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Kenai Fjords National Park  

Kenai Fjords National Park

Created in 1980 to protect some of the most incredible and impenetrable wilderness in Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is a 601,839-acre glaciated paradise lying at the foot of Seward. Snow and ice cover 60 percent of the park and crowning it is the 936-square-mile Harding Icefield, one of only four remaining icefields in the U.S. From the massive icefield countless tidewater glaciers pour down, carving valleys that fill with seawater to form the stunning fjords that the park is named after and then decorating them with icebergs the size of small houses.

With such a landscape and an abundance of marine wildlife the park has become a major tourist attraction. As far as visitors are concerned Kenai Fjords has three main areas - Exit Glacier, Harding Icefield and the rugged coastline with the beautiful tidewater glaciers. The easiest to reach is the road-accessible Exit Glacier which explains why it's the park's most popular attraction, easily drawing more than 100,000 visitors each summer. Hardier souls can ascend to views of the Harding Ice Field from a trail at Exit Glacier and experienced mountaineers equipped with skis, ice axes and crampons can continue on to explore the largest icefield that lies entirely within U.S. borders.

To see the tidewater glaciers and the park's abundant marine wildlife visitors take advantage of tour-boat cruises along the coast, dipping into such sizable fjords as Aialik Bay, Northwestern Lagoon, McCarty Fjord and North Arm, as well as sailing beneath mountains exceeding 6000ft in height. Possible wildlife sights from the side of a vessel range from sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and Dall's porpoises to Orcas, minke, humpback and fin whales. For the truly adventurous, the coastal fjords are a blue-water kayaker's dream and many utilize a drop-off service from a tour boat to spend days paddling projective fjords.

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