. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of elevation … NPS Photo / F. North. Bring tons of water and snacks. HARDING ICEFIELD EXIT GLACIER Marmot Meadows mile 1.4 1558 ft elevation OUTWASH PLAIN Top of the Cliffs mile 2.4 2475 ft elevation Bridge mile 0.8 PREPARE FOR THE TRAIL This hike can be a fun adventure, if you’re prepared. Begins in the lush green forest, ascends to colorful meadow and ends in a mars like tundra. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles. Allow at least 6-8 hours for the hike. How to Hike the Harding Icefield Trail. Edge of the Glacier, a partially-unpaved trail that, as the name suggests, takes you to fairly close to the edge of the glacier, near the lower end; Harding Icefield Trail, an 8.2 mile round-trip with a significant elevation gain, that provides views of Exit Glacier and eventually the Harding Icefield; I … The other big thing we wanted to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, besides glacier kayaking, was hiking the famous Harding Icefield Trail.. The trail however is not all about ice. We had some difficulty navigating the trail under the snow as the orange flag trail markers seemed to have been covered for the most part. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Tag: Harding Icefield Trail elevation gain. chachaSH/Tripadvisor. Very excited! In about 1000 ft elevation the forest disappears to allow a hike that overlooks the Harding Icefield. Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield, Seward - Good to Know. Dense clouds hung low, and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. First, I didn’t know this trail was rated difficult when we were on 99% of the trail! Elevation: 3,800 feet gain ; Distance: 8.2 miles (roundtrip) Glacier overlook, where the kids hiked too, before heading back with their Grandparents Harding Icefield Trail Details: We started out with the kids and hiked the short trail up to the Glacier lookout. The Harding Icefield trail is worth the climb alongside Exit Glacier as it is pretty intensive... 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