Trailer Camping Near Kenai Fjords National Park
November 29, 2011
Filed under National Parks
Trailer campers looking for a peek into the ice age should take a trip to the pristine Kenai Fjords National Park.
Glaciers, earthquakes and ocean storms are constantly reshaping the park land. For wildlife seekers, the park offers bears and whales, as well as scores of other Alaska wildlife.
The park was established in 1980 as a part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. It’s made up of at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. Exit Glacier is the only attraction in the park that is accessible by road. So campers should bring their hiking boots, and hardy ones at that.
The Kenai Fjords National Park is open year round, but the Exit Glacier road is closed to cars during the winter months. The road is typically closed from mid-November to mid-May. Campers can still navigate the park by snowmobile, cross country skis or dog sleds during the frigged winter months.
Summer temperatures tend to range between the mid 40s and the high 70s. Rain is common, even stretching out over months, and weather can be fairly unpredictable. Winter temperatures range from -20 up to 30 degrees. Conditions tend to vary, with both big snow storms and driving rain being commonplace. Campers looking for the pristine experience should be prepared for any kind of weather, as it does change quickly.
The park does not charge an entrance fee, but some activities may require permits or licenses.
The park is essentially divided into three different parts: the coastal fjords backcountry, Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefields.
The coast line is accessible by boat and kayak. The many fjords create a unique and challenging adventure for the more experienced people; it is not a place for beginners. Water and weather can be unpredictable, and hard rain and wind can be hazardous. Most landings involve surf, and it’s certainly important to feel comfortable in a kayak. It’s very common to be visited by curious seals and to even see orcas.
Exit Glacier is the easiest to get to since it’s the only one accessible by road. With many trails, easy access and ranger programs, it is a great place to spend a day. There is a trail that brings you right up to the Edge of the Glacier, which is the closest you can get to the glacier’s face.
The Harding Icefield provides magnificent mountaineering possibilities for experienced people. The most popular routes end at Exit Glacier because there is no need to have a scheduled pickup by plane or boat. A successful trip can take anywhere between six days and two weeks. Campers are advised to have a few days extra food, just in case.
The Kenai Fjords are clearly not for the faint of heart, but trailer campers can find gorgeous scenery and great hikes without going to the extreme.
To find a campground near the park, visit Alaska Campgrounds.