Are you planning a trip to Exit Glacier Alaska soon?
If yes, then you have come to the right place. My family has visited Alaska several times over the years and we always visit Exit Glacier on our trips.
This is a popular destination in the Kenai Fjords National Park and offers stunning views of rugged mountains and Alaska glacier views.
Exit Glacier pours over from the Harding Icefield, (one of 35 glaciers that do) and got its name because it was used as the ‘exit’ in the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield back in 1968.
Are you interested in exploring this Alaska glacier hike? Then, keep reading our article on the Safety, Packing & Hiking Tips for Exit Glacier Alaska.
Exit Glacier Alaska: Safety, Packing & Hiking Tips
Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield Are Conveniently Located
One of the ‘drive-up’ glaciers in Alaska, Exit Glacier is extremely convenient to visit which is why it is popular among visitors.
If you are traveling to Alaska in the off-season, then you can travel to this Alaska glacier by snowmobiling or cross-country skiing.
It is located 3.7 miles north of Seward, Alaska at the end of Exit Glacier Road so, you can easily drive up here.
Another option is to take a shuttle from Seward to reach here. This is especially convenient if you arrive in Seward via a cruise ship.
The shuttles leave every hour from downtown Seward, and is about a 15-minute trip along the Resurrection River, through scenic Kenai Fjords National Park until you reach the parking lot of Exit Glacier.
When you exit your shuttle bus, your trip back to Seward from the glacier will have already been scheduled.
There is no cell service at Exit Glacier, so keep an eye on the time. Use your watch or cell phone, as you will not be able to call the shuttle company.
Look here: Seward: Self-Guided Audio Tour
Visit Exit Glacier Nature Center First
Before you begin your hike, make a stop at the Exit Glacier Nature Center first.
You can ask about the glacier hikes accessible during your visit and general information about the Exit Glacier at the center.
The Exit Glacier Nature Center is open from Memorial Day weekend to the Monday of Labor Day weekend.
There is also a bookstore as well in case you want to take home a little souvenir for your trip.
If you are traveling to Seward via cruise ship, please check out my Alaska Cruise Packing List: Perfect For Any Time Of Year
Use The Bathrooms At Exit Glacier Nature Center
There are no bathrooms on the Exit Glacier hike so, it is advised to use the restroom available at the Exit Glacier Nature Center.
The flush toilets are located right next to the center.
They are available during the summer season from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. In the offseason, pit toilets are used.
Fill Up Your Water Bottles Before Your Hike
Another thing I would advise you to do before you begin the Exit Glacier hike is to fill up your reusable water bottle at the visitor center.
There is a water fountain, and there is even a water bottle filling station available here.
If you left your reusable water bottle in your room or at home, the Visitor Center sells them for your convenience.
If you are flying into Alaska, please check out How To Avoid Getting Sick While Flying
Picnic Tables Are Available For Resting And Snacking
Of course, you must prepare yourself for the Alaska glacier hike which is why it is a great idea to have a snack/light meal before the hike.
You will find picnic tables available next to the parking lot of the Visitor Center.
Use these tables to have a light meal before or after the Exit Glacier hike.
Exit Glacier Alaska Is A Visible Reminder Of Glacial Recession.
We are all aware of global warming and how it has progressed over the years.
Sadly, Exit Glacier Alaska is a visible and stark reminder of the effects of global warming.
The Alaska Exit Glacier has been receding at a rate of approximately 162 feet a year since 2010.
When you begin your hike to Exit Glacier, you will see that markers are strategically placed demonstrating where the glacier once was during different years in the past.
Before it receded to its current location, this Alaska Glacier is believed to have originally reached Seward, Alaska, 8 miles away.
A recent picture of my daughter Victoria, from Follow Me Away, showing her disappointment and displeasure about just how far Exit Glacier Alaska had receded since her last visit in 2005.
There Is An Exit Glacier Hike That Is Perfect For Everyone
Of course, a walk or hike to Exit Glacier is a must when visiting.
What I love about this national park is that there are several hikes to choose from to enjoy the glacier view of Alaska.
Start at the Visitor Center to gather information about all the hikes and the glacier adventures that you can indulge in here.
Trust me, regardless of which Exit Glacier Hike you choose, you will not be disappointed. The Alaska glacier views from all the hikes are equally stunning.
The Edge Of The Glacier Trail
One place that I would urge you not to miss is the Edge of this Alaska Glacier Hike trail.
It is also known as the “Lower Trail” and offers you a view of the Exit Glacier as it flows down from the Harding Icefield.
This is a mainly flat paved trail that leads you to glorious views of Exit Glacier Alaska. It is about a twenty-minute walk from the Visitor Center.
It is along this trail you will notice the markers signaling the glacial melting that I previously referred to, over the past 120 years.
If you are tech-savvy, you can listen to a self-guided tour on the Alaska App on your hike.
The Harding Icefield Trail Is A More Strenuous Hike
One of the most exciting things to do in Alaska is probably to explore the Harding Icefield Trail for a beautiful view of the Exit Glacier Alaska.
This 9-mile round-trip hiking trail is not for the faint of heart.
It is considered a challenging day hike and mainly suitable for the physically well-prepared.
You will climb in elevation one thousand feet per mile for the first four miles!
Make sure to check the weather conditions for the day you choose to hike online and/or with the rangers on site.
If you are not physically able, I would recommend you to not complete it. Just climb halfway and enjoy the panoramic view of the Harding Glacier.
Look Here: From Seward: 4-hour Wilderness Hiking Tour
Take A Ranger Led Walk
During the summer season, a variety of ranger-led glacier tours take place during the day.
You can check their official website to obtain the latest schedules.
The rangers will narrate, explaining about the flora and fauna as you proceed. And point out about the glacial melting.
Rangers also lead hikes to Marmot Meadows which is a stop along the strenuous Harding Icefield Trail.
You can find the rangers at the Visitor Center for any ranger-led glacier adventures.
The Children Can Earn A Junior Ranger Badge
Are you traveling with kids? If yes, then Exit Glacier Alaska is a great place to teach them about safe adventures.
If you have children aged 4 through 12, then you can get each of them the Adventure Guide at the Visitor Center. It is a smallish booklet with activities for the children to complete, based on their ages.
After completing the listed activities, children turn in their booklets to a volunteer or ranger on duty, who reviews their work.
Then they are awarded an honorary Junior Ranger Badge.
Sometimes they make a huge deal out of it, and it is always a special achievement for the child! So, highly recommend it.
If you are on a road trip, please read my Alaska Itinerary: 15 Stops for Your Bucket List
Attend A Ranger-Led Pavilion Talk
If you wish to learn more about the area, then you can attend an informative presentation by a ranger.
These talks are held every day, mostly during summer months, at the pavilion located down the trail from the Exit Glacier Nature Center.
The talks are about twenty minutes long and focus on the local animals and the history of the area.
The Best Time Of Year To Visit Exit Glacier Alaska Is Summer
If you want all the facilities, then summer (June, July, and August) is the best time to visit Exit Glacier Alaska.
The temperature ranges between 70sF during the daytime and down to the 40sF at night.
The pleasant weather makes for a good time to visit but the weather at Exit Glacier is always unpredictable.
If you are planning the trip during the shoulder season in May and September, please note that there are not as many services available. Fewer still if you visit between mid-November and early May.
Read about Homer Alaska here: 20 Unique Things To Do In Homer Alaska
Take Safety Measures When You Visit Exit Glacier Alaska
One thing that I advise you to do is to be safe while visiting Exit Glacier Alaska.
Stop at the Exit Glacier Nature Center and ask the rangers any questions you might have about the hike or the area.
Also, do check the weather forecast before you visit as the weather in Alaska is a little unpredictable.
Make sure to let someone know of your plans to visit Exit Glacier Alaska so that someone can notify the authorities just in case. Remember, there is no cell service at or on Exit Glacier.
Bring along plenty of water. You can get dehydrated quickly while hiking here so stay hydrated.
If you are planning a longer hike, carry along quick and easy snacks.
Most importantly, stay alert at all times.
Read here if you are flying to Alaska: 7 tips for surviving a long-haul flight light
Where to Stay Near Exit Glacier Alaska
Harbor 360 Hotel Seward – If you want stunning views of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Mountains then I recommend the Harbor 360 Hotel Seward.
This waterfront hotel is located 11 miles from Alaska Exit Glacier and features stylish and comfortable rooms for staying in.
Exit Glacier Lodge – For hiking enthusiasts, one of the best accommodations is the Exit Glacier Lodge. It offers a comfortable and homey vibe which I like.
You get all the basic amenities also here like free WiFi, TV, Fridge, restaurant, and so on.
The Tides Inn – Another great option for you if you wish to explore Seward as well is the Tides Inn. I love the location of this accommodation as you will be greeted with mountains and forests upon waking up.
Moreover, they provide a fully equipped kitchen in each guest room so you can cook your meals.
Packing Tips For Traveling To Alaska
Here are some tips on how to pack lightly for your Alaskan adventure as well.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use.
You will want to consider a waterproof case for your cell phone for your Alaska trip, and these premium universal waterproof cell phone cases are a great choice.
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel.
I always use luggage locks when I travel. These TSA-approved luggage locks are affordable and come in many colors and combination choices.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse.
This roll-up leakproof foldable water bottle is lightweight and perfect to pack in your luggage or daypack when you are not using it.
The resealable silicone sandwich/snack bags are leakproof and are a great and easy way to transport food safely if you plan to picnic during your visit to Exit Glacier Alaska.
If you are thinking of bringing something more substantial with you, for a post-hike meal, these collapsible food storage containers are a wise decision.
This world traveler adapter kit can be used on several devices at the same time on your trip to see the pretty towns in Alaska.
For any hiking, good sturdy closed-toed shoes are a must. These Merrill trail shoes make a great choice.
A Columbia winter jacket with the Onmi-Heat lining, Columbia 3 in 1 full-length jacket, will keep you warm.
To keep your head warm, this beanie hat with microfiber will do the trick!
Lastly, these gloves for your hands will keep your fingers warm during any harsh or cold weather you encounter.
If you are looking for a jacket instead, this waterproof rain jacket is lightweight and will offer great protection.
To protect your head and face, this unisex wide-brimmed waterproof and packable hat would suffice, no matter how long of a hike you would be taking.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc… This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
And let us not forget the beach shoes for Alaska’s pebbly beaches. These quick dry slip on aqua shoes are a great selection.
These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you.
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better.
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