However, it is thought that a lot of the sites that were rich in history for archaeological studies are now under water because of the rising water levels. We paddle around an island that just before blocked our view. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. As icebergs melt, they release air bubbles that have been frozen for millennia, exposing prehistoric air to the world. With mas­sive ice­bergs and blue waters, see­ing the glac­i­er up close is a thrilling expe­ri­ence. Established in 1980, the park is a wild land of mountain, water and ice. The road to the Exit Glacier trailhead closes during the winter months (usually mid-November). On land, you can may see Moose, Mountain Goats, River Otters, Snowshoe Hares, … Everywhere the glacier is also cut through with stripes of a gray-black substance called moraine – dirt and rock caught up in the slow movement of the ice as it flows out of Harding Icefield. Many visitors will head to Denali National Park, and for good reasons as the park is a must-see while in Alaska. Kenai Fjords National Park is a land dominated by glaciers, massive rivers of ice that flow out from the Harding Icefield. In these instances, new GPS-located photo stations were established within sight of the present day termini. Independent travelers have access to the variety of trails around Exit Glacier via the national park, but those wanting to walk on the surface of the ice should go with experienced guides. There are so many different types of animals that you can find within the Kenai Fjords. It occupies an area of 2,711.33 square km in southcentral Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The Harding Icefield has over 300 square miles of ice and is over one mile thick. Several different types of glaciers can be seen from our cruises, including tidewater, piedmont, hanging, and cirque glaciers. We work our way west to the center of the glacier, crampons crunching into the ice, stopping to peer into deep crevasses and examine trickles of meltwater. The fjords that have been carved by glaciers over thousands of years have created estuary ecosystems that are only found in five other locations in the world. The park’s rugged landscape includes fjords, mountains, and glaciers. This is in the south of Alaska and can be found near the amazing town of Seward. The Kenai Fjords tour is about wildlife, not about glaciers. Alexander traveled to Alaska with support from Travel Alaska (. The jetboat at anchor while we prep our equipment © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet, A paddleboarder glides past an iceberg © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet, View from the paddleboard © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet. Aialik glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. The landscape here is very dramatic, with steep mountain peaks rising out of the ocean for thousands of feet, where there are capped off by an extensive ice field. But, finally atop the board, my feet seem to instinctively know what to do, and after a few strokes of the paddle, I’m ready to head into the bay. ). Naming the Ice. , an expanse of fjords and forests covering almost 600,000 acres. Many air charters take off from Merrill Field and Lake Hood airstrips right inside Anchorage. Valley glaciers are what most people picture when theythink ofglaciers. Visiting Alaska’s glaciers is one of the state’s most iconic experiences. The Kenai Fjords, like much of Alaska’s landscape, were formed by two incredibly powerful but seemingly opposite forces: tectonic activity and glaciers. Here’s how to get up close and personal with the glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park. Price includes glass, window matboard, and your choice of frame The Wild Images Team has spent many days kayaking through the ocean inlets of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Das Eis verläuft in Form von mehreren Gletschern bis ins Wasser des Meeres. 669,983 Acreage of the park. The Harding Icefield Kenai Fjords National Park is a land dominated by glaciers, massive rivers of ice that flow out from the Harding Icefield. Seeing a tidewater glacier up close is a thrill. Seedlings of alder, cottonwood, and fireweed quickly colonize the seemingly barren landscape, exposed by melting ice. While many visitors aspire to visit the extraordinary icebound realms like Ruth Glacier in Denali or the Kennicott and Root glaciers of Wrangell-St. Elias national parks, don’t count out the less remote backcountry of the Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna mountains. This was a special trip for us, one that measured up to it's expectations. Over 38 named glaciers dot the valleys of the park, all coming from a single source, the Harding Icefield, an expanse of ice that extends over 700 square miles. Explore the Fjords. The icebergs can roll or calve at any moment, trapping a wayward paddleboarder underneath a mountain of ice. Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is a region of very deep ocean inlets that were glacier carved from previous ice ages, surrounded by mountain peaks that rise straight out of the ocean. Harding Icefield and the Grewingk-Yalik Glacier Complex, many of which originate in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ). This park also has the fjords. All along the road to the visitor center, signs show the glacier’s retreat over the last century, each marker indicating the location of the edge of the glacier during the year written on the sign. A lot of us forget to explore our own backyard, and I’m totally guilty of this one: despite living a short 2.5 hour drive from Seward, I’ve never gone on a wildlife day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park. For instance, a picture of McCarty Glacier from 1909 precedes a picture of the same glacier in 2004. This was first established in 1980 through the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. It is thought that there was long term use of the area because of new evidence found. Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more. Kenai Fjords National Park is home to some of the most magnificent glaciers in Alaska. It’s a striking display, a visual representation of a warming earth. can provide gear, guides and transportation. After that, the trailhead can be reached by snowmobile, dogsleds, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. Even through the arctic dry suit, the water is a cold, brisk hand wrapping around my feet. Ice fields and massive glaciers are results of the chilly winters in Alaska. I arrived into Seward, Alaska on a Thursday morning at 7:40 am since I had been camping at the Turnagain pass and the cold temps had awakened me early. Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Alaska has multiple boats and multiple tours that visit Kenai Fjords National Park and surrounding areas. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission. Astrophysical Observatory. It is a very different kind of trip. Several glaciers originate from this icefield like the Bear Glacier. At most locations, the change in glacier height and terminus position since 1909 has been dramatic. Kenai Fjords. Independent travelers have access to the variety of trails around Exit Glacier via the national park, but those wanting to walk on the surface of the ice should go with experienced guides. Over 38 named glaciers dot the valleys of the park, all coming from a single source, the Harding Icefield, an expanse of ice that extends over 700 square miles. Tectonic activity did the building . We begin the trek early in the day, hoping to beat the summer crowds that are sure to clog the trailhead as the morning rolls on. Hiking for mere mortals like us is pretty much restricted to Exit Glacier, but that is a beautiful hike well worth the time. Why Lake Tahoe’s south shore makes a perfect Nevada getaway for responsible travelers, "Paris is overrated" - Lonely Planet fans share their unpopular travel opinions, US airlines are introducing tough new rules for emotional support animals, You can now do a COVID test at home before flying to any of these 14 US destinations. Approximately one quarter (4.6 million acres) of Alaska's glaciers exist within national parks. The park is named for the numerous fjordscarved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. Northwestern Glacier, for example, has retreated around a series of bends in its valley. From the turn of the 20th century to 1951, Hiking deeper into Exit Glacier © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet, Examining a crevasse © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet, Perched on the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward is the gateway town to adventure. To help inspire your next Alaska adventure, we’re sharing five cool … Kenai Fjords. United States. Over the years, especially with global warming, the glaciers have “retreated,” melting into the sea and either shrinking or disappearing completely, leaving behind the carved fjords. Kenai Fjords National Park: The Glaciers A highlight of our time in Seward was our Northwestern Glacier Tour with Kenai Fjords Tours. The lake before us is littered with icebergs, some as small as basketballs, others the size of houses. are many cirque glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, but most of them are unnamed because theyare so small. It’s the most precarious part of the hike – the awkward crampons and weight of my hiking pack threaten to tip me backward – but soon the surface evens out and I find myself on the edge of a massive blue runway heading up over the crest of mountains to the west. Kenai Fjords gives visitors the opportunity to experience Alaska’s rugged coastline, countless glaciers, and abundant wildlife. Perched on the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward is the gateway town to adventure. The fjords that have been carved by glaciers over thousands of years have created estuary ecosystems that are only found in five other locations in the world. But oohing and aahing from a distant viewing platform or from the deck of a cruise ship aren’t the only ways you can encounter these grand natural wonders. For many, the “crown jewel” of this pretty spectacular park is the Harding Icefield. The Wild Images Team has kayaked through and photographed this area. There are hundreds of glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) and Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM) covering over 2,276 km 2 of park land (ca. It can range from around 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Traveling by sea kayak is a quieter and more peaceful version of a glacier and wildlife cruise on a boat. Kenai Fjords National Park is found in south central Alaska, on the Kenai Peninsula. Der Park ist berühmt für den 1600 Meter hohen Kenai-Berg, der vollständig vom 777 km² großen Harding-Eisfeld verhüllt ist. The two images have been correlated by matching topographic features. At the mouth of a small inlet, the pilot of our jetboat looks over his shoulder, analyzing the swells behind us. It’s estimated that around 100,000 visitors visit Kenai Fjords every summer. TouristLink members rank Exit Glacier, Harding Icefield and Tustumena Glacier as the top glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park. Few places rival Kenai Fjords National Park when it comes to tidewater glaciers. The park’s name comes from the many glacial fjords that dot the coastline of the park. Exploring the Kenai Fjords The inlets, coves, fjords, islands, and even glaciers of Kenai Fjords offer hikers and boaters many opportunities for exploring and seeing wildlife in a spectacular natural setting. Diese Datei ist unter der Creative-Commons-Lizenz „Namensnennung 2.0 generisch “ (US-amerikanisch) lizenziert. Getting out on a vessel will give you the ultimate opportunity to watch glaciers calving off into the sea, pods of Orcas, sea lions, birds, and Humpback whales! Mountains flank the horizons to the east and west, and to the north, in the distance, a massive wall of ice forms the face of Bear Glacier. In 1909, USGS geologists U.S. Grant and D. F. Higgins mapped and photographed all of the tidewater glaciers and many of the land-terminating outlet glaciers in what is now Kenai Fjords National Park, creating a thorough record of glacier terminus positions and heights. Established on December 1, 1978, the park protects 669,984 acres (2,711.33 km 2). Paddling further, the blue world emits its own universe of sound: a marine calm punctuated by the lapping of water against massive objects, but there’s something else, too. The barren Chiswell Islands, serviced by ferry boat, are an excellent place to see giant Steller sea lions basking, playing, and fighting on the rocks. , heading into one of the glacier-cut fjords of the Kenai Peninsula to Bear Glacier Lake. In 1909, USGS geologists U.S. Grant and D. F. Higgins mapped and photographed all of the tidewater glaciers and many of the land-terminating outlet glaciers in what is now Kenai Fjords National Park, creating a thorough record of glacier terminus positions and heights. The collection currently consists of 77 sets of photos, including 265 photos of 40 individual glaciers or glacier groups. It’s a slow one, taking place over decades and centuries, but it’s there, in the trickle of water or the calving chunks that break off from the glacier’s leading edge. A gray sky caps the pillars of mountains on either side of the valley. Ice, ice, baby: You’ll find plenty of it at Kenai Fjords National Park on the edge of the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska, near Seward, where 40 glaciers are the main attraction. As one of the biggest ice fields in all of North America, it is home to over three dozen glaciers. In this spot in South Central Alaska, you’ll find orcas, humpbacks and grey whales that outnumber boats. From the turn of the 20th century to 1951 – the year I Love Lucy aired its first episode – the ice retreated almost 3000ft. The dramatic coastal fjords and valleys of the park reveal a long history of glaciation. We located the sites by identifying foreground features and by analyzing the extent of overlap of mountain peaks in the 1909 photo backgrounds. Examples of typical, medium-sized valley glaciers in the icefield are Skilak and McCarty. In fact, I took so many photos, I have to have 2 separate blog posts. In August, 2004, with funding from the National Park Service and the USGS Earth Surface Dynamics Program, we conducted a new photo survey in Grant and Higgins' footsteps. Kenai Fjords is located about 2.5 hours drive south of Anchorage, in the coastal fishing town of Seward, Alaska. Experienced kayakers often travel in and around Resurrection Bay. Transformed in a U.S. National Park in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the Kenai Fjords embodies part of the Harding Icefield, the largest and one of the four remaining icefields in the United States. are many cirque glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, but most of them are unnamed because theyare so small. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, th… The most spectacular of these glaciers is the tidewater glacier. The Harding Icefield covers more than 700 square miles in Kenai Fjords National Park and is the source of over 35 named glaciers. Chapter 12: Alaska: Glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park and Katmai National Park and Presenle BRUCE A. GIFFEN, DOROTHY K. HALL, AND JANET Y.L. As we float by the icy monoliths, the urge to touch one is strong, but Ryan warns me not to get too close. 2) GLACIERS. There aren’t many opportunities in life to be able to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and the feelings of floating near tidewater glaciers in the Alaskan wilderness. (Wikimedia Commons) How were the Kenai Fjords formed? The video displays how the glaciers have receded over a century. It is noted for the presence of the Harding Icefield, one of the biggest of its kind in the country. Kenai Fjords National Park is home to some of the most magnificent glaciers in Alaska. There are around 20 species of seabirds that make their home in the park, including puffins, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons. The crests are well over the top of the small, fire-engine-red vessel, and through the quiet tension I sense that a wrong decision could send the boat toppling into the waves. The place was a symbol of climate change, and it … Exit Glacier, like many glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, is undergoing rapid recession now. The park covers an area of 669,984 acres (1,046.9 sq mi; 2,711.3 km ) on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, near the town of Seward. The following day, I set out for Kenai Fjords National Park, an expanse of fjords and forests covering almost 600,000 acres. ‎Kenai Fjords National Park: Pictures of the glaciers at Kenai Fjords are compared in sequence. There’s so much to learn about Kenai Fjords National Park's unique glacial landscape. Alexander traveled to Alaska with support from Travel Alaska (travelalaska.com). Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park. Each animation begins with a 1909 Grant and Higgins photograph which fades into the 2004 image. This one is about the glacier scenery we saw and the next blog will have the wildlife photographs. WAAS-enabled GPS was used to determine the location of each station for future surveys. Captain Tim's Favorite Memory: Calving Glaciers in Kenai Fjords. You might assume that kayaking near Alaskan glaciers would be freezing, but actually, in the summer and early fall, the weather is fairly temperate. Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai is a word adapted from an indigenous group known as the Athabaskans, who previously lived in the region. While the rugged landscape is remote and nearly inaccessible in some areas, people have been traveling these waterways for over a thousand years. In fact, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the only tree national parks in Alaska that can be reached by road. Experienced kayakers often travel in and around Resurrection Bay. More than half of Kenai Fjords is obscured by it, and glaciers are one of Alaska’s coolest natural attractions. It’s also notable for being one of the most visible indications of climate change. Traveling by sea kayak is a quieter and more peaceful version of a glacier and wildlife cruise on a boat. We wind through switchbacks overgrown with dense forest, pausing at each break in the trees to catch our breath and stare at the glacier in the distance. Incredible Kenai Fjords Kayaking Trips. I want emails from Lonely Planet with travel and product information, promotions, advertisements, third-party offers, and surveys. All ofthe glaciers that drain the Harding Icefield are valleyglaciers. More than half of the park is covered by glaciers and ice. Climbing 1400ft in elevation in just 1.5 miles, the trek is tough, leaving even a fit climber gasping at both the exertion and the views. Grabbing hold of twin hiking sticks with sharp, pointed ends to anchor into the ice, I work my way up the 45° incline, using the crampon teeth at the tips of my toes to dig into the ice. Incredible Kenai Fjords Kayaking Trips. © 2020 Lonely Planet. All ofthe glaciers that drain the Harding Icefield are valleyglaciers. Find information on glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park as well as 69 glaciers in Alaska, 291 glaciers in United States, 38 Yes, you will visit a glacier for a short time, but this will not likely be the highlight of the trip for you. To illustrate the changes for the public, a dozen photographic pairs have been turned into animated GIFs using MacroMedia Flash. Chances are you are going to Alaska to explore the extraordinary landscape and wildlife that the state has to offer. Look for Sea Otters, Stellar Sea Lions, Orcas, Fin, Gray, Humpback, Minke, and Sei Whales. All rights reserved. I’m on the southern end of Alaska, heading into one of the glacier-cut fjords of the Kenai Peninsula to Bear Glacier Lake. If you’re looking to go whale spotting in America, the Kenai Fjords are your best option. It’s a striking display, a visual representation of a warming earth. Exit Glacier Guides and Seward Windsong Lodge offer organized hikes onto the glacier. Kenai is a word adapted from an indigenous group known as the Athabaskans, who previously lived in the region. Kenai Fjords National Park is an American national park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. CHiEN Popular Summary Much recent research points to the shrinkage of the Earth's small glaciers, however, few studies have been performed to quantify the amount of change over time. Alongside a small group of other hikers, I follow the lower portion of the Harding Icefield Trail, my pack heavy with gear necessary for the highlight of our trek: walking on Exit Glacier. To paddleboard among icebergs is to experience an Alaska of the imagination: a wild, isolated place where nature itself can do massive, beautiful things. He’s looking for an oncoming wave that will carry us into the quiet waters ahead. There aren’t many opportunities in life to be able to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and the feelings of floating near tidewater glaciers in the Alaskan wilderness. He gives a quick rundown of stand-up paddleboard basics: feet parallel and a shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. It is also home to the largest icefield in United States, Harding Icefield. At the right moment, the pilot guns the engine and we speed into the inlet, a breaking wave carrying us in like a surfboard. Several different types of glaciers can be seen from our cruises, including tidewater, piedmont, hanging, and cirque glaciers. Recommended. The Kenai Fjords National Park is found in Alaska and it’s an American National Park. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails. The Harding Icefield spawns more than 38 glaciers of which some are tidewater and others are land-based, or wholly or partially terminate in lakes. Glaciers slide down off of the ice field and carve canyons into the peaks. Things to Do in Kenai Alaska: From Fjords to Glaciers. We re-established 40 of their photo stations with a confidence level of approximately 5-30 feet. This 700-square-mile ice cap—mother of 38 glaciers that spill from Kenai’s mountainous spine—is most easily accessible by ski plane or a 3,000-foot ascent of the Harding Icefield Trail beside Exit Glacier. The park is accessible mainly by boat tours, where most of what made this park special can be seen. In some cases, vegetation completely obstructed the view from the 1909 photo station. Examples of typical, medium-sized valley glaciers in the icefield are Skilak and McCarty. 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