Exit Glacier

Harding Icefield, Alaska 99664, USA

One of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers, this behemoth spills from the 1,813-square-kilometer (700-square-mile) Harding Icefield. Reach its edge via a moderately strenuous, 3.9-kilometer (2.4-mile) roundtrip hike or just catch a glimpse from the spotting scope at the ½-mile mark (wheelchair accessible). For decades, Exit Glacier was losing an average of 13 meters (43 feet) per year, but its melting rate has nearly tripled since 2008. This has made the spectacular landscape a poster child for climate change, especially after President Barack Obama trekked there to raise awareness.

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Hike to Harding Icefield

While in Seward, Alaska one must take the hike along the Exit Glacier up to the Harding Icefield. It is a bit difficult at times, especially if there is snow, which there will be, and there are monster mosquitoes. However, it is amazing; the wildlife is abundant (and sometimes not afraid of you), the views are spectacular, and the actual icefield at the top is jaw-dropping. Note: Make sure to bring water.

Hiking on an Ice Flow

Before leaving Seward, it’s worth the effort to visit the glacier and visitor center to help you understand how these massive ice caps have shaped the geography of the area. A hike to the ice flow itself is breathtaking and can easily be done in under two hours.

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