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Kenai Fjords National Park – Seward Alaska
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Overview
Location

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska – near Seward

Sights

Dolphins, whales, porpoise, glaciers, puffins, bald eagles, mountains

Distance

100+ miles round trip (by boat).

Parking Lot Elevation

Sea level

Summit Elevation

N/A – at sea level

Elevation Gain/Loss

N/A – at sea level

Time Required

As much time as it takes! A fjords tour can be anywhere from 6-10 hours long.

Pets

Not allowed on most boats. Please check guiding service for current rules regarding pets.

Fees

Yes. Prices vary by company.

Water Info

Bring a liter of water. You will be sailing on the ocean which sometimes can be rough.

Best Season

Summer. Most companies only offer tours of the fjords in the summer months

Hours

Most fjords touring companies offer morning to early afternoon tours.

Sun Exposure

You will be inside a comfortable boat.

Trail Condition

Ocean cruising.

Restrooms

On board the boats.

Visitor Center

Yes. Near Exit Glacier

Camping

Yes

Food

Most fjords touring companies offer snacks and other food items for purchase on their vessels.

Equipment

Good camera, hat, sunglasses, sweater and rain jacket, heavy socks (my feet got cold when I would walk around on the outside of the boat), Dramamine, snacks, food and water.

GPS Coordinates

Seward Harbor: 60.118309°, -149.438349°
Fox Island: 59.929290°, -149.341193°
Aialik Glacier: 59.948041°, -149.743627°
Holgate Glacier: 59.854199°, -149.873584°
Surprise Glacier: 59.839866°, -149.870365°


Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

Kenai Fjords National Park website

You might want to consider bringing some Dramamine as people can experience sea sickness or nausea while on a fjords tour!  

Note: I am including pictures of all three times I have visited the national park.

Kenai Fjords National Park is a place where you can see ocean, glaciers and mountains all mixed together.  I have visited Kenai Fjords National Park three times now and find it more and more fascinating every visit.  Since Kenai Fjords National Park is mostly near the ocean and highlights, you guessed it, all of the fjords, you are going to need access to a boat!  Or if you simply want to visit Exit Glacier then you can drive up to it (I’ll post about Exit Glacier in a different Trek).

I’m not going to post the name of the boat guiding service that we used for our trips into the national park but we used the most popular guiding company.  We simply called their business number and made reservations for the next day.  You may want to call or book online in advance as many of these tours fill up quickly!

Our first trip into the national park we were taken to Aialik Glacier via a boat with the capacity to hold about 100+ people.  The boats are large, comfortable and very enjoyable with seating for every person – they also provide life vests too.  They had large windows and one of the crew gave narration the entire way.  Please keep in mind that these cruises can be 4-6+ hours long and you will be travelling 100+ miles round trip.

Our tour departed at 8am and we quickly began our journey with a safety speech and other important information regarding our visit into the park.  You can see the Seward Harbor in the picture below.

Kenai Fjords National Park

We very slowly made our way through Resurrection Bay and we were given the history of Seward and how important the bay is for fishing, cruising and other industries.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Resurrection Bay is incredible!  We could still see large glaciers at the tops of the mountains.
Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


Many of the places inside the bay featured steep cliffs that quickly climbed thousands of feet.  It would be neat to go ashore some of these places and explore around.  But at least for our trip we were simply scenic cruising.Kenai Fjords National Park


The open ocean in the distance.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

On this particular day, it had been pouring rain the night before so we could still see the rivers and creeks flowing down into the ocean.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


We made a quick stop at Fox Island to pick up a few guests.  Fox Island is still close to Seward and the seas were still very calm to this point.  Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


The journey is a long one and it took a few hours before we got to the glacier.  So just relax and enjoy the ride!Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


Sea lionsKenai Fjords National Park

Puffins and many other types of birds were along the shores of some of the islands we went by.  Puffins are very interesting and fun to watch because they are very playful and they can dive and actually swim under the water for short distances to catch fish.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


Here are some very cool rock formations!  I don’t remember where this is located but we had the chance to come very close to this rock archway.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


More of the waterfalls and water slides from the recent rains.Kenai Fjords National Park


On this particular visit into the national park, the ocean was pretty rough for about 15 minutes.  The captain sped up to try and make the journey more enjoyable but I started to get a little sea sick so I went to the stern of the boat where it was much smoother of a ride.
Kenai Fjords National ParkOur journey went into the Aialik Bay and we saw the Holgate Glacier.
Kenai Fjords National Park


This glacier was massive! It was several hundred feet high and every now and then you could hear a loud crack and a piece of the glacier would calve into the ocean.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

I think this glacier was called Surprise Glacier.Kenai Fjords National Park


On our way back to Seward we saw a few whales breaching the surface.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


More sea lions doing what they do best.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


There were islands with tall mountains all over the place.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


Several times along the way to the glaciers and coming back to Seward, several porpoise were swimming in our boat’s wake.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


On a different trip, we visited the Aialik Glacier which is also located in Aialik Bay.  I think I liked this glacier better because it was larger and it was calving almost every few minutes.  The boat we were on spent about 20 minutes watching the glacier and enjoying the nearby scenery. One of the crew even picked up a big piece of glacier ice and brought it on board for people to touch and feel.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Aialik Glacier calving.Kenai Fjords National Park

Notice all the seaguls swarming around the fallen ice.
Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Aialik Glacier from a distance.Kenai Fjords National Park


Humpback whales making an appearance.  They surfaced a few times then disappeared.Kenai Fjords National Park


On our way back to Seward we stopped at this very cool rock spire area.  There were several rock spires that looked amazing with the fog and mist.Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park


The Return:

Head back towards your vehicle.


Personal Thoughts:

Kenai Fjords National Park will always be one of my favorite places in Alaska.  There is so much to see and experience, even if you are just watching from a boat.  I highly recommend doing a tour here as you may have the chance to see orca and humpback whales, porpoises, glaciers and more.

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Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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