Alaska With Kids: Exit Glacier, The Most Accessible in the US

Visit Alaska with kids, Exit Glacier – Kenai Fjords National Park gem. The secret, odd and the most sadly things about it. Edge of the Glacier trail.

Besides being spectacular, Exit Glacier is the most accessible glacier in the US. No tours, helicopters, or boat rides needed to explore it. And what’s important for us, parents—it’s easy to visit with kids. Alaska with kids and Exit Glacier, in particular, was an emotional and eye-opening experience for us.

Exit Glacier is the only accessible by road part of Kenai Fjords National Park. And it has no fee for visiting, and even for tent camping :). Wow!

The saddest thing about Exit Glacier

Visit Exit Glacier until it’s gone! It is residing at terrible speed: around 80 meters per single summer and has become an icon of climate change :(.

In a couple of years, there is might be not much of the glacier to see, especially as easy as now.

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Alaska With Kids: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

Exit Glacier: location. How to get there

Exit Glacier is a 2.5 hours spectacular drive from Alaska’s main city Anchorage. The single road runs through the park (similar to Denali National Park) and connects it with a scenic Seward community.

Check the road conditions before you go.

Alaska with kids: Exit Glacier. Nature Center

To explore the glacier, park near Exit Glacier Nature Center. Ask about trail conditions, ranger programs and check out an informative exhibition about glaciers, the local landscape, and climate change.

“A bear encounter” is the most important, in the pic below:

Nature Center, Exit Glacier, Alaska
At the Nature Center, Exit Glacier, Alaska

Exit Glacier. Nature Walk and Talk

Ranger-led walks start from Exit Glacier Nature Center are a great way to discover the area with a knowledgeable guide.

We didn’t check the schedule ahead and were late for a walk, but would definitely like to participate in one:

Ranger programs at Nature Center, Alaska
Ranger programs at Nature Center, Alaska

Alaska with kids: Exit Glacier. Hiking the Edge of the Glacier

In the picture below: “Edge of the Glacier” trail winding up, Kenai Fjords National Park:

Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park

The edge of the Glacier trail is a short and relatively easy hike for small kids. Our kids were almost 2 and 7 y.o. and managed it great.

If you need a baby carrier, take it with you: the stroller won’t pass through the last, short, but steep and uneven part of the hike.

The trail leads to the observation platform where you can see the glacier up close. In the pic below: end of the trail, this is how close you can get to the Exit Glacier now:

Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier

As little as 10 years ago you could walk on it or touch it, but now, the glacier is too far and dangerous to try it. We had a talk with a ranger about it. Melting glaciers is quite sad and eye-opening evidence of climate change.

You can learn a lot from from the rangers. They know the park like no one else!
You can learn a lot from from the rangers. They know the park like no one else!

The secret of Exit Glacier: Outwash Plain

While you can’t touch the glacier, you can try to fish out chunks of it! All you need is Outwash Plain, on the pic below:

Outwash Plain, Exit Glacier, Seward
Outwash Plain, Exit Glacier, Seward

Our “brief” visit to the Outwash Plain turned out into a couple of hours – kids and we had endless fun there throwing rocks, stacking pebbles, and playing with pieces of “real Exit Glacier”. Don’t miss this sign:

Don't miss this sign: Outwash Plain turn
On a trail

In the pic below: on the trail, almost there:

On the outwash trail
On the outwash trail

Free, priceless, and hundreds of years old: chanks of the Exit Glacier in the picture below:

Piece of the Exit Glacier, or "Ice treasure". Outwash Plain, Seward
Piece of the Exit Glacier, or “Ice treasure”. Outwash Plain, Seward

Kids were happy to play with it. We, too 🙂

Kids with pieces of glacier ice
Kids with pieces of glacier ice

Alaska With Kids: Exit Glacier. Essentials

  • Dress in layers and wear comfy boots/sandals. Grab an extra change of clothes for kids, plus a water bottle, and snacks.
  • Take strong insect repellent: the odd thing about Exit Glacier are flies, people said it’s related to excessive melting of the ice.
  • One of the things we learned from rangers during our month-long trip to Alaska, was “don’t rely on a bear spray, be cautious”.
  • Take a good camera, you’ll need a zoom for pictures.
  • Please verify all the essential information for the destinations before you go: hours, prices, current conditions, etc., especially during Covid-19.

Thank you for stopping by, we are glad you are here! 🙂


Later we would see one more accessible glacier in North America, Athabasca Glacier, but I can tell, Exit Glacier is our favorite for sure.

Read next:

The second-most accessible glacier in North America: Athabasca Glacier Alaska epic adventure: 14 days road trip with kids.
How to explore Denali National Park, Alaska
Seward: small, picturesque, coastal community in Alaska

By Mrs. Grazy Goat

I am Ira, the author behind Grazy Goat. My husband and I run this blog and share our experiences about thrilling places and cultures. Our son Artem recently joined us and helps with editing.

We are very happy to have YOU here 😻

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.