Imagine yourself trekking across the great white north: the cold wind whipping across your face, up to your knees in a blanket of snow. This and more awaits you at the kenai fjords. Visitors who come to kenai fjords will lay witness to sights that seem out of place in this day and age: a landscape shaped by glaciers and earthquakes and other convulsions of Mother Nature.
Fauna that range from killer whales, otters, bear, moose and more are just a few of the dozens of animals that make their home in this ever-changing and evolving environment where the mountains, ice and ocean meet. Kenai Fjords is overshadowed by the Harding Ice field, a relic from the last ice-age and the largest existing ice-flow that sits entirely within the borders of the United States. Furthermore, kenai fjords offers a range of activities for visitors that allow them to explore, study and enjoy this unique natural environment.
Visitors can only enter Kenai Fjords National Park by entering the boat harbor in the small town of Seward. Seward is a three-hour drive south of Anchorage and reaching it is an adventure in itself. The town can also be reached from Anchorage by train or bus. Sward has a small airport, too. A flight from Anchorage takes 35 minutes. This is the same town where the park's visitor center can be found. Cruise operators on site offer tours ranging from a few hours to an entire day that takes visitors into the coves, and out to the islands that make up much of kenai fjords.
The lure of gold attracted the first humans to the kenai fjords. In fact, Seward was founded in the early 1900's by surveyors plotting a route for the Alaska Railroad. It was a trail head for miners and suppliers heading up the famous Iditarod Trail to the Interior gold fields.
The smell of the Mother Lode may have attracted the first visitors to kenai fjords, but the areas natural wonders kept people coming back long after the gold played itself out. Kenai Fjords Park includes waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and a variety of wildlife (from black bears to harbor seals) that will satisfy even the most hardcore naturist. Its islands include sea lions, and the rocky coastline and islands of Kenai Fjords Park contain rookeries for a wide variety of seabirds (including gulls, kittiwakes, and puffins). The waters in and around the Kenai Fjords Park support sea otters, salmon, halibut, porpoises and whales.
Kenai Fjords Park offers wildlife tours by boat, fishing excursions, kayaking, and plenty of hiking opportunities. One point to remember: Resurrection Bay gets a lot of snow in the winter, but it's ice-free. Thus, wildlife boat tours of Resurrection Bay are available all year round. Some of the boats have naturalists aboard, and some feature guided tours by Kenai Fjords Park rangers.
Kenai Fjords Park isn't for lightweights though. The elements create a tough environment: be prepared for rain as the town of Seward averages about 117 days of precipitation a year. During the autumn months, heavy weather moves in making travel to the fjords difficult at best. And high winds can be expected any time of the year. Dress for unexpected.
Yet for all its surprises, a trip to kenai fjords has all the ingredients to be the trip of a lifetime.