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: 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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
In the pic below: on the trail, almost there:
Free, priceless, and hundreds of years old: chanks of the Exit Glacier in the picture below:
Kids were happy to play with it. We, too 🙂
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.
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