3. Visit Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier is the only accessible area in Kenai Fjords National Park. The highlight is the hike to Exit Glacier Overlook, a 2.2-mile easy trail. Now that it’s receded so much, you have to hike farther and farther in. There are markers along the way that show you the year and where the glacier used to be. Our new friend from this trip, Valerie, was showing us photos from 2015 and 2022 (shown below). It’s sobering to see how much the glacier has melted.
We recommend taking the right fork as you head up to Exit Glacier Overlook, then walk towards the Outwash Plain on the way back. We also considered the Harding Icefield Trail for a much more challenging hike, which is 9.2 miles roundtrip with a 3641 ft elevation change but ended up opting for the shorter hike since we were limited on time.
This area is open year-round, but from late October/early November to early May, the road is closed due to snow. You can still access it via snowmobiles, dogsled, snowshoes, fat bikes, or cross-country skis.
Local Tip: As you drive towards Exit Glacier, there is a pull-out on the left of the road located here. Stop by to see what visibility is like. If you can’t see the glacier in the distance, then the hike probably isn’t worth doing either.
Pro Tip: We didn’t run into mosquitos in other spots but saw a bunch of them and got bites up here. Don’t forget bug spray, and have this bug bite suction handy if you get a bit. It works best right after you get a bite.