Alaska Glacier

Alaska Glacier – Harding Icefield – Exit Glacier – near Seward AK

Harding Icefield Alaska

Harding Icefield near Seward Alaska

The weather was clear and the sun was shinning so it was a perfect day to walk the trail past the Exit Glacier up to the Harding ice field a short distance from Seward, AK. Plan on taking 6 to 8 hours from the road up the trail past the emergency shelter and over the ridge for a spectacular view! Some fit runners can make it in a lot less time but it took me over 8 hrs because I stopped quite a bit to take pictures and talk to other hikers.

lichen growing on rock

lichen growing on rock

Be sure to take along a rain jacket, some snacks and a couple bottles of water. This is not a very difficult walk but it is 8.2 miles round trip from the park office. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground this second week on June and it would be a nasty return trip if you get caught in rain for the return trip. A lot of snow got into my shoes but the weather was so nice and warm I didn’t really notice. Some days can get nasty and rainy so be sure to take rain gear along so you will be prepared if the weather turns.

trail in the snow

Trail leading to the Harding Icefield

An emergency shelter is way up in the mountain for refuge should you get in bad enough weather to have to spend the night or whatever. This little cabin is cabled down securely so it will not blow over if high winds come.

emergency shelter

emergency shelter

There is parking down at the beginning of the train by the ranger station. The office was closed when I arrived so I headed up directly to the lookout only about a mile in on a wide paved trail up to the viewpoint for Exit Glacier.

emergency shelter

emergency shelter

That really is a beautiful viewpoint and most walkers will have no trouble with that and the view is great.

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier crevices

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier above. Heading up the Harding Icefield trail below. The beginning part of the trail is windy and has a lot of vegetation but it clears up and the trail is straighter as you gain elevation.

Harding Icefield trail

Harding Icefield trail

Marmont on the Harding Icefield trail.

Marmont

Marmont

There were a few marmonts in the higher elevations. They were chubby and active taking advantage of the long days to get fat. The information at the beginning of the trail warns hikers to be aware that there might be bears in the area but I think they would be in the lower elevations. (not sure really – didn’t see any on this trip.)

new plant growth

new growth in the springtime as soon as the snow recedes

New plant growth seems to spring up as soon as the snow recedes. The ParkĀ  Services stresses that hikers remain on trails marked by orange survey flags. This allows new growth to take off and also prevents erosion of the park. Most people seem to try to comply and keep the park healthy.

Harding Icefield

Harding Icefield

Harding Icefield

glacial ice field

glacial ice field

Harding Icefield

Harding icefield

Harding icefield

Harding Icefield near Seward Alaska – well worth spending the day getting there and back (just keep an eye on the weather). It is also possible to hike out on the icefield. Guided tours are available and those with experience hiking on glaciers often give it a go.

snow on the mountain

snow on the mountain

dutchpickle logo

dp logo

Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield near Seward Alaska

mountain flowers

mountain flowers

Jun 9, 2014 www.dutchpickle.com

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