Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Exploring the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area: Exit Glacier

f24-1GLACIER DYNAMICS / CLIMATE CHANGE/ PLANT SUCCESSION

Location:    Exit Glacier: Kenai Fjords National Park

 3 Miles North of Seward.  Turn West on Herman Leir Road and continue 10 miles

Short Description: Exit Glacier, the only site in Kenai Fjords National Park that is road accessible, provides an opportunity to study the dynamics of a receding valley glacier ecosystem.

Required Equipment: None

Suggested Equipment: Binoculars

Safety Consideration: Bear and moose habitat

Other Info: Various opportunities are available including ranger-led programs, interpretative hikes, and a nature center with interpretative displays. Call for more information.

(907) 422-0500

f24-2Instructional Strategies:

Exit Glacier is one of several glaciers creeping down from the massive Harding Ice field. Like most of the glaciers in the area, Exit Glacier is rapidly melting faster than it is moving forward. Because of this recession and its easy access, it provides a wonderful opportunity to study the revegetation of the area.

There are three main trails in the area. The “Edge of the Glacier Trail” a mostly paved trail that goes nearly to the edge of the glacier. The “Glacier View” that is a gravel trail that meanders through the forest then rejoins the “Edge” trail. Both of these are wheel chair accessible until the trail forks and starts climbing the hillside. Walking to the glacier and back will be about 2 1/2 miles RT.

These trails are excellent for viewing the dynamics of the glacier and for studying plant succession following glaciation.

The third trail (Harding Icefield Trail) is extremely strenuous and is nearly 4 miles one way.

The best way to maximize your trip into the Kenai Fjords NP is to call and make arrangements for an interpretative ranger-led  walk.

 

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