Harding Icefield

Seward, Alaska 99664

Harding Icefield

Harding Icefield Professional Review and Guide

"This long day hike in the Exit Glacier area of Kenai Fjords National Park winds through the forest and climbs above tree line to an ice age experience with stunning panoramic views of the ice?eld. Start early and bring a camera for this hike to the edge of the Harding Icefield, where dark peaks poke out of a sea of ice. The trail climbs gradually through forest and
brush, alpine wildflower meadows, and finally rock and snow to an overlook of the icefield.

The moderate, switch backing grade is courtesy of Student Conservation Association trail workers—high school students hailing from all over the United States—who worked for several years building this spectacular trail. Fog, rain, and poor visibility are common, and weather can change quickly, so carry warm, waterproof clothes, even on sunny days."

Harding Icefield Reviews

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7/20/2018
This a tough trail with lots of switchbacks and many steep sections and wet snow even in the summer.The views at the glacier are out of this world. Lots of wildlife too, including bears so carry some bear spray to be safe. This one is definitely a challenge but you'll love it.
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7/8/2018
Great hike! Kicked my ass, saw a black bear, and went 11.5 miles total.
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6/8/2018
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8/11/2009
Sorry to say I did not make it to the top. KIds were grumbling and my knees were knocking. Views at almost the top were well worth the pain. The people were all friendly and from all over the world. This was a strenous hike for me. I guess the five mile run at dawn was too much for me. This is a must do hike!!!!!!!
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8/9/2009
Excellent hike with a wide variety of terrain and contrasts to enjoy on the way! The signs say prepare for 6-8 hours round trip, but we spent an hour on top for lunch, stopped often to pick berries, and it took us exactly 5. Prepare for cool weather and a little wind, and bring your water filter!
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8/19/2008
As glorious as the other reviewers have said, with one exception - the number of hikers. There were many hikers on this trail, occasionally causing grid lock at the rock pitches. It reminded me of Flattop.
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8/3/2008
I think this is my favorite trail period. The variety of views and conditions that you end up going through... it is just amazing. But be ready for a good climb. We added the Exit Glacier trail on top of this and all together we end up with 10 miles round trip and 3500 ft elevation gain. You start with switchback and a climb through forested area and eventually you get to what you think is to top, only to find out that it keeps on going through this snow field. It was one of the most beautiful hikes! Oh, did I mention we saw two bears? Right by the trail... they were just eating berries and didn't care about us one bit. And yes - be prepared for people - at least on the first part of the trail.
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10/2/2007
An amazing trail that provides a wide range of hiking experience. Starting at the parking lot in light forest with a paved trail, working through a few miles of switchback trails to get above the tree line to the top edge of the Exit Glacier. The views back into the mountain valley over this portion of the hike were incredible. Bear scat and prints in several places on the trail warned of the black bear that we found in the middle of the trail higher up. We gave the bear warning of our presence, and after he finished the berries that he was working on, he left over the right side of the ridge. Continuing over the first ridge brought us to a second tier that was mostly stone with some snow and streams towards the top. The view over the ice field at the top was worth the hike, which left my legs aching for several days afterward. The wind at the edge of the ice field was extreme, and I was glad to have good boots when we reached the snow at the top of the hike. I highly recommend this hike to anyone that is in good shape, as long as there is good weather for the day.
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7/27/2006
This trail was everything the guidebook said it was. We were fortunate to have exemplary weather - mostly sun, temps in the low 70's to low 60's the higher we went and a welcome breeze. Climbing close to tree-line we were met with a small black bear coming downhill right toward us, and we were directly in line with the wind so he was "bearing" down on our scent. A quick blow on the whistle and "go away bear" shout immediately diverted the direction of the bear downhill, across our trail about 20' ahead of us and down valley across a snowfield and out of sight into the flowers and meadow grass across the valley. What a thrill! The rest of the day was classic mountain hiking above treeline with incredible views of the Harding Icefield and Exit Glacier from its source. This was the highlight of my trip to the Kenai Peninsula.
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7/5/2005
A terrific Alaskan hike. The glacier is beautiful and the view of the surrounding mountains is awe inspiring. Be prepared to deal with other hikers but the view and experience is worth it.
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Harding Icefield Photos

Trail Information

Seward
Nearby City
4
Distance
3,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Best Late June to mid-Sept
Season
Kenai Fjords National Park, PO Box 1727, 1212 4th Ave., Seward, AK 99664, (907) 422- 0500; www.nps.gov/kefj
Local Contacts
USGS Seward A-8 (trail not shown); Kenai Fjords National Park brochure; National Geographic Kenai Fjords National Park
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018