Discover Kenai Fjords National Park

Nestled in the rugged beauty of Alaska’s coastline lies the majestic Kenai Fjords National Park, a true gem of the Last Frontier. This stunning expanse of wilderness spans over 670,000 acres and boasts a landscape sculpted by glaciers, teeming with diverse wildlife, and offering endless opportunities for adventure seekers.

At the heart of Kenai Fjords are its glaciers, massive rivers of ice that carve their way through the landscape, leaving behind breathtaking fjords and towering icebergs. Visitors can witness the awe-inspiring sight of these glaciers calving into the sea, creating a spectacle unlike any other.

Beyond its icy wonders, the park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. From the iconic bald eagles soaring overhead to the playful sea otters and majestic humpback whales that frequent its waters, Kenai Fjords is a paradise for animal lovers. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the elusive black bears or mountain goats that call this rugged terrain home.

For those seeking adventure, Kenai Fjords offers a myriad of activities to satisfy every thrill-seeker. Whether it’s kayaking through icy waters, hiking along scenic trails, or embarking on a wildlife cruise, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the park’s natural wonders.

With its awe-inspiring scenery, abundant wildlife, and endless opportunities for adventure, Kenai Fjords National Park truly embodies the untamed spirit of Alaska. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a first-time visitor, a journey to this remote wilderness is sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Top 3 Facts About Kenai Fjords National Park


Glacial Sculptors

Kenai Fjords National Park is home to over 40 glaciers, including the massive Harding Icefield, which covers an area of more than 700 square miles. These glaciers have been sculpting the landscape for thousands of years, carving out deep fjords, rugged mountains, and pristine valleys.


Marine Wonderland

The waters surrounding Kenai Fjords are a thriving marine ecosystem, hosting a diverse array of marine life. Visitors can spot a variety of whales, including humpback, orca, and gray whales, as well as playful sea otters, harbor seals, and porpoises. The park’s waters also support abundant seabird populations, including puffins, bald eagles, and cormorants.


Ice Age Relics

As the glaciers of Kenai Fjords retreat, they reveal traces of the park’s ancient past. Visitors can explore coastal areas littered with glacially-carved valleys, moraines, and erratic boulders, providing a glimpse into the geological history of the region.

Camping and transportation in Kenai Fjords National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Kenai Fjords National Park

Getting to Kenai Fjords National Park is an adventure in itself, as the park’s remote location adds to its allure. Here are some ways to reach this pristine wilderness:

  • By Air: The closest major airport to Kenai Fjords National Park is Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage, Alaska. From Anchorage, visitors can either take a smaller commuter flight to nearby airports such as Seward or Homer, or they can opt for a scenic flightseeing tour directly to the park.
  • By Car: If you prefer a road trip adventure, you can drive to Kenai Fjords National Park from Anchorage or other nearby cities. The drive from Anchorage to Seward, the gateway to the park, takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours along the scenic Seward Highway (Hwy 1).
  • By Train: The Alaska Railroad offers a picturesque journey from Anchorage to Seward, passing through breathtaking landscapes along the way. The Coastal Classic route runs daily during the summer season, providing visitors with a comfortable and scenic transportation option.
  • By Cruise: Many cruise lines include stops in Seward as part of their Alaska itineraries. These cruises offer passengers the opportunity to explore Kenai Fjords National Park through shore excursions, wildlife tours, and glacier viewing experiences.
  • By Bus or Shuttle: Various bus and shuttle services operate between Anchorage and Seward, providing convenient transportation options for visitors without a car. These services typically offer multiple departures daily during the summer months.

Place to Stay Near Kenai Fjords National Park

For travelers looking to stay near Kenai Fjords National Park, there are several accommodation options ranging from lodges and cabins to campgrounds, offering something for every type of adventurer. Here are some recommendations:

  • Seward: As the gateway to Kenai Fjords, Seward offers numerous lodging options including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Some popular choices include the Harbor 360 Hotel, Hotel Seward, and the Windsong Lodge.
  • Exit Glacier Area: Located just outside of Seward, the Exit Glacier area offers campgrounds operated by the National Park Service. These include the Exit Glacier Campground and the nearby primitive camping area at the Exit Glacier Nature Center. Both options provide easy access to hiking trails and stunning glacier views.
  • Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge: For those seeking a more remote and luxurious experience, consider staying at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge. Situated on Fox Island within Resurrection Bay, this eco-friendly lodge offers comfortable accommodations, gourmet meals, and guided activities such as kayaking and wildlife watching.
  • Cooper Landing: Located about an hour’s drive north of Seward, Cooper Landing offers a tranquil setting along the Kenai River. Visitors can find lodges, cabins, and campgrounds nestled amidst the picturesque scenery, providing a peaceful retreat after a day of exploring the park.
  • Camping in the National Forests: Surrounding Kenai Fjords National Park are the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, both of which offer numerous campgrounds and backcountry camping opportunities. Popular options include Russian River Campground and Quartz Creek Campground, providing a rustic camping experience amidst pristine wilderness.
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Best Time to Go to Kenai Fjords National Park



Summer is undoubtedly the peak season to visit Kenai Fjords National Park, with long daylight hours and milder temperatures making it ideal for outdoor adventures. June brings vibrant wildflowers carpeting the valleys and mountainsides, while July and August offer warmer weather and clearer skies. This is the best time for boat tours, kayaking excursions, and wildlife watching, as marine life such as whales, sea otters, and seabirds are abundant. Hiking trails are fully accessible, offering breathtaking views of glaciers, fjords, and coastal vistas. However, summer is also the busiest time in the park, so visitors should plan and book accommodations and activities well in advance.



Winter transforms Kenai Fjords National Park into a serene wonderland, with snow-covered landscapes and a peaceful atmosphere. While most visitor services are closed during this time, adventurous travelers can still explore the park through activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter photography. The park’s glaciers and fjords take on a mystical beauty in the winter months, and lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing Northern Lights dancing across the night sky. However, winter travel in the park can be challenging due to harsh weather conditions and limited accessibility, so it’s recommended for experienced outdoor enthusiasts prepared for cold temperatures and potential hazards.



Spring marks the awakening of Kenai Fjords National Park as the snow begins to melt, and the landscape comes to life. April and May bring a sense of renewal, with the chance to witness the park’s glaciers calving and rivers swelling with snowmelt. Wildlife enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to see newborn animals, such as bear cubs and mountain goat kids, exploring their surroundings. Hiking trails may still have patches of snow, adding an adventurous element to springtime exploration. While temperatures can still be chilly, particularly in April, the longer daylight hours offer ample opportunities for outdoor activities.

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Must-See Attractions

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Exit Glacier

One of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska, Exit Glacier is a must-see destination within Kenai Fjords National Park. Visitors can hike the Exit Glacier Overlook Trail for a close-up view of the glacier’s terminus and learn about its retreat and impact on the landscape at the nearby visitor center.

Harding Icefield

For a truly awe-inspiring experience, consider hiking to the Harding Icefield overlook. This strenuous trail rewards hikers with panoramic views of the expansive icefield, which feeds many of the park’s glaciers and shapes its dramatic landscape.

Aialik Glacier

Aialik Glacier is one of the most impressive tidewater glaciers in the park, stretching over six miles and towering up to 300 feet above the ocean. Visitors can take boat tours or kayak excursions to witness the glacier’s stunning blue ice and hear the thunderous sounds of calving icebergs crashing into the sea.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Kenai Fjords National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, activities, and available services before your trip. Make reservations for accommodations, tours, and transportation, especially during the busy summer season.

Pack Appropriately

Dress in Layers

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and be prepared for a range of conditions, including rain, wind, and sun. Bring waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and warm layers to stay comfortable during your outdoor adventures.

Respect Wildlife

Stay Bear Aware

Kenai Fjords is bear country, so practice bear safety measures, such as storing food properly, making noise while hiking, and carrying bear spray. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and never approach or feed animals.

Stay Informed

Check for Park Updates

Before heading out, check the park’s website or visitor center for updates on trail conditions, wildlife sightings, and any safety advisories. Stay informed and prepared for your visit to Kenai Fjords National Park.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Kenai Fjords National Park

Visitors can immerse themselves in an array of activities such as glacier tours, hiking trails like the Exit Glacier, and kayaking among icebergs. They shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the Harding Icefield, one of the park’s crowning glacial expanses.

Absolutely! Boat tours offer a splendid vantage point to appreciate the park’s marine life and glaciers. Options range from day cruises to kayaking tours. Travelers can choose based on their comfort with sea travel and how close they’d like to get to the glacial action.

You’re in for a treat, as the park is a habitat for numerous species including sea otters, humpback whales, and puffins. On land, visitors might spot bears and moose. The diverse ecosystems ensure a remarkable wildlife viewing experience.

The park bears profound natural and cultural history, with its lands once inhabited by Alutiiq Native people. It was established as a national park in 1980 to protect and share its unique glacial landscapes and rich biodiversity.

The park is most accessible from Seward, linked by road and rail from Anchorage. The scenic drive from Anchorage to Seward, via the Seward Highway, offers stunning views and the chance to spot wildlife along the way.

When visiting, you can’t skip the Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield Trail for their hiking preferences. Followers of marine wonders should book a boat tour to witness the park’s tidewater glaciers. The Visitor Center offers educational displays and information to enrich their visit.

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