8 mile, 3,000' out and back hike along the Exit Glacier, a glacial tongue descending from the Harding Ice Field in Kenai Fjords National Park. A network of flat, well-maintained trails reach from the visitor center to the toe of the glacier. Ice near the glacier face can move almost 75 feet per day and knowing this speed is essential to calculate melting. “To be able to scan an entire glacier face repeatedly over the summer is not easy,” says Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine who was not involved with the study. Learn a little more about the park by participating in a ranger-led program, which occur daily during the summer.. Just make sure to keep your distance because these gigantic deer are famously cantankerous. -Speed of a glacier may be anything from a few cm/day to 30m/day in steep slope, thick ice and warm temperatures. 14. -Where glacier drops over a steep slope it forms an ice fall - breaks into unstable blocks -- very dangerous for climbers. The hike itself was fairly easy and the trail is well marked. Alaska is home to dozens upon dozens of glaciers, and nearly 40 of them reside in the Harding Icefield, the largest continuous stretch of glacier, snow, and cold in the United States. Their noting of the glacier’s retreat several years ago alerted scientists at the University of Alaska Southeast, piquing interest in better understanding melting at the glacier. Exit Glacier is one of the best places in the world to see nature overtake ice. “Submarine melting may matter everywhere,” says Enderlin. If you’re tired of driving, however, consider…. Usually less than 6 degrees Celsius, water in LeConte Bay is warm relative to the ice, and even other fjords around the world. Guided by a ranger, it’s one of the most popular trails in Kenai. Exit Glacier and its stream contain more than what may meet the eye. Tidewater glaciers, like this one in Alaska, experience underwater melting 100 times faster than scientists previously estimated from theoretical models. Exit Glacier: on foot. Glaciers are an inherently dangerous environment, and Exit Glacier is no exception. Greenland experiences surface melt as well as melting by tidewater glaciers. These experiences are offered as half day, full day, and multi-day trips to fit a variety of travelers' schedules. Er führt entlang eines Flusses, vorbei an herrlichen Aussichtspunkten und es gibt schöne Wildblumen und oftmals Wildtiere zu sehen. Glaciers can extend hundreds of feet below the surface, explained Ellyn Enderlin, a glaciologist at Boise State University who was not involved with the study. by Todays Alaska Team | May 7, 2019 | Experiencing Alaska | 0 comments. Exit Glacier (Seward, Alaska) This is a great choice for families to hike together. It was “pretty simple in my head, and sounded good on paper,” laughs Sutherland. A short, easy hike from the visitors’ center will take you right up to Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier, however, is accessible all year round from a paved highway. The ease of visiting the park and the glacier has led to plentiful hiking trails and attractions. There are few better ways to explore the countryside than on horseback, and a trail ride across the valley is the perfect accompaniment to a hike on Exit Glacier itself. It’s ruggedly inaccessible with the easiest ways to see it by air [see my Harding Icefield page] or by sea [see my Kenai Fjords page].. Urbanization in the area is depleting the resources these migratory birds need during their trek to nesting grounds in northern Canada and in Alaska. Exit Glacier Trail System Hike It On Your Own. Any one of the guided hikes around the glacier can teach you about the history, flora, fauna, and ecology of the area. Many of the well-known glaciers live here, but the most well-known of all is easily Exit Glacier, a smaller patch of ice that supplies visitors with both abundant hikes and one of the starkest examples of climate change in the U.S. The 7 Night Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier visits Vancouver, British Columbia; Ketchikan, Alaska; Sitka, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Skagway, Alaska and Seward, Alaska. Some of the methods most commonly used to observe glacial change---direct mass balance measurements and remote sensing---provide valuable information about glacier change. Concerns regarding the issue of climate change and, in particular, the rapid retreat of glaciers around the world, have placed great importance on glacial monitoring. Start planning your next cruise vacation by selecting a destination and departure port. In Seward, Alaska, Exit Glacier is melting at an astonishing rate. 8. All early expeditions to cross the field ended in failure, however, as the ice was simply too dangerous and too massive to cross. Visit Exit Glacier Located just four miles north of Seward, Exit Glacier is famed as one of the easiest glaciers in Alaska to reach on foot, and the only one that is reachable by car. Seward, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, USA (July 2010) Visiting Exit Glacier. 13 Restaurants within 0.3 miles. Thick stands of alder with some willow come next, followed by black cottonwood forest that slowly gives way to shade-tolerant mountain hemlock. Exit Glacier and the surrounding ice and snow are perfect for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, or riding – carefully – an ATV. All three are allowed if conditions aren’t dangerous, and few things are better than taking in the views and sights from the comfort and speed of an ATV trail. If you have the money and means, sailing from landscape to landscape, with day stops to hike and take in the views, is the most relaxing way to explore Alaska’s wild. Too much ice in front of the glacier means “the boat can’t push through the ice,” says Rignot. The nature center includes exhibits about the Exit Glacier area, an Alaska Geographic bookstore, and rangers to help answer questions about the area.. Operating hours of the nature center.. Exit Glacier Alaska is considered a “drive-up” glacier and one of the most popular visited Alaskan glaciers due to the convenience of getting to it. Exit Glacier has retreated nearly 200 feet in the past few years, and the lower trails around the ice show a clear pattern of melting and loss over the past century. There’s a hike for everyone, no matter your age or physical ability. Finding higher rates of submarine melting tells us that “glaciers are a lot more sensitive to ocean change than we’ve even thought.” Understanding the melting processes and calculating the amount of melt accurately is essential for planning for sea level rise. Its northern cousins are accessible only by aircraft, and extremely difficult to visit at any time during the year. “We are just super jazzed that we can even do this,” says lead author David Sutherland, an oceanographer at the University of Oregon. Its size and accessibility make it perhaps the clearest visible example of glacial recession and climate change available to the average person. If you’re looking for a scenic drive, Seward Highway, the main road to and from Exit Glacier itself, has some of the most coveted views in the state. Oceanographers then had to know how quickly the sonar traveled through the fjord water to make accurate calculations. 8. A new way of measuring how some glaciers melt below the surface of the water has uncovered a surprising realization: Some glaciers are melting a hundred times faster than scientists thought they were. Option to backpack and camp overnight. Seward Hotels with Free Parking Pet Friendly Hotels in Seward Seward Hotels with Pools It also improves air quality because when you start the car it doesn’t produce as many emissions. Photo by Phillip Sauerbeck on Unsplash. alaskan exit glacier. Excellent chance of seeing black bears. Instead of directing the sonar toward the ocean floor, though, they angled the sonar to collect the 3D underwater portion of the glacier face. The trail affords several excellent views of the glacier itself. Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska and one of Kenai Fjords National Park's major attractions. Further “basic” measurements of water properties, like salinity and temperature, were necessary, Sutherland explained. Prior to that expedition, Exit Glacier had been called Resurrection Glacier. You'll also get to see Kenai Fjords National Park. Required fields are marked *. Simultaneously, a team of glaciologists camped on a ridge overlooking the glacier. As far as views go, however, you simply can’t beat the vistas at the top of the glacier. Explore our cruise itineraries and choose from a variety of rooms depending on your needs and budget. At the end of the trail, opposite the glacier, a man was playing a saw. Wildflowers and salmonberry in season. The trails are a bird-watcher’s paradise, providing clear views of warblers, magpies, jaybirds, larks, swallows, and several different types of owls. READ MORE: OUR GUIDE TO ALASKA’S TOP 5 NATIONAL PARKS. The Exit Glacier isn’t the only sight to see in the area. Don’t be put off if sweat and toil isn’t your idea of a good time, however. The 8.6 mile road to the Exit Glacier Area is paved, making it easily accessible to all types of vehicles. The newly exposed landscape at the foot of Exit Glacier progresses from bare rock into temperate rainforest as plants reclaim the barren glacial till. You might see some ice climbers exploring this accessible glacier face. Alaska's Glacier Names. If you want to see it, the time is now. Certain outfitters offer tours. 9. You probably won’t strike it rich, but you’ll get a glimpse of what hundreds of Americans sought and experienced over a century ago when rumors of riches in Alaska spread through the lower 48. Markers have been placed along the lower trail, and visitors can see the effects of over a century of retreating ice, and the step by step process of nature taking over the rocks and cold. Whether you’re looking for a fun adventure or you’re looking to relocate, Today’s Alaska has the information you need to plan ahead. The more buoyant freshwater rises to the surface and then undercuts, or erodes the glacier face. In mid-November, the road to the glacier closes to cars due to heavy snowfall, so visitors can only get there using snow-friendly transportation like dogsled or cross-country skis. One of the most popular glaciers in all of Alaska is also one of the smallest. Glacial ice accelerates as the ice approaches the front of the glacier, where it drops into the ocean, said Moon. One of the most popular glaciers in all of Alaska is also one of the smallest.Alaska is home to dozens upon dozens of glaciers, and nearly 40 of them reside in the Harding Icefield, the largest continuous stretch of glacier, snow, and cold in the United States. Scientists spent weeks aboard the boat working 24 hours a day, with each scientist taking 12-hour shifts. The North Pacific Plate is gradually subducting beneath the North American Plate. And as any good explorer knows, a good look is usually all it takes. It’s part of Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park and home to a wild variety of animals and birds including mountain goats, bears, moose, eagles, and marmots. Hike as much or as little as you feel like because this is an out and back. Bears are curious, but solitary, and would much rather avoid you than anything else. If heights aren’t your passion, this might be one to avoid, but if your idea of adventure is exploring the treetops, this is an affordable option you can’t miss. We don't have novice glacier guides leading our trips, ever. The glacier’s retreat is a smooth transition from one ecology to another. Kenai Fjords National Park is a land dominated by glaciers, massive rivers of ice that flow out from the Harding Icefield. Take a personal tour of the Exit Glacier area with former Chief Interpretive Park Ranger for this area, Doug Capra. Specifically, insight from the research at LeConte Glacier in Alaska could be used to study glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. 1. But navigating a boat into the fjord, where the LeConte Glacier slips into the sea, is tricky on a good day. We got chatting with him and his wife because she offered to take our photo. Today, nearly 51 percent of the park is covered by ice. With a glacier, you have to know how fast the ice moves into the fjord, as well as what proportion is melting and what proportion is breaking off, or calving. The Exit Glacier isn’t the only sight to see in the area. “It’s a real call to action,” to better understand how these systems work. Rignot said one of the theoretical models, used for 20-30 years, was known to be a simplified version that didn’t work perfectly. “These glaciers aren’t getting lost that fast…they’ll be around for decades to come,” says Sutherland. Go north from Anchorage on the Glenn Highway and at Mile 102, you can drive down to Glacier Park. ... christiansburg, virgin islands, alaska. Only 50 of approximately 100,000 glaciers in Alaska are tidewater glaciers, and they’re some of the biggest. Monitoring specific glaciers for a long period of time can give researchers—and high school students—an idea of climate change-induced melting. The name comes from the first successful expedition across the larger body of ice to which it belongs. There’s more than enough ways to enjoy it, but if you wait too long, you might miss your chance. 1013 3rd Ave Seward Ak 99664. Want something more difficult? We've had a perfect safety record for 14 years, because of the care and attention we give to the training of each of our guides. Your email address will not be published. This means that the coastline of the Kenai Peninsula is essentially being dragged into the sea. Glaciers have a reputation of being hard to reach, but you can drive right up to the Exit Glacier of the Harding Ice Fields! Time-lapse cameras were used to measure glacier flow so that they knew how fast the ice moves toward the ocean, says Jason Amundson, a glaciologist and co-author of the study at University of Alaska Southeast. If you don’t want to deal with winter driving, you can still visit Alaska … No--most of interior Alaska, south of the Brooks Range and north of the Alaska Range, was a non-glaciated grassland refuge habitat for a number of plant and animal species during the maximum Pleistocene glaciation. Excellent chance of seeing black bears. COVID Closure: Due to the Governor’s instructions issued 11/12/2020, both the Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff building (APK) in Juneau and the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka are closed to the public through December 15th.Staff will continue to serve the public by e-mail and phones.Watch this space for updates. These “glaciers can change much more quickly than valley glaciers because of the processes that are happening right where the glacier flows into the ocean,” says Amundson. Middle of upper area may move faster then bottom and edges because … As always, however, the biggest animal nearby may well be a bear, so be sure to follow proper safety procedures – make noise as you walk, and don’t wear scented perfume or cologne. Explorers had been trying – unsuccessfully – to cross the Harding Icefield since the 1920s, when population growth and trail expansion allowed people to get a good look at the field itself. This stunning short film examines the glacier’s dramatic impact through the voice of local guide Rick Brown. Advancing or retreating ice creates some truly unique ecologies, and the plants and animals that both survive and thrive the snow and cold are more easily explored here than almost anywhere else in the United States. If trails aren’t your thing, don’t fret – there are dozens of exciting things to do around the glacier and in Kenai. showed glaciatial striations & crevasses. “These observations pretty clearly show us that there are things that we’ve been missing,” says Moon. No … The glacier is close to shore and sits roughly 407 feet above sea level. Some hikes are also wheelchair accessible. Underneath the dirt, silt, and water lies something unbelievably old, powerful, dense, and valuable… Blue Gold! Consider Marmot Meadows, which should tire you out in three good hours of beauty and stamina. Later in the season, the warmer water increased the underwater melting. If you’re looking to start exploring Alaska’s wilderness and national parks, this is the place to begin. Option to backpack and camp overnight. Website +1 907-224-9552. Exit Glacier Trail ist ein 2.2 Meilen langer, stark besuchter Rundweg in der Nähe von Seward, Alaska. After a day of hiking Exit, this might be just what the doctor ordered. From the datasets, researchers were able to calculate a total melting rate for the underwater portion of the glacier: two orders of magnitude higher than they expected. The answer, frankly, is that it’s unforgettable – provided you do a little work first. The two glaciers we visited in Alaska are the Exit and Worthington glaciers. Exit Glacier got its name in 1968 when the first mountaineering party to successfully cross the icefield used it as the most convenient way down. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- But a warming climate accelerates glacier melting across the globe, potentially through melting across the surface of the glacier, but also through underwater melting. It was their exit route. One of the most popular ways to visit the park and glacier is by cruise. Exit Glacier Nature Center. Alaskan glaciers primarily experience surface melt, since so few end in the ocean, said Rignot. Exit Glacier. You’re probably wondering why you should even visit. They calculated that the glacier melted underwater at a rate of almost 5 feet per day in May and up to 16 feet per day in August. Exit Glacier Trail ist ein 2.2 Meilen langer, stark besuchter Rundweg in der Nähe von Seward, Alaska. Start at Exit Glacier Nature Center parking lot. The vast preponderance of Kenai Fjords National Park is not accessible by automobile. Mushing with huskies on an Alaskan glacier, however, is not an experience you’ll get anywhere else. (There is a day use fee, just so you are prepared.) There’s More to Do than You Can Imagine, 10. Exit Glacier, which the Park Service says got over 181,500 visitors last year, is not Alaska's only walk-up glacier, albeit with a walk that has been getting longer as the glacier shrivels. In Seward, Alaska, Exit Glacier is melting at an astonishing rate. A Century of Retreat at Portage Glacier, South-Central Alaska. Mountain goats scrambled on ridges above and whales frequented the fjord, with seabirds dipping into the water. Wildflowers and salmonberry in season. Remember, The Edge of the Glacier Trail is accessible to the disabled, and still provides some of the best views. 15 Things To Know Before Visiting Exit Glacier Alaska 1) Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield Are Conveniently Located And Easy To Get To. But in Antarctica this submarine melting is the only type of ice melt, so understanding the processes outside Alaska are important. 9. Er führt entlang eines Flusses, vorbei an herrlichen Aussichtspunkten und es gibt schöne Wildblumen und oftmals Wildtiere zu sehen. This trail takes about a half hour to complete, and it’s easy enough for hikers of all abilities – including, if you take your time, hikers in their 60s and 70s. The Exit Glacier hike gives people of all skill levels a few different options to see one of Alaska's most easily reached glaciers. Fortunately, scientists have some time to figure it out. A great variant of the helicopter tour is the bear-watching helicopter tour, which offers the same views, but with an eye towards seeing Alaskan grizzlies up close. Looking for exercise, animals, and gorgeous views? Email. All rights reserved. Wildlife hikes, however, account for only half of the glacier’s interest. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Start studying Alaska. [citation needed] Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. And then you have this submarine melting that occurs wherever the ocean touches the surface of the glacier. The Exit Glacier Trail ranks as one of the most popular hiking options in Kenai Fjords, in part because the Exit Glacier is one of the most accessible valley glaciers in all of Alaska. We used this service to get our group of six from downtown Seward to Exit Glacier, because we did not have wheels of our own. Exit Glacier is known for being one of the most visited of Alaska"s glaciers, likely because it’s accessible via the Seward Highway. “When you aren’t wishing for better weather…it was a pretty awesome place to be,” says Sutherland. Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska and one of Kenai Fjords National Park's major attractions. Lichens and pioneer plants colonize rock and silt close to the ice. You’re welcome to wander the trails yourself, but a ranger-led walk is a far better option for anyone wanting to learn about glacial ecosystems. 15. The new name stuck. You’ll have to make that judgment yourself, of course, but the overwhelming consensus of previous visitors is excitement and appreciation. 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