Exit Glacier

The Basics:

Total Miles: About 1 mile.

Total Time: Depending on how leisurely you want your walk to be (I wouldn’t even consider this trail a hike. If you want a real hike, without the toddler, try the Harding Icefield trail. Close to 8 miles round trip, plan a whole day. Very strenuous, but also very scenic. From what I’ve heard, you can even camp out on the icefield), allow for about an hour to really see everything.

Difficulty: Easy.

Kid Appropriate: Very kid-friendly. Easy paved trail up until you get to the glacier. I would recommend letting the little one walk the paved trail on his/her own (if they’re old enough, of course) and then carrying them up the rocks to the glacier.

Dangers: Wildlife- Moose and bears frequent the area (evidence lies in the droppings all along the paved walkway). Also, the rocky area towards the end of the trail could be dangerous for small children trying to climb on their own. One final warning, don’t get too close to the glacier ice walls. A tourist was killed back in the 1980’s when the glacier calved on top of their head.

Reasons to do this hike: It’s an easy walk that yields beautiful views. Get up close and personal with a quickly retreating glacier (quickly in glacial terms, of course).

The Journey

Before realizing how crazy the Caines Head hike would be, we had decided to also hike the Exit Glacier trail, as it was only about fifteen minutes outside of Seward (and conveniently, also the second hike in our book). So, after a wonderfully relaxing stay in our hotel room, we woke up early the next morning for breakfast and headed out again for some more hiking (this time more of a light walk, thank goodness).

If you drive about five minutes outside of downtown Seward (heading back towards Anchorage) and take a left on the confusingly named Herman Leirer road (you’d think they’d just call it Exit Glacier rd., since that’s where the road ends), you’ll be on your way towards the glacier. After following this road about ten to fifteen minutes (watch for moose), you’ll arrive at the Exit Glacier nature center and the beginning of the trail. There’s no roughing it here. The visitors center has nice bathrooms, tour guides and even a small gift shop. The trail is paved and nicely maintained, following a mile round trip loop. There’s plenty of options to veer off the trail, including hiking some river glacial moraine, but just watch out for wildlife (though it seems overly populated with the human variety, there are still lots of moose and bear in the area). You also have the option of continuing to the edge of the glacier, if you want to climb some rocks.

Ice Wall

If you want to get more up close and personal with the glacier, just continue off the paved track.

The Ice Wall

Whoa! Hey Ice Wall!

This trail seemed the perfect end to our weekend getaway in Seward. It was easy and gentle on our weary legs and Silas would have been more than able to hike most of the trail (though he happily stayed in my husband’s arms the whole time). It only takes about an hour to take everything in at a gentle pace and you get the chance to see a beautiful glacier, complete with light blue ice walls right next to you! If you’re tired, take a break at one of the many benches made available along the trail. Need some water? Stop by the nature center beforehand and stock up. Want some trail advice or information? Just ask the friendly nature guide at the center.

Cozy Silas

Silas nice and cozy in daddy's arms.

Cheeky SIlas

"Haha, you have to walk and I can just sit here and relax!"

After a quick peak at the glacier, we were ready to head back home. The perfect end to an interesting weekend in Seward? I think yes!

Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Errign said,

    Love the Silas shots! Your recaps make me want to come visit AK and go hiking with you guys!

  2. 2

    You definitely should! We’ve got a guest bedroom 😉

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