Birding The Harding Icefield Trail
July 14, 2013
The Harding Icefield is the main reason Kenai Fjords National Park exists. One of the best ways to quickly experience the Harding Icefield is by hiking the Harding Icefield Trail. This trail is free to access from the Exit Glacier Nature Center, and certainly some of the best things in life are free… but they aren’t always easy. The hike to the culminating view of this large temperate ice field is approximate 4 and a half strenuous miles. Stone steps through primary successional forests give way to switchbacks up a subalpine cliff face, ending with a long alpine traverse across the bottom of a Kenai mountain peak.
While we were admiring the view over lunch and a discussion of an upcoming Boy Scout group hike. Ranger Max and I were joined by a friendly Snow Bunting. The bunting flew to within feet of us inspecting the ground and alpine plants for a variety of insects. If you’re looking to spot a few unique land birds of Alaska while getting some fantastic views of a magnificent glacier system, then you must hike the Harding Icefield Trail!
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Did You Know?
Snowfall on the Harding Icefield can exceed 100 feet each year. After 4-10 years of compression snow turns into glacial ice.