Harding Ice Field Trail

HARD 128 reviews

Harding Ice Field Trail is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lowell Point, Alaska that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3953 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

backpacking
1 day ago

Amazing. Thankfully had good weather, cold but that’s expected. Pretty tough hike but so beautiful and totally worth it.

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful hike with varied topography and views. Starts out quite steep with switchbacks among the trees. Plateau's at marmot meadows which put me in mind of the Shire in the Hobbit :) Sadly we didn't see any marmots (or hobbits). This place is a great place to eat lunch, take pictures of the glacier and surrounding mountains, or turn around. In fact, the view of the glacier from here is the closest you will get for the rest of the hike. It also gets more steep after this, so be prepared for gusty wind, rocky trails, and no tree cover from here on out. Beyond the meadows, you climb to the alpine zone where all vegetation disappears. Along the way you get great views of the whole glacial valley, cross a few streams, and even see a black bear high on the mountain above you eating berries if you're lucky. Bring binoculars! In the alpine zone, the trail becomes harder to follow since it's basically just rocks. The little orange flags that are supposed to mark the trail have been blown over or buried, so it was anyone's guess where the trail was. Other hiking groups would wander a different way and when they found an orange flag or a flattened section that could be a trail, they would shout out and let the others know. Near the top, there is a wooden emergency shelter that is basically the size of a large outhouse with no amenities in it. But in an emergency, this little shelter would save a life. The end of the trail is about a mile or so from the shelter. There is no official trail sign and there are many social paths near the summit where people are free to take pictures or look over the edge to the glacier below. The icefield stretches ahead of you and is a beauty to behold. This is another instance where you'd need your binoculars because viewing the cracks/crevices of the glacier and icefield are very cool when viewed up close where you can see the blue streaks. Note that the summit is far above Exit Glacier, and it is rocky with a few cliffs in order to actually climb down to the glacier itself. It's likely possible but I would never attempt it, not to mention that it's off-trail and not allowed. Finally, take care while hiking on any steep section of alpine rocks (I believe they are shale or slate) as they are not held into place and easily slide beneath your feet. Overall, wonderful hike and recommended to people who have the whole day to spend and who are in good physical condition. Turning around at Marmot Meadows is another option and would make for just as great of a hike :)

backpacking
17 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

This was a beautiful but challenging hike. I was the first one on the trail in the morning so on the way up I had it all to myself, however on the way back down many tired faces asked how much longer. Worth the incline.

backpacking
23 days ago

Excellwnt view yet very windy and cold. Worth every minute.

25 days ago

Took us 4h 40mins. Stopped to eat and take photos. Super beautiful. We had bad visibility however still worth the hike!

hiking
25 days ago

27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous and definitely one of my favorite hiking trails so far. We started early in the morning trying to beat the crowd. The first 1/3 was straight uphill and be prepared. We saw a black bear in distance when we passed the mammoth meadow, which added some spice to our hiking experiense. We stopped many times on the trail for pictures and hang out at the summit for about 15 min. We, as medium-experienced hikers, finished it within 6 hrs.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Absolutely stunning views on the way up and down. Unfortunately it was cloudy at the top but still worth the hike. A must do if your in the area.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Easily my favorite hike so far. Absolutely incredible views on the way up of Exit Glacier, and the ice field is quite the reward for getting to the top.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike!!