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Experience Alaska Camping in the Ice Age at Kenai Fjords National Park
The Kenai Fjords National Park is a land where the Ice Age still lingers. Glaciers, earthquakes and ocean storms are constantly reshaping the land. Many animals, including bears and whales, call the park home. Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and has at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. Exit Glacier is the only attraction in the park that is accessible by road.
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The Kenai Fjords National Park is open year round. However, the Exit Glacier road is closed to cars during the winter months. Winter recreations are open, including snowmobiles, cross country skiing, and dog sledding. The road is generally closed mid-November through Mid-May. Rough seas also keep the back country inaccessible for the winter season. Summer temperatures tend to range between the mid 40’s and the high 70’s. Rain is common, even stretching out over months, and weather can be fairly unpredictable. Winter temperatures range from -20 up to 30 degrees. Conditions tend to vary, with both big snow storms and rain common. Always be prepared for any kind of weather, as it does change quickly. Don’t forget about the sun, either. Light reflected off the water and ice can be very intense, so it is still important to take precautions, like wearing layers. The park does not charge an entrance fee, but some activities may require permits or licenses.
The park is essentially divided into three different parts: the Exit Glacier, coastal fjords and backcountry and the Harding Icefields. Exit Glacier is the easiest to get to since it’s the only one accessible by road. With many trails, easy access and ranger programs, it is a great place to spend a day. The ever changing face of the glacier is a beautiful sight. There is a trail that brings you right up to the Edge of the Glacier, which is the closest you can get to the glacier’s face. The coast line is accessible by boat and kayak. The many fjords create a unique and challenging adventure for the more experienced people; it is not a place for beginners. Water and weather can be unpredictable, and hard rain and wind can be hazardous. Most landings involve surf, and it’s certainly important to feel comfortable in a kayak. It’s very common to be visited by curious seals and to even see orcas. The Harding Icefield provides magnificent mountaineering possibilities for experienced people. The most popular routes end at Exit Glacier because there is no need to have a scheduled pickup by plane or boat. Traversing Harding Icefield can be hard to time since weather can delay your trip, making Exit Glacier an ideal exit since it has an exit from the park. Some travelers get turned back due to weather, but a successful trip can take anywhere between 6 days and 2 weeks. It’s important to have a few days extra food, just in case.Whatever adventure you set out on, the Kenai Fjords National Park is an excellent Alaska camping destination.
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