Kenai Fjords National Park is a stunning national park located on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, USA. The park was established in 1980 and covers an area of over 669,984 acres (2,711.3 square kilometers). It is named after the numerous fjords carved by glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield into the Gulf of Alaska.
Key features and highlights of Kenai Fjords National Park include:
- Harding Icefield: The park is dominated by the Harding Icefield, a massive ice plateau covering about 700 square miles (1,813 square kilometers). It is one of the largest icefields entirely within the United States and gives rise to numerous glaciers.
- Glaciers: Kenai Fjords is home to numerous glaciers, including Exit Glacier, which is the only glacier accessible by road. Other notable glaciers, like Holgate Glacier, Aialik Glacier, and Bear Glacier, can be viewed by boat tours that depart from the coastal town of Seward.
- Fjords: The park features deep fjords, such as the popular Resurrection Bay and Aialik Bay, which provide stunning scenery and opportunities for wildlife viewing.
- Wildlife: Kenai Fjords is rich in wildlife, and visitors may encounter a variety of marine and terrestrial animals. Common sightings include sea otters, seals, sea lions, whales (including orcas and humpback whales), bald eagles, puffins, and mountain goats.
- Hiking Trails: There are several hiking trails within the park, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The Exit Glacier area offers various trails that provide different perspectives of the glacier and surrounding landscapes.
- Boat Tours: Boat tours are a popular way to explore the park and witness the glaciers, fjords, and marine wildlife up close. These tours often depart from the town of Seward.
- Ranger Programs: The park offers ranger-led programs, including guided walks and talks, providing visitors with insights into the park’s natural and cultural history.
Kenai Fjords National Park is known for its rugged and pristine wilderness, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a true Alaskan adventure. The park’s accessibility from the town of Seward makes it a popular destination for both day-trippers and those looking to explore the park more extensively.