About 300,000 visitors take in Kenai Fjords National Park every year. Even though it’s the smallest of all the National Parks in Alaska, it has to be one of the most special. Those who do come are in for a major treat.
What makes Kenai Fjords National Park very special is that it offers not only miles and miles of the incredible jagged natural coastline of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula (and all the wildlife that comes with it). This park also has the fjords.
Explore the Fjords
For many, the “crown jewel” of this pretty spectacular park is the Harding Icefield. As one of the biggest ice fields in all of North America, it is home to over three dozen glaciers. The Harding Icefield has over 300 square miles of ice and is over one mile thick.
To view the fjords up close and personal you have a few options. To get a close look, consider taking the only part of the park that is accessible by road to see Exit Glacier. Here Rangers will be able to offer guided informational tours, and there are a number of trails to hike. The most popular trail, Edge of the Glacier, is also relatively strenuous, but worth the effort.
Spend the Day on the Water
Since Kenai Fjords National Park runs into the Gulf of Alaska, it really is special to explore it by boat. The park runs tours in conjunction with local adventure guides out of Seward to provide full day (around nine hours) or half day (around 5 hours) tours that will travel along the coastline.
The boat tours offer a double whammy. Visitors will get to experience the icefield as it bits of it breaks off into the water, also known as calving. Since most people don’t ever get to see glaciers up close it’s pretty amazing! The other great benefit of the boat tours is being able to see local wildlife.
Alaska is known for it’s incredible natural beauty and wildlife, it’s not uncommon while at Kenai to see bald eagles, whales, sea otters, puffins, mountain goats, bears, moose, seabirds and sea lions.
Like many of the National Parks in Alaska, the parks are more remote. Generally the best time to visit is during the summer months, as the roads and train lines can be closed from October through May each year.
There is just one road to Kenai and visitors can take that drive from Seward, over 125 miles away. Many of the park’s visitors come via the popular cruise ship route, so all of the biggest lines will have transport available as a shore activity as well.
Additionally, during the summer months you can hire a small plane to fly from Seward into the park, and the Alaska Railroad has Seward as a stop on the way between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Once you make it to Kenai Fjords National Park you certainly won’t regret it. Because of the unique and untouched natural beauty of the area, it will be a truly memorable trip. Have you been to Kenai Fjords? Let us know in the comments!