Exit Glacier Area

View of a valley glacier, emerging between two mountains.
A moderately strenuous trail leads up to the edge of Exit Glacier

NPS photo / Fiona North


The Exit Glacier area is the only part of the park accessible by road.

Here you can explore the trails, walk very close to an active glacier, or take a ranger-led walk.

It is a place where you can witness up close how glaciers re-shape a landscape and learn how plant life reclaims the barren rocky land exposed by a glacier's retreat.

 
Seasons
The Exit Glacier Area is open year-round. Upon the arrival of snow, usually in mid-November, the road to Exit Glacier is closed to cars but open to winter recreation, including snowmobiles, dogsleds, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat bikes. The road often remains closed through early May, so be sure to check current conditions if you are visiting during the off season (fall through spring).
 
Directions to Exit Glacier
Turn on to Herman Leirer Road, commonly called "Exit Glacier Road," at mile 3 of the Seward Highway (AK-9). Proceed 8.4 miles. The road will end at the parking lot for the nature center.
Note: There is limited parking at Exit Glacier, especially during the hours of 10:30 am - 3:30pm. Please consider the hours you come, carpooling, or taking a shuttle or taxi, when you plan your trip.

(Google Map Coordinates: 60.1782633,-149.6494389)

 
Trails
A network of short trails leads to different views of Exit Glacier, beginning at the Exit Glacier Nature Center and the parking lot. Start by turning left at the nature center and following the accessible trail through the cottonwood forest to the Glacier View, a panoramic vista of Exit Glacier spilling down from the Harding Icefield. This one-mile accessible trail loops back to the parking area, or you can turn left at the trail-side kiosk and continue on to overlooks via the Edge of the Glacier trail.

Getting to the toe of the glacier requires crossing the rocky outwash plain. There is no set trail across the plain, and stream channels change often. Due to frequent flooding, this area may be not be accessible. If water levels are low, you can make your way to the terminus or toe, but don't approach the glacier in places where the ice is over your head. Huge, heavy chunks of ice can fall off without warning. Check the current conditions for updated information on warnings or closures.

The Edge of the Glacier trail is a well maintained trail which provides views of Exit Glacier. Follow this moderately strenuous trail to an overlook and view the glacier in its own glacially carved valley.

If you are looking for a longer day hike, don't miss the Harding Icefield Trail.
 
Exit Glacier Trails Map 2012
(PDF - 1.86 MB)

Trail Maps of Exit Glacier Area
Official Exit Glacier map - from park brochure/map.
Exit Glacier map - satellite image, with written trail descriptions and distances.
"Exploring Exit Glacier" - with photo and written descriptions.

 

Exit Glacier Nature Center

The nature center includes exhibits about the Exit Glacier area, an Alaska Geographic bookstore, and rangers to help answer questions about the area.
  • Operating hours of the nature center.
  • Learn a little more about the park by participating in a ranger-led program, which occur daily during the summer.
  • Flush toilets, near the nature center, are operable from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The rest of the year pit toilets are available.
  • During the summer, potable water is available at the restroom building, through both water-fountains and a water-bottle filling station. Reusable water bottles are available in the bookstore.
  • Picnic tables are located next to the parking lot. Bear-proof garbage and recycling bins are also available.
  • There is a 12-site, tent-only campground available about 1/4 of a mile before the nature center.
 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664

Phone:

(907) 422-0500

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