© 2020 Alaska Guide Company - All Rights Reserved. Scientists have found an ice field in Antarctica … W of Seward, Chugach Mts. … I don't think pepper spray is necessary but if you feel safer it wouldn't hurt and also some wear bells. 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. The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. Details. 2. Located atop Exit Glacier where it stretches for 700 square miles, the Harding Icefield is worth the climb. Princess Lodges (800) 426-0500. Unwilling to wait two weeks for a coastal steamer, Kilcher walked to the Homer area, probably by way of the Resurrection River valley. 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. This work is an alphabetical list of the geographic names with descriptions and often name origin that are now applied and have been applied to places and features in Alaska. This immense icefield is named after Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States who served during the early 1920’s. Retrieved December 14, 2006", Kenai Fjords National Park - Exit Glacier (U.S. National Park Service). Learn about the natural history from your expert local guide on this hiking trip in Alaska. submitted by Sabrina Linsalato, Payroll Supervisor at Mt. 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 as … The Exit Glacier, however, is the most accessible of the glaciers being reached by a spur road off of the Seward Highway. With no fewer than 38 glaciers, it's one of the biggest icefields in the U.S. Harding Icefield Bear. W of Seward, Chugach Mts. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. 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)  The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Posted in: Alaska Activities, Alaska National Parks, McKinley Princess. Retrieved December 14, 2006. The Harding Icefield located in Kenai Fjords National Park is the largest icefield contained entirely within the United States, 300 square miles and if you included the glaciers which descends from the icefield it would be over 1,100 square miles. The expedition left Homer on April 17, bound for Chernof Glacier; eight days later, they descended Exit Glacier and arrived in Seward. Get a front row seat of retreating glaciers on this challenging 8-mile out-and-back to the Harding Icefield. Share Facebook 224 Twitter 124 google+ 2 pintrest 2. The 8.2-mile out-and-back hike along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. About 1940, two Kenai Peninsula residents, Eugene "Coho" Smith and Don Rising, apparently were successful in their attempt to cross the icefield. Harding Icefield, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The park includes the McKinley Princess Lodge. 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. This 8.2 mile round trip hike takes you through alder forests, fields of fireweed, and alpine terrain, finishing at the top of the Harding Icefield; the second largest icefield in North America, where it's all blue ice as far as the eye can see. The ancient ice gouged out Kenai's fjords, creating habitats for throngs of sea animals. There are black and brown bears and also moose and goats which most consider a treat to see. This trek climbs 3000 feet alongside Exit Glacier as it passes through several climatic zones. GNIS Library. Their trip remained a virtual secret for more than twenty years after they completed it. Glaciers have been around for longer than you think. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. The Harding Ice Field is a bit more boring in its uniformity, in that most of its glaciers are retreating, he said.  The icefield itself receives over 400 inches of snow each year.. 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 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. Attilio Pregnolato/Shutterstock The expansive Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska. They hiked from Bear Glacier west to Tustumena Glacier. Kenai Fjords National Park: Harding Icefield Trail. Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield Kenai Fjords National Park, AK Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. There are upwards of three dozen named glaciers in the national park—all of which originate from the colossal 700 square-mile Harding Icefield. Up to this point, however, people had walked only on the icefield's margins. 30 miles long. 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. Three years later, J. Vin Hoeman, Dave Johnston, and Dr. Grace Jansen made an eastbound attempt. For physically fit hikers, a strenuous four-mile trail parallels the glacier’s north edge on a 3,000-foot ascent to the ice field, offering spectacular views of the glacier and surrounding mountains along the way. In the spring of 1968, the first documented mountaineering party succeeded in crossing the 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." Proclaimed a national monument in 1978, it became a national park in 1980. Trail Facts. Conditions on the icefield overwhelmed him however, and a week later he was back in Seward. The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. 3. According to the Park Service, it's 50 miles wide at its largest point (that would take two back-to-back marathons to cross it). Both attempts were unsuccessful. It’s a bit of a shame that something so beautiful was named for one of the worst, scandal-plagued presidents in American history, … Its area is 1,047 square miles (2,712 square km). Disclaimer – This blog post is not sponsored, though it does contain some affiliate links. Even if you do not hike the entire length of the trail, simply experiencing part of it allows for stunning views of the valley and Exit Glacier. Be on the look out for mountain goats, black bear, and marmots--- they are common sightings up here. More than half of Kenai Fjords is obscured by it, and glaciers are one of Alaska’s coolest natural attractions. Numerous long and spectacular glaciers descend from the crests of those mountains. Attacks are rare. Alaska Guide Co. is based in Valdez, Alaska and seeks to educate people on Alaska through adventure tours and online informational resources. 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. Starting on the valley floor, the trail meanders through alder and cottonwood forest as well as heather-filled meadows. In early 1936, a 27-year-old Swiss immigrant and future state senator named Yule Kilcher disembarked in Seward. Harding Icefield Trail – The Arrival. The Harding Icefield is over 300 square miles (777 km 2) 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 2) The icefield spawns up to 40 glaciers of all types. Begin on Harding Icefield Trail near visitor center. The Harding Icefield hike in Alaska easily makes our top 3 list of most memorable and wow-factor hikes. The icefield receives more than 400 inches of snow each year, and is one of only four icefields in the United States. 30 miles long. Sign in to send us feedback. Back To Blog. Known for: The park is home to the Harding Icefield, the largest icefield entirely within the U.S. that dates back to the ice-ages. The trail ends overlooking the massive 700 square mile Harding Icefield, which is a leftover of the last major Ice Age. Let us know how you think this page on Harding Icefield could be improved, what questions were left unanswered. Created more than 23,000 years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch, the Harding Icefield was a small piece of the vast ice sheet that covered much of Southcentral Alaska (Figure 1). Washington, DC: GPO, 1967. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. The Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers cover 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice. An ice field (also spelled icefield) is a large area of interconnected glaciers, usually found in a mountainous region. The hike starts from the foot of Exit Glacier just outside Seward and takes you to the top of the enormous Harding Icefield. The magnificent coastline of Kenai Fjords is steep valleys that were carved by glaciers in retreat. —Credit: Photographer unknown. 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. Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. After securing a homestead, he returned to Seward, and in late July he hiked up the Lowell Creek drainage toward the icefield. About The feature extends SW from Lowell and Bear Glaciers to Chernof Glacier, in Kenai Mts., 18 mi. It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. The men, however, told no one of their intentions, and once they returned, Smith's wife was the only one that was aware of what they had done. About In 1983 Roman Dial and Jim Lokken skied from the edge of the Skilak Glacier to the Tustumena Glacier edge in a single day and in 1984 Dial skied from the Skilak to the Chernof solo in one day as part of the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic. Harding Icefield Trail Hike. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/alaska/harding-ice-field-trail The 8.2-mile out-and-back run along Harding Icefield is a spectacular outing. I had heard of the Harding Icefield and even drove by the trailhead on previous trips to the Kenai Peninsula and always wondered what an icefield is like. Orth, Donald J. If you have concerns about Harding Icefield, send those in and we will forward those on to proper care takers.If you have insights you would like to share we welcome those as well. Two parties attempted to cross the icefield in the mid-1960s. As many as 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, which is located in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska. The icefield is also one of four remaining icefields in the United States and is the largest contained entirely within the United States. The crown jewel of this Alaskan park is the 735-square-mile Harding Icefield. We did the Harding Icefield Hike at the end of August and were constantly wowed by the beauty and stunning views. 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.Runners can expect sweeping views of the Exit Glacier area … MOUNT BALDY VIA BLACKTAIL ROCKS TRAIL Distance: 8.7km Duration: 3 … Other articles where Harding Icefield is discussed: Alaskan mountains: Physiography of the southern ranges: …resulting in the Sargent and Harding ice fields in the Kenai Mountains (on the Kenai Peninsula) and the Bagley Ice Field in the eastern Chugach Mountains. Read up on bear safety and you should be fine. The Harding Icefield is a vestige of the massive ice sheet that covered much of Alaska in the Pleistocene era. HistoryThe name was published in 1950 by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); presumably named for Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1865-1923, 28th President of the United States. 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. The 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of four major ice caps in the United States, crowns Kenai Fjords National Park. The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park is truly a wonder to behold! HARDING ICE FIELD TRAIL Distance: 13.2km Duration: 6-7 hours Difficulty: Hard More info. Ten people were involved in the crossing, which went from Chernof Glacier east to Exit Glacier. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area.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. Location: 60.189274, -149.629318. Geography. KenaiFjordsNationalPark.com: "Sights To See." Hike to views of glaciers & expansive icefields, including the Harding Icefield and Exit Glacier. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of … The icefield may be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses once covering half of Alaska. Distance: 6.6; Waypoints. The Harding Icefield is one of the biggest reasons people visit Kenai Fjords National Park, but keep reading to find out all the best things to do in the park, where to stay, when to visit, where to take photos, and more! We were excited about what our day would bring. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Harding Icefield, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Harding_Icefield&oldid=942295482, Bodies of ice of Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles lacking in-text citations from November 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 February 2020, at 20:33. HGL001. The Harding Icefield Trailhead is located on the right about 1/3 of mile along the Exit Glacier Paved Path. They are often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation for them to form. In 1963, a party consisting of Don Stockard, Tom Johnson, and Carl Blomgren tried a westbound crossing. We arrived at the Harding Icefield Trail just north of Seward, Alaska mid-morning on the 4th of July. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. The Harding Ice Field trail is 4 miles one way, average 8 hours rt. Kenai Fjords National Park, rugged wilderness area in southern Alaska, U.S., on the southern coast of Kenai Peninsula just west and southwest of Seward. Harding Icefield a glacier in Alaska. Harding Icefield Trail. The feature extends SW from Lowell and Bear Glaciers to Chernof Glacier, in Kenai Mts., 18 mi. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Throughout the entire hike you have splendid views of … No crampons or ice axes are needed during the summer hiking months.