Kenai (Key-nigh) Fjords National Park is bordered on the north and west by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and on the eastern border lies the Chugach National Forest. The southern boundary is the Gulf of Alaska, where steep mountain valleys plunge into the Pacific Ocean, creating the fjord-like appearance. The park is located approximately 4 miles west of Seward. The most accessible part of the park is Exit Glacier, which can be reached by the 9 mile Resurrection River Valley Road intersecting the Seward Highway at mile 3.
The park boasts rugged, remote peaks, massive ice fields, waterfalls and glaciers. The terrain is steep but affords some non-technical hiking. The three hundred square mile Harding Ice Field (named after president Warren Harding) entombs the Kenai mountains, and feeds some thirty active glaciers, which are currently receding. These rivers of ice move slowly down steep slopes crushing boulders to silt, and often calve spectacularly into the sea. The Harding Ice Field is one of four remaining ice fields in the United States; they are the last vestiges of the Pleistocene era when a massive continental ice sheet covered much of North America. The ice field reaches elevations of 6,000 feet entombing valleys and mountain tops.
The Kenai Fjords derive their name from the glacier carved valleys and mountains which have been pulled deeper and deeper into the sea by the collision of two tectonic forces. What were once alpine ice filled valleys are now submerged deep water mountain valleys, which create the fjords. The Kenai peninsula sits upon the "ring of fire". The ring of fire is a geological term describing our continent's interface with the North Pacific Plate. As the two plates strain against each other the mountains of the Kenai Range slip deeper into the Gulf. These forces continue to exact their toll upon the Kenai today. In fact, during the three minutes of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake--registering 8.6 on the Richter scale--the Fjords coastline fell an additional six feet into the sea.
Tours range from 2 ½ hours to 9 hours. The shorter tours will take you around Resurrection Bay. You will have an opportunity to view Bear Glacier, Eagles, Whales, Puffins, Sea Otters. The longer tours take you out into open ocean and then into Ailak Bay. Here you will find many larger glaciers with scenic mountains surrounding them, along with more wildlife. Some tours include dinner or lunch on an island or other tours will include a meal on the tour boat. Depending on your tendency to get seasick or not seasick, it may help you to determine what size boat you wish to go out on. The smaller boats move quicker and are able to maneuver in to small places, but the larger boats may have a smoother ride.
Click for detailed tour information and to book reservations for tours and charters in and around Kenai Fjords National Park, Resurrection Bay and Seward, Alaska. Remember for those people that use my free service to book lodging, we can also make your reservations to go out to the Kenai Fjords National Park and offer a discount on these tours.