Kenai Fjords National Park is open year-round; however, the road to Exit Glacier is closed to cars for the winter months and much of the spring. Snow at higher elevations on the Harding Icefield trail can persist into mid-summer. It is always a good idea to check on current conditions before setting out.
This site is updated regularly to reflect the latest conditions, as is the Recorded Information Line at 907-422-0573. If needed, contact the park headquarters directly at (907) 422-0500, during normal business hours.
Road to Exit Glacier (Herman Leirer Road):
As usual, the state of Alaska's Department of Transportation has closed the Herman Leirer Road to all vehicle traffic for the winter. The closure begins at the Box Canyon bridge, 1.3 miles from the Seward Highway (AK-9). Kenai Fjords National Park has administrative control over the last 1 mile of the Herman Leirer Road, from the Resurrection River bridge(Mile 7.0) to the Exit Glacier Nature Center (Mile 8.1).
Due to recent warm temperatures and rain, Kenai Fjords National Park has closed the Exit Glacier area to snowmachine use. This closure includes the road to Exit Glacier within the park boundary, parking areas, the designated route through the campground to Exit Creek, and within Exit Creek. When snow depth, snow density, and frozen soil conditions are adequate, the park will reopen for snowmachine use. (updated 2/27/2014).
Trails near the Exit Glacier Nature Center:
The trails remain open and accessible, though they are covered in snow, and often have ice underneath. Ice cleats or snow shoes, and trekking poles are recommended. Most of the trails have been walked on, so tracks should be present to keep you on the trail.
WARNING: As is normal during the winter months, the 8.1 mile long Herman Leirer Road, the only access to the Exit Glacier area, is closed to personal vehicles 1.3 miles from the Seward Highway. To get to the area and access the trails, other transportation methods must be used, such as skiing, snow bikes, snow machines, and snow coach. See the Seward Chamber of Commerce to learn about options from local outfitters.
The Exit Glacier Nature Center is closed for the season, but the warming hut and vault toilets are still available (updated 12/06/2013).
Harding Icefield Trail:
Like the rest of the Exit Glacier area, the trail is covered in snow, and in many places, the snow hides a layer of ice beneath. It is typical that conditions will get worse (snow will be deeper, temperature colder) as you gain elevation. Please use extreme caution if attempting the entire 4.1 miles long trail . Snow shoes, ice cleats, trekking poles, and familiarity with winter survival are all strongly recommended. It is still possible to encounter bears on the trail, and bear spray should be carried at all times (updated 12/06/2013).
Did You Know?
The Hoary Marmot is the largest member of the ground squirrels. These guys hibernate half or more of their life away. They have very thick fur and a substantial fat layer that protects them from the cold. You are not as likely to see them on hot days as they hide in the shade to keep cool.