Additional Exit Glacier – Adventure in Seward, Alaska! Information:
Alaska has so much to offer, and one of those offerings is being able to hike right up to a massive glacier! However, in Seward Alaska, it’s easier than ever to get right up to the glacier and see the vast expanse of the Harding Icefield as well. To see the full video after the recap video below, scroll to the bottom of the page!
From the Exit Glacier Visitor Center, it’s only a .4 miles to the Outwash Plains or .9 miles to the Glacier Overlook. The outwash plains are where Chase and Josiah started their adventure by filtering out some water using Sawyer’s Water Filtration System. The other option is to hike a little further to arrive at the Glacier Overlook spot. Although you can’t walk right up to the glacier from here due to safety concerns, you have a front row seat to the glacier and spectacular views of the valley below.
If you don’t have any time constraints and want to go on a rigorous 8.2 mile hike then skip the Glacier Overlook and head straight for the top. This 3,500ft climb is up a well-defined trail but is fairly steep in some places. You will reach Marmot Meadows at the 2 mile mark, which provides a great lookout spot to take a break and soak in the views. This is a great turnaround point if you aren’t up for the next 2 miles that takes you to the Emergency Cabin. Hiking this trail in June means that you’ll start to experience snow on the trail, so hiking boots are preferred or at least some nice trail running shoes with warm wool socks. By mid-July on a typical summer, all the snow will be melted off the trail but chances are you’ll still see snow patches along the way. The Emergency Cabin is really only good for a photo opportunity but if you were caught in a blizzard I’m sure you’d be thankful to have the cabin. Hike a couple hundred yards past the cabin to reach a great lookout point of the 700-square-mile sheet of ice name the Harding Icefield. It’s truly remarkable the size and beauty of this ice.
Hiking in June? Bring rain pants and a rain coat or a slippery garbage bag for the way down. There are plenty of fun opportunities to slide down the snow! As always be cautious about recreating on a glacier and sliding on the snow can bring hazards of its own as well. Has as much fun as you care to, but always be wary of the risks involved.
From Seward, you’ll drive away from the town as if you’re headed back to Anchorage. Drive ½ mile past Nash road which will be on your right, and turn left down Herman Leirer road. Drive 4 miles down this road until you reach the visitor center.
Distance: .4 Miles (Outwash Plains), .9 Miles (Glacier Overlook), 8.2 Miles (Harding Icefield Overlook)
Elevation Gain: 3500 feet (maximum)
Route Type: Out and Back
Parking: Dedicated parking at trail head
What to Bring:
Hiking shoes or boots
Rain gear if needed
A wind breaker or light jacket
Money for parking
A water filtration system