Safety

A hiker follows a trail with vegetation on each side and a glacier in the background.
Proper preparation before heading out can make for a great trip.

NPS Photo / F. North

Welcome to Alaska - remote, rugged, and unpredictable. Anything can happen, including bear encounters, falling ice, radical shifts in the weather, earthquakes, or avalanches. Preparation can make the difference between the adventure of a lifetime and tragedy. Your national parks can be great places to challenge yourself physically and mentally. Yet, it is important to know your limits and remember you are responsible for your own safety.

Whether you're headed out on a day hike, backcountry trip, or even just a scenic drive, it's always a good idea to have emergency supplies with you including extra food and water. Let someone know your plans and who to contact if you don't check in.

Dial 9-1-1 in Emergencies - While cell phone coverage is very spotty in the park; on the waters and road leading to the park, cell coverage may still exist. Dispatchers from the Seward area will likely be able to assist you. Within the Exit Glacier Area, emergencies should be reported to rangers on patrol, or to staff at the Exit Glacier Nature Center. On the Kenai Fjords coast, a marine VHF radio (channel 16) or satellite phone may be the best way to contact the park or Coast Guard.

 

Even experienced wilderness travelers can have an accident that results in an injury or even death. Accidents are possible anywhere - so the information below is important to all visitors. You may also want to read more specific safety information from this page to prepare for your trip.

  • Wildlife
    Wildlife can behave unpredictably. Do not intentionally approach wildlife. Read the Wildlife Safety section for more details.
  • Plants
    Do not eat berries unless you know what they are and are sure you have no allergy to them. There are no poison oak, sumac or ivy species in the park, but some other plants can cause allergic reactions, such as cow parsnip.
  • Hypothermia
    Hypothermia is always a factor in the subarctic. Rainy, chilly days are normal in summer. Dress in layers, preferably made of wool or synthetic material that is able to insulate you even when wet. Bring rain gear or an umbrella.
  • Injuries
    Be wary of falls. The trails in Kenai Fjords are few, but can be very steep or rocky. Be careful of your footing, especially when trails are wet, icy or snow-covered.
  • Don't go alone
    There can be safety in numbers. It can be valuable to hike or kayak with at least one other person. Even then or especially if traveling solo, make sure someone else knows your plan, when you'll be back, and who to contact if you don't check in.
  • Know thyself
    Even if you plan to stay on trails the entire time you are here, keep in mind, while medical services are available in Seward, the nearest major facilities are several hours away. If you know you have a medical condition, such as a heart problem, talk to your doctor about your travel plans to see if there is anything you should do to ensure a safe trip.

More information on wilderness travel can be found in our backcountry webpages.

 

Last updated: January 23, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1727
Seward, AK 99664

Phone:

(907) 422-0500

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