Share Facebook 224 Twitter 124 google+ 2 pintrest 2. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. Princess Lodges (800) 426-0500. Kenai Fjords National Park, rugged wilderness area in southern Alaska, U.S., on the southern coast of Kenai Peninsula just west and southwest of Seward. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. According to the Park Service, it's 50 miles wide at its largest point (that would take two back-to-back marathons to cross it). Read up on bear safety and you should be fine. Begin on Harding Icefield Trail near visitor center. Ten people were involved in the crossing, which went from Chernof Glacier east to Exit Glacier. Known for: The park is home to the Harding Icefield, the largest icefield entirely within the U.S. that dates back to the ice-ages. For physically fit hikers, a strenuous four-mile trail parallels the glacier’s north edge on a 3,000-foot ascent to the ice field, offering spectacular views of the glacier and surrounding mountains along the way. The expedition left Homer on April 17, bound for Chernof Glacier; eight days later, they descended Exit Glacier and arrived in Seward. In 1963, a party consisting of Don Stockard, Tom Johnson, and Carl Blomgren tried a westbound crossing. Two parties attempted to cross the icefield in the mid-1960s. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. Disclaimer – This blog post is not sponsored, though it does contain some affiliate links. The crown jewel of this Alaskan park is the 735-square-mile Harding Icefield. HistoryThe name was published in 1950 by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); presumably named for Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1865-1923, 28th President of the United States. It’s a bit of a shame that something so beautiful was named for one of the worst, scandal-plagued presidents in American history, … Kenai Fjords National Park: Harding Icefield Trail. About The 8.2-mile out-and-back run along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. I don't think pepper spray is necessary but if you feel safer it wouldn't hurt and also some wear bells. Harding Icefield Trail – The Arrival. 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." Their trip remained a virtual secret for more than twenty years after they completed it. Geography. Created more than 23,000 years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch, the Harding Icefield was a small piece of the vast ice sheet that covered much of Southcentral Alaska (Figure 1). 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.Runners can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area … https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/harding-ice-field-trail The Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers cover 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … … This 8.2 mile round trip hike takes you through alder forests, fields of fireweed, and alpine terrain, finishing at the top of the Harding Icefield; the second largest icefield in North America, where it's all blue ice as far as the eye can see. Let us know how you think this page on Harding Icefield could be improved, what questions were left unanswered. After securing a homestead, he returned to Seward, and in late July he hiked up the Lowell Creek drainage toward the icefield. KenaiFjordsNationalPark.com: "Sights To See." The Harding Ice Field trail is 4 miles one way, average 8 hours rt. Posted in: Alaska Activities, Alaska National Parks, McKinley Princess. Attacks are rare. Retrieved December 14, 2006. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty 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. More than half of Kenai Fjords is obscured by it, and glaciers are one of Alaska’s coolest natural attractions. The park includes the Alaska Guide Co. is based in Valdez, Alaska and seeks to educate people on Alaska through adventure tours and online informational resources. The Harding Icefield is a vestige of the massive ice sheet that covered much of Alaska in the Pleistocene era. No crampons or ice axes are needed during the summer hiking months. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder and cottonwood forest as well as heather-filled meadows. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb. Harding Icefield a glacier in Alaska. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. 3. 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. HARDING ICE FIELD TRAIL Distance: 13.2km Duration: 6-7 hours Difficulty: Hard More info. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of … Other articles where Harding Icefield is discussed: Alaskan mountains: Physiography of the southern ranges: …resulting in the Sargent and Harding ice fields in the Kenai Mountains (on the Kenai Peninsula) and the Bagley Ice Field in the eastern Chugach Mountains. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. There are black and brown bears and also moose and goats which most consider a treat to see. Conditions on the icefield overwhelmed him however, and a week later he was back in Seward. 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 as … About The feature extends SW from Lowell and Bear Glaciers to Chernof Glacier, in Kenai Mts., 18 mi. Both attempts were unsuccessful. They are often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation for them to form. In 1983 Roman Dial and Jim Lokken skied from the edge of the Skilak Glacier to the Tustumena Glacier edge in a single day and in 1984 Dial skied from the Skilak to the Chernof solo in one day as part of the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic. 30 miles long. 2. Three years later, J. Vin Hoeman, Dave Johnston, and Dr. Grace Jansen made an eastbound attempt. Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. The Harding Icefield is over 300 square miles (777 km 2) 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 km 2) The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. W of Seward, Chugach Mts. Proclaimed a national monument in 1978, it became a national park in 1980. Harding Icefield, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The Harding Icefield located in Kenai Fjords National Park is the largest icefield contained entirely within the United States, 300 square miles and if you included the glaciers which descends from the icefield it would be over 1,100 square miles. Distance: 6.6; Waypoints. He was headed for Kachemak Bay, where he intended to take up residence, but was so intrigued by the icefield he had seen from the steamship that he vowed to cross it before long. In the spring of 1968, the first documented mountaineering party succeeded in crossing the icefield. This work is an alphabetical list of the geographic names with descriptions and often name origin that are now applied and have been applied to places and features in Alaska. Attilio Pregnolato/Shutterstock The expansive Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska. Even if you do not hike the entire length of the trail, simply experiencing part of it allows for stunning views of the valley and Exit Glacier. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. The Harding Icefield is one of the biggest reasons people visit Kenai Fjords National Park, but keep reading to find out all the best things to do in the park, where to stay, when to visit, where to take photos, and more! This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. HGL001. There are upwards of three dozen named glaciers in the national park—all of which originate from the colossal 700 square-mile Harding Icefield. GNIS Library. Washington, DC: GPO, 1967.  The icefield itself receives over 400 inches of snow each year.. About 1940, two Kenai Peninsula residents, Eugene "Coho" Smith and Don Rising, apparently were successful in their attempt to cross the icefield. Hike to views of glaciers & expansive icefields, including the Harding Icefield and Exit Glacier. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Up to this point, however, people had walked only on the icefield's margins. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly a wonder to behold! Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. submitted by Sabrina Linsalato, Payroll Supervisor at Mt. Glaciers have been around for longer than you think. They hiked from Bear Glacier west to Tustumena Glacier. 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. Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield Kenai Fjords National Park, AK Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. The ancient ice gouged out Kenai's fjords, creating habitats for throngs of sea animals. —Credit: Photographer unknown. Retrieved December 14, 2006", Kenai Fjords National Park - Exit Glacier (U.S. National Park Service). The feature extends SW from Lowell and Bear Glaciers to Chernof Glacier, in Kenai Mts., 18 mi. Learn about the natural history from your expert local guide on this hiking trip in Alaska. 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. Sign in to send us feedback. W of Seward, Chugach Mts. We arrived at the Harding Icefield Trail just north of Seward, Alaska mid-morning on the 4th of July. 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)  The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Its area is 1,047 square miles (2,712 square km). It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Harding Icefield Bear. We were excited about what our day would bring. In early 1936, a 27-year-old Swiss immigrant and future state senator named Yule Kilcher disembarked in Seward. Numerous long and spectacular glaciers descend from the crests of those mountains. Trail Facts. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. The men, however, told no one of their intentions, and once they returned, Smith's wife was the only one that was aware of what they had done. 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. Unwilling to wait two weeks for a coastal steamer, Kilcher walked to the Homer area, probably by way of the Resurrection River valley. Scientists have found an ice field in Antarctica … The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. © 2020 Alaska Guide Company - All Rights Reserved. Orth, Donald J. Get a front row seat of retreating glaciers on this challenging 8-mile out-and-back to the Harding Icefield.
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