Exit Glacier, the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that's accessible by road, is also one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska. Visitors can hike right up to the wall of blue ice to listen as it crackles and learn about how this and other glaciers from the Harding Icefield have reshaped the landscape over time.
Since Exit Glacier is so easy to drive to, it’s included on many tours of Seward, along with attractions such as Resurrection Bay and the Alaska SeaLife Center. A short walk leads from the parking area through a forest and along a gravel river bed to the glacier, with markers indicating the glacier’s recession over the past century. The Edge of the Glacier Trail offers the best views of the front of the ice, while the Harding Icefield Trail climbs some 3,500 feet (1,067 meters) for views of the giant Harding Icefield (the source of 38 named glaciers).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Exit Glacier is a must for adventure travelers and those pressed for time.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- There are restrooms located in the Exit Glacier Nature Center.
- The 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) trail from the parking lot to the Glacier View area is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Exit Glacier is situated at the end of Exit Glacier Road (officially called Herman Leirer Road) about 13 miles (21 kilometers) outside Seward. Most visitors arrive by car or as part of a guided tour, but it’s also possible to catch a shuttle from Seward to the glacier during the summer months.
When to Get There
While Exit Glacier is open throughout the year, the road to the glacier becomes impassible to cars beginning in mid-November through early May. The road does, however, remain open to snowmobiles, fat bikes, snowshoes, and cross-country skis.
From late May through early September, national park rangers lead Exit Glacier walks four times daily. These guided hikes take the trail from the Exit Glacier Nature Center to the Glacier Overlook, with interpretation along the way about glacial activity, geology, and local flora and fauna.