Scenic USA - Alaska

Exit Glacier

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Exit Glacier - Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Photo by Dan Kehlenbach
Dan's Portraits of Alaska

     Exit Glacier, a three mile long river of ice, dwarfs this brilliant larch forest in the foreground. Massive ice flows and frequent floodwaters continuously reshape much of the Alaskan topography. Here on the Kenai Peninsula, guests are granted an awesome view of this gigantic icefield. One of two glaciers with easy access, Exit Glacier is a short drive from Seward over the Leirer-Exit Glacier Road. Kenai Fjords National Park is open to visitors all year, but during winter your mode of travel would be limited to snowmobiles, dog sled, or through the skies.
     Trails lead from the Exit Glacier Nature Center up to the glacierís edge, where hikers are greeted by huge walls of blue ice. These dramatic ice cliffs are far from stable, and sightseers are warned to keep their distance. During the summer months the glacier is constanly eroding and heavy slabs break from the glacier edge without warning, dropping in a thunderous roar. A small part of the largest icefield in North America, a choice of three loop trails offering different viewpoints, with one trail that continues on to the glacierís toe. Your visit will give no clues as to how far the glacier has retreated, but it's estimated the ice extended for almost eight miles. Longer hikes include the 8.2-mile round trip to Harding Icefield, the parkís source for 38 imposing glaciers.

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