Kenai Fjords Overview

Kenai Fjords National Park, located on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, USA, is a pristine wilderness area renowned for its rugged beauty and dramatic landscapes. Encompassing approximately 669,984 acres (2,711 square kilometers), this park offers a spectacular showcase of glaciers, fjords, and an abundance of marine and terrestrial wildlife. Established in 1980 to protect and preserve the highly glaciated region of the Kenai Peninsula, the park is a testament to the power of ice and the sea in shaping the land.

The park’s crowning feature is the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States, from which countless tidewater glaciers flow down into the surrounding fjords. These glaciers, some of which reach the sea, calve icebergs into the water, creating a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. The fjords themselves are deep, glacier-carved valleys that have been flooded by the sea, providing critical habitat for marine life.

Kenai Fjords National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. The coastal areas and waters are inhabited by sea otters, seals, and whales, while the forests and meadows inland support bears, moose, and mountain goats. The park’s rich marine environment also supports an abundance of seabirds, making it an excellent location for bird watching.

Visitors to Kenai Fjords can explore the park’s natural wonders through a variety of activities, including boat tours that offer close-up views of glaciers and marine wildlife, kayaking among the fjords, hiking trails that offer stunning vistas, and fishing in the rich waters of the Gulf of Alaska. The Exit Glacier area, one of the most accessible parts of the park, provides an opportunity for visitors to see a glacier up close and learn about the processes that shape these incredible landscapes.

Kenai Fjords National Park is a place of spectacular natural beauty, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring power of glaciers and the sea and the rich biodiversity of the Alaskan wilderness.

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Kenai Fjords National Park Highlights


Kenai Fjords National Park, a stunning landscape where mountains meet ice and sea in Alaska, is a thriving habitat for marine and terrestrial wildlife, offering visitors breathtaking encounters with species uniquely adapted to this cold and rugged environment.

Orca Majestic Orca, or killer whales, are a thrilling sight, their striking black and white patterns visible as they navigate the icy waters in search of prey.

Steller Sea Lion The noisy Steller Sea Lion gathers on rocky haul-outs, their loud roars echoing across the water, a testament to the park’s rich marine life.

Bald Eagle Soaring above the fjords, the Bald Eagle epitomizes the wild spirit of Alaska, its keen eyes scouting for fish from the dramatic coastal cliffs.

Puffin Both the Horned and Tufted Puffins charm visitors with their colorful beaks and awkward landings, nesting on cliff faces and diving for fish.

Humpback Whale The Humpback Whale, known for its spectacular breaching and vocalizations, frequents the park’s waters, feeding on krill and small fish in the nutrient-rich fjords.

Harbor Seal Often seen lounging on ice floes, Harbor Seals are a common yet enchanting presence, their round, curious eyes watching visitors as they pass by.

Sea Otter The adorable Sea Otter floats among the kelp, using rocks to crack open shellfish, a key species for understanding the health of the park’s marine ecosystem.

Mountain Goat High on the rocky crags above the fjords, Mountain Goats are adept climbers, their white coats a stark contrast against the green and gray backdrop.

Black Bear roam the park’s forests and coastal areas, foraging for berries and salmon, a symbol of the wilderness that Kenai Fjords helps preserve.

Glacier Worm Unique to glacial environments, Glacier Worms are seen on the surface of ice fields, specially adapted to life in and on the slowly moving ice.

Kenai Fjords National Park’s diverse inhabitants, from the playful Sea Otter to the elusive Glacier Worm, showcase the adaptability and resilience of life in one of Alaska’s most spectacular natural settings, inviting visitors to marvel at the wonders of the natural world.

Engaging Kenai Fjords

Experience the stunning beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park from the comfort of a boat tour. Sail through the park’s icy fjords, past towering glaciers, and alongside rugged coastline as you witness the park’s dramatic landscapes and abundant wildlife.

From the deck of a boat, you can spot whales breaching, sea otters playing, and seabirds soaring overhead, creating unforgettable memories of Alaska’s pristine wilderness.

Explore the tranquil waters of Kenai Fjords National Park by kayak. Paddle through serene fjords, past towering icebergs, and alongside majestic glaciers as you immerse yourself in the park’s stunning natural beauty.

Kayaking offers a unique perspective of the park, allowing you to get up close to wildlife such as seals, sea lions, and seabirds while enjoying the peaceful solitude of Alaska’s wilderness.

Discover the rugged landscapes of Kenai Fjords National Park on its network of hiking trails. Trek through ancient forests, across alpine meadows, and along rocky coastlines as you explore the park’s diverse ecosystems.

Hiking trails offer opportunities to spot wildlife such as bears, moose, and mountain goats while providing breathtaking views of the park’s glaciers and fjords.

Observe the diverse wildlife of Kenai Fjords National Park in their natural habitat. From whales and sea otters to bears and bald eagles, the park is home to a wide variety of species that can be spotted throughout the year.

Join a guided wildlife tour or venture out on your own to explore the park’s shoreline and backcountry areas, keeping a lookout for signs of wildlife and listening for the calls of birds echoing through the wilderness.

Kenai Fjords National Park Trails

Exit Glacier Harding Icefield Trail

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 3,500 feet (1,067 meters)

Description: This trail offers an unforgettable journey from the forested valleys near Exit Glacier to the expansive views of the Harding Icefield. The challenging hike rewards adventurers with breathtaking vistas of ice and snow, sprawling as far as the eye can see, showcasing the park’s rugged beauty and the awe-inspiring scale of glacial landscapes.

Exit Glacier Overlook Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1 mile round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: A more accessible option for those wishing to view Exit Glacier, this trail leads to an overlook providing spectacular views of the glacier. Along the way, interpretive signs educate visitors about glacial retreat, local ecology, and the impact of climate change on the landscape.

Coastal Trail

Rating: Moderate to Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, up to 9 miles one way with variable elevation gain

Description: This trail, accessible from the Exit Glacier area, offers a rugged hike along the coast. Hikers can experience the wild, untouched shoreline of Kenai Fjords, with opportunities to spot marine wildlife, including sea otters, seals, and whales, against the backdrop of towering fjords.

Resurrection River Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Up to 18 miles one way with minimal to moderate elevation gain

Description: Connecting the Exit Glacier area with the town of Seward through a river valley, this trail offers a long but relatively flat hike through diverse ecosystems, including forests and wetlands. It’s an excellent option for those looking for a multi-day backpacking experience.

Tonsina Creek Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 100 feet (30 meters)

Description: Starting near Lowell Point, this trail winds through a lush rainforest to a scenic beach overlooking Resurrection Bay. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the tranquil sounds of Tonsina Creek, with chances to see salmon during spawning season. The beach offers stunning views and a peaceful spot for relaxation.


1. What is Kenai Fjords National Park known for?

Kenai Fjords National Park, located in Alaska, is known for its stunning fjords, towering glaciers, and diverse wildlife. The park’s rugged coastline is characterized by deep fjords carved by ancient glaciers, which provide breathtaking vistas of icy cliffs, sparkling waters, and towering mountains.

Visitors come to Kenai Fjords to explore its pristine wilderness and witness the dramatic forces of nature at work. The park is also renowned for its abundant wildlife, including whales, sea otters, seals, and seabirds, making it a popular destination for wildlife viewing and photography.

Additionally, Kenai Fjords offers opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and boat tours, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty and experience the wonders of Alaska’s wilderness..

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