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Kenai Fjords National Park Map

by Aakash singh

The following content on Kenai Fjords National Park is licenced from National Geographic's Guide to National Parks of the United States (9th Edition).

SET BETWEEN the Kenai Mountains and the Gulf of Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park, the most accessible of Alaska’s national parks, brings to life what people who have only dreamed of visiting the state might imagine. Here, for both day-trippers and intrepid adventurers to explore, is a vast swath of ice and snow, glaciers, rocky coastline, bands of forest, and, soaring above it all, bald eagles on the hunt for their next meal.

Established December 2, 1980
669,983 Acres
Kenai Fjords National Park Map

The ice is the main draw—but it’s just the start. (Add to the mix bears, birds, and, on the glaciers, ice worms.) The Harding Icefield and the more than 30 glaciers it feeds extend over 700 square miles. A remnant of the Pleistocene era, Harding Icefield was once part of a massive ice sheet that blanketed most of what is now Alaska. A thousand feet thick, ice remains an important part of the landscape, covering some 51 percent of the park. The crown, literally, of Kenai Fjords, Harding Icefield is the largest icefield situated completely within the United States.

As you explore, always check current conditions, and leave no trace.

How to Visit

The best bet for those who want a good overview of the park is to take a day cruise or a flight-seeing trip to see the fjords and the glaciers, and then spend a day hiking to the icefield (or, at least, part of a day to get part of the way—the trail can be quite a challenge). But there also are easy hikes that get you great glacier views. Another way to experience the park is by floatplane or helicopter. The bird’s-eye view underscores the enormity of the park’s icy landscapes. For the unabashedly adventurous? Go deep: Sign up for a multiday paddling trip.

No matter how you decide to enter the park, for safety’s sake keep an eye out for creatures from the start of your adventure.

Kenai is a birder’s delight, with seabirds nesting along the coastline. Watch for puffins speeding by over the water. Up high, train your eye for peregrine falcons or, walking the treeless slopes, mountain goats. And while you are cruising the water, harbor seals could float by on an ice floe, or an orca might, with no warning, leap high into the air, amid shouts of “Did you see that?” coming from your fellow passengers on deck.

Useful Information

How to get there

Take the Seward Highway (Alaska 1, which turns to Alaska 9) south from Anchorage. Leave extra time to make the 126-mile trip on the National Scenic Byway, brimming with photo ops. (Watch for surfers taking on the bore tide.) During summer, RV traffic can slow the drive down. There is daily bus and Alaska Railroad service between Anchorage and Seward during the summer months. Charter flights are also available from Anchorage and Homer.

When to go

Though open year-round, most visitors explore the park during the summer months, when boat trips are offered. Flight-seeing companies run trips yearround out of Seward (subject to cancellation because of harsh weather). The road to Exit Glacier usually opens in late spring; it closes to car traffic with the first snowfall. Once there’s enough snow coverage, the 7-mile road opens to those who want to trek, dog-sled, or cross-country ski. Hikers and bicyclists are allowed on the road year-round.

Visitor Centers

The Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center at Seward’s small harbor is open mid-May to mid-Sept. The Exit Glacier Nature Center is at the Exit Glacier trailhead.


411 Washington Street Seward, AK 99664 907-422-0500


The park’s established campground (12 sites) is first come, first served. The park also offers two summer-use cabins (see p. 494). There’s also a winter-only cabin: Willow Cabin at Exit Glacier. For cabin reservations, 907-644-3661.


In the park there’s concessioneroperated Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge ( Seward (; 907-224-8051) offers lodging options.

About the Guide

 National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States 9th Edition
Bask in the spectacular beauty, thrilling terrain, and quiet peacefulness of the country’s finest state parks, hand- picked by park directors and National Geographic editors. This fully updated fifth edition includes 750 additional off- the-beaten track destinations. Beautifully written descriptions tell the stories of the parks, from their wildlife, natural features, and history to their most popular current activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, water sports, and rock climbing. Vivid images inspire your next getaway, while detailed information–including 32 detailed maps highlighting sites, trails, campgrounds, and more– helps you plan your next excursion. From free to low-cost, from Florida to Alaska, from the six-acre lao Valley to the 204,000-acre Baxter, use this essential guide to plan a day visit or a weekend escape.
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