If you have visited Harding Icefield before, please tell us about it with a comment below. This cumulative ice loss over those five decades from the Harding Icefield represents 1 percent of the total contribution of all mountain glaciers worldwide to rising seas! There is a day parking area and a small nature center. The still air was heavy with moisture as I hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside Seward, Alaska. Hiking Tip. Overview. The Trail. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Their trip remained a virtual secret for more than twenty years after they completed it. Feature Type: Glacier. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. I think it's 4.5 miles one way with about a 3000 foot elevation gain. Volume and surface elevation changes were calculated for six icefields throughout Alaska and British Columbia by differencing Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) that represent glacial elevations from different time periods. The latitude and longitude coordinates of Harding Icefield are 60.0180556, -149.9861111 and the approximate elevation is 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) above sea level. This 500-square-mile frozen mass feeds almost three dozen glaciers, including Exit. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Coordinates: 60.0180556°N, -149.9861111°W Hike it on your own or Leaves from the Exit Glacier parking lot. All-Day Hike: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! Description; Photos; Details; Frequently Asked ; Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2-mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. Much of the interior is covered by the Harding Icefield. 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." I’d learned to identify those same flowers weeks ago at a lower elevation. Took us 6ish hrs roundtrip at a leisurely pace. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. Sea otter, Kenai Fjords. A short hike up the trail affords impressive views of the valley floor and Exit Glacier's terminus. The weather at Kenai Fjords is difficult to predict and can change rapidly. Elevation Gain: 3,070 ft (936 m) Location: Seward – Exit Glacier Nature Center: Map of Harding Icefield Trail (red) and Exit Glacier trails (blue) – map disclaimer and information. The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Wildlife and ecology. The Harding Icefield hike is a must-do hike in Kenai Mountains. The Harding Icefield is over 700 square miles (1813 km ) 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 ) The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. Harding Icefield. Length of the Harding Icefield Trail. Elevation Gain of the Harding Icefield Trail. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb. That’s some serious ice. … The hike up to the Harding Icefield is a strenuous, 7.7 mile roundtrip, hike that gains 3000 feet. About 1940, two Kenai Peninsula residents, Eugene "Coho" Smith and Don Rising, apparently were successful in their attempt to cross the icefield. Elevation Gain of the Harding Icefield Trail. The latitude and longitude coordinates of Harding Icefield are 60.0180556, -149.9861111 and the approximate elevation is 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) above sea level. Answer 1 of 4: I understand that hiking out to the Harding Icefield is one of the best day hikes in Alaska. The vast expanse of the Harding Ice Field is absolutely mind-boggling. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. From cottonwood forests on the lower trail, the trek takes you through some rocky terrain, to … Conditions on the icefield overwhelmed him however, and a week later he was back in Seward. Can someone who has done it estimate the time it takes ? All-Day Hike: The Harding Icefield Trail is strenuous! Alaskan pilot, Bill Quirk tells me, “Make a visit to Alaska to enjoy the best in ski flying operations. After climbing above the forest and through the low brush and alpine meadows, … Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. Details: The magnificent Harding Icefield is the jewel of Kenai Fjords National Park (at least in my opinion!) The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. A recent paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, however, estimated the Harding Icefield lost 0.72 meters in elevation per year in the 1990s, a 50 percent increase in thinning rate. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. The trail's summit … … It feeds at least 38 glaciers, including Exit Glacier. Harding Icefield. Harding Ice Field Trail is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Seward, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The Harding Icefield collects more than 400 inches of new snow each winter to replenish what evaporation and the glaciers take away. End of the Trail … The other big thing we wanted to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, besides glacier kayaking, was hiking the famous Harding Icefield Trail.. In the spring of 1968, the first documented mountaineering party succeeded in crossing the icefield. The meadows about halfway up are amazing and then at the top its otherworldly. Retrieved December 14, 2006. We need all that ice. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. 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. Guests are in for a remarkable day hike on an 8.2 mile loop along the Harding Icefield Trail. This strenuous trail climbs approximately 1,000 feet every mile, but spectacular views along the way make it well worth the effort. View from the end of the Harding Icefield Trail. We did the Harding Icefield Hike at the end of August and were constantly wowed by the beauty and stunning views. After I had such an awesome time at Exit Glacier with mom, dad, and Matt (photos to come...sometime), I couldn't wait to get back to Seward with Daniel to hike the Harding Icefield trail, a 7.8 mile round-trip, 3000 ft. elevation gain trail of wonders. 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) [1] The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Early in the season, about half of the trail is covered in snow, but hikers with boots will have little problem walking through it. I took my time and soaked it in. OVERVIEW: The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2-mile, 5-hour hike round trip with a 3,150-foot elevation gain. It was a warm, sunny July day when my wife and I hiked the Harding Icefield trail. View over Harding Icefield from end of trail. A definite must hike if you are in the Seward area. Hiking back over the moraine. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. They are free to join. Would you hike to the Harding Icefield? Unfortunately, Daniel is a trail master. There are Ranger led Harding Icefield hikes from 9am on Saturdays in July to August. Expedition members included Bill Babcock, Eric Barnes, Bill Fox, Dave Johnston, Yule Kilcher and his son Otto, Dave Spencer, Helmut Tschaffert, and Vin and Grace (Jansen) Hoeman. You will begin the hike to Harding Icefield in the Exit Glacier area. Elevation Gain: 3,812 feet. The latitude and longitude coordinates of Harding Icefield are 60.0180556, -149.9861111 and the approximate elevation is 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) above sea level. Travelers gain nearly 1,000 feet of elevation with each mile, putting this day hike firmly into the “strenuous” category. Top of the cliff is probably a good return point if you are short of time. My Arctic Tern at 4,000 feet elevation ASL on the Harding Icefield. The park's glaciers have retreated through the twentieth century, … Camping in the emergency shelter is not allowed. The ice is so thick that it extends up to 6,000 feet of elevation. Lush trees, bears, and vast icefields of Exit Glacier. For the Harding Icefield on the Kenai Peninsula in southcentral Alaska, United States Geological Survey (USGS) DEMs from the 1950s were differenced with Shuttle Radar Topographic … If you’re an ambitious hiker, you can make a day out of it and follow the switchbacks up to Harding Icefield. At only 4 miles to the end of the trail, hikers might assume that it is an easy hike; it’s not. Harding Icefield Trail is an epic 8.2 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 3812 feet. 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 … Up to this point, however, people had walked only on the icefield's margins. We could have stayed much longer admiring the icefield, but the day was getting towards the end of the day and we had to start on the return. The icefield embraces Tuuli Peak, the highest point in the Kenai Mountains at 6,612 feet above sea level, suggesting that the Harding is likely a mile deep in some places. Elevation: 4,488 feet (1,368 meters) The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. 3000 feet or 914 metres. … The Harding Ice Field is a bit more boring in its uniformity, in that most of its glaciers are retreating, he said. The day we started there were bear sightings along the trail, so make sure to buy bear spray ahead of time. 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. The Trail. If you have visited Harding Icefield … The other big thing we wanted to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, besides glacier kayaking, was hiking the famous Harding Icefield Trail.. The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2 mile round trip trail in Kenai Fjords National Park outside of Seward, Alaska. In early 1936, a 27-year-old Swiss immigrant and future state senator named Yule Kilcher disembarked in Seward. I read online that the Harding Icefield Trail is the most beautiful trail in the National Park system, and it very well may be. 4.2 Miles – End of Trail and Breathtaking Overlook of Harding Icefield (3512 ft elevation) Weather. The nearby town of Seward averages 72 inches of rain per year. Harding Icefield is in the Glaciers category for Kenai Peninsula County in the state of Alaska. I have never so many sitting on the cliffs just staring out at nature for so long. Elevation wise its all uphill with no flats whatsoever. DIRECTIONS: Kenai Fjords National Park is about a three-hour drive, south of Anchorage, Alaska. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. 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. Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,812 ft Route type Out & Back It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. Harding Icefield is ~80 km long and 50 km wide, covering an area of ~1800 km2. The area generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate, primarily due to the influence of the Japanese current that flows through the Gulf of Alaska. Cresting the final ridge of bedrock and loose debris, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Camping is allowed along the Harding Icefield Trail, but you must travel at least 1/8 mile from the trail on bare rock or snow before setting up your camp. The trail is well developed but steep with nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. NPS Photo / F. North. Summer daytime … Kenai Fjords National Park is dominated by a glaciated landscape. 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. Three years later, J. Vin Hoeman, Dave Johnston, and Dr. Grace Jansen made an eastbound attempt. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. With a mixture of longing and trepidation I studied the patterns of crevasses that wrinkled the surface of … Both attempts were unsuccessful. Copyright © Locality, LLC | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | About. For those looking for an easier outing, the Exit Glacier can be viewed from an accessible trail that is about one mile in length. Two parties attempted to cross the icefield in the mid-1960s. The icefield spawns more than 38 glaciers some of which are tidewater, some of which terminate in lakes, and others terminate on land. Though the elevation profile is not always even, each of these sections is right around 2 miles so it breaks the day up nicely for objectives. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. The core of the icefield covers 300 hundred square miles, with its glacial tentacles extending it out to 1,100 square miles, with much of it located in Kenai Fjords National Park. This report comes from the National Park Service. The trail had contoured along a hillside of tundra festooned with the nodding white flowers of bell heather. 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. The Harding Ice Field is a bit more boring in its uniformity, in that most of its glaciers are retreating, he said. Expect to encounter a variety of weather conditions while hiking the trail it is best to check on trail conditions before setting out for the icefield. However, there are no glacial channels at the middle of the icefield so the new ice has nowhere to go. Some of it melts but a lot of it does not, and it’s compressed into dark blue ice over the next three or four decades. The icefield spawns more than 38 glaciers some of which are tidewater, some of which terminate in lakes, and others terminate on land. Ten people were involved in the crossing, which went from Chernof Glacier east to Exit Glacier. The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly a wonder to behold! At only 4 miles to the end of the trail, hikers might assume that it is an easy hike; it’s not. From cottonwood forests on the lower trail, the trek takes you through some rocky terrain, to green alpine meadows overlooking the blue, crevassed Exit Glacier, past mountain cascades up to a vista of the endless sea of ice that is the Harding Icefield. Thirteen glaciers were profiled, along with the tipper region of the icefield. Allow at least 6-8 hours for the hike. This trail is a tough day hike, gaining 3,000 feet of elevation in only 4 miles. Few scenes in the world compare to the view across the frozen expanse of the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield. Dense clouds hung low and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. It's probably 9 miles round trip, a little longer than the sign says, with plenty of elevation gain, but it is well worth it. Description Follow the Exit Glacier Paved Path for roughly 1/3 of a mile and look for the Harding Icefield Trailhead on the right. Comparison of the changes for the different glaciers shows no significant correlation … The hike to view the Harding Icefield is about 4 miles (oneway) with 3,500 feet elevation gain. There is a day parking area and a small nature center. The Harding Icefield is located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. 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. Ian Malone. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. The park's highest point is an unnamed peak of 6,450 feet (1,970 m) in the Kenai Mountains. The Harding Icefield, pictured Saturday, July 2, 2016, spans 700 square miles and feeds over 30 glaciers, including Exit Glacier, according to the National Park Service. 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. 3000 feet or 914 metres. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. The trail starts climbing … 4.2 Miles – End of Trail and Breathtaking Overlook of Harding Icefield (3512 ft elevation) Weather. ... (141 m) elevation is 4b with an average annual extreme minimum temperature of -20.3 °F (-29.1 °C). Length of the Harding Icefield Trail. Make sure you are dressed properly, as the weather on top is often different than in the Exit Glacier area below. Such a fun and beautiful trail. The hike to view the Harding Icefield is about 4 miles … Fin whale in Kenai Fjords. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. The Harding Icefield Trail is easily one of the most stunning and photogenic hikes I’ve ever done. Leaves from the Exit Glacier parking lot. Covering approximately 700 square miles, and at a maximum depth … 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. Went all the way down to … Although, an Alaskan local did tell me that bear spray wouldn’t do anything if you encounter a grizzly and that I should be carrying a fire arm, I still decided to carry some. I read online that the Harding Icefield Trail is the most beautiful trail in the National Park system, and it very well may be. Up there, just out of sight, sprawled the Harding Icefield. Indeed, much of it is more than a mile thick. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. They hiked from Bear Glacier west to Tustumena Glacier. Though the elevation profile is not always even, each of these sections is right around 2 miles so it breaks the day up nicely for objectives. 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. The amazing views require some effort – the hike is strenuous with a lot of elevation gain. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: Address, Harding Ice Field Trail Reviews: 5/5. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. This report comes from the National Park Service. Along the way, the party made a first-ever ascent of Truuli Peak, a 6,612—foot eminence that protrudes from the northwestern edge of the icefield near Truuli Glacier. Seward Harding Icefield Hike Tour. Harding Icefield is displayed on the Seward A-8 USGS quad topo map. Suba sa yelo ang Harding Icefield sa Tinipong Bansa. In about 1000 ft elevation the forest disappears to allow a hike that overlooks the Harding Icefield. Airborne surface elevation profiles of the Harding Ice field, south-central Alaska, were made in 1991 and 1996. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. If you have visited Harding Icefield before, please tell us about it with a comment below. October 4, 2020. 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. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Would you hike to the Harding Icefield? Camping: Yes, along the Harding Icefield Trail corridor, though you must be a decent ways from the trail on bare rock or snow. 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. 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 Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. Hike it on your own or take this guided tour . Take the Seward Highway … The expedition left Homer on April 17, bound for Chernof Glacier; eight days later, they descended Exit Glacier and arrived in Seward.
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