Harding Ice Field Trail

HARD 137 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
3812 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

2 months ago

Great trail to get a workout on

2 months ago

The view is phenomenal. Hike is hard, so it'd be better if one is physically active.
Carry good amount of food and water and avoid hiking in rain if you don't have proper supplies.

4 months ago

Astounding views

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful trail with great views. a little bear activity on the trail but no issues. This is a must do if you are in the area.

hiking
6 months ago

We had done this in 2015 July and this remains the most beautiful hike I have done till date. It's tiring but the views are breathtaking!

hiking
6 months ago

Great day trip. Nothing but steep incline so have your legs rested and ready. Well maintained until you get past Marmot Meadows, then the snow makes it a little difficult to stay on the trail. Well worth the effort to go all the way up, the view from the end of the trail over the ice fields is spectacular. Just keep pushing!

backpacking
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months 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 :)

hiking
6 months 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
7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

hiking
7 months 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.

7 months 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.

7 months 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
8 months ago

Beautiful hike!!

backpacking
8 months ago

Spectacular hike! Breathtaking views all along the hike. The mileage and elevation gain written here is incorrect. The trail map is incorrect too. The trail stops about 0.2 mi after the emergency shelter. It is 8.8 miles and ~3200ft of elevation gain (including part of the nature walk which is 0.3mi one way). Actual map and mileage from NPS website: https://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/upload/HIT_New_Distances_reduced.pdf

8 months ago

One of my top 5!

8 months ago

Amazing hike ! Different landscapes as we go up and the view at the top is breathtaking. A must for one day hike

hiking
8 months ago

Took approx 5 hr 15 min round trip while stopping for pictures and food. Great views from the top!

8 months ago

A wonderfully maintained trail awaits the experienced hiker on this route. The views only get better as you go up, and definitely keep going past Marmot Meadows. Take pictures both up and down, as you never know when the clouds and rain will roll in. Mountain goats near the peak, marmots past the meadow. A good hike all around.

hiking
8 months ago

On the day that we went, we experienced all kinds of weather during the hike. It started out mostly sunny, then clouds rolled in and we had a bit of drizzle at the lower elevations, then sideways sleet in the higher elevation and heavy fog. The Gulf can bring in any kind of weather so I do recommend wearing layered clothing. If it is warm you will need a lot of water and you should drink it to prevent leg cramping. All of us agreed that we were most "sore" coming down as those toenails pressed into our hiking boots. I also suggest a change of socks since you may have to jump over a few small creeks or navigate over some snow and your feet may get wet. It is easy to become disoriented when the fog rolls in and fewer people are on the higher elevations. See my pictures to get an idea of what I mean. It will take the better part of the day to do this hike, but it is so worth it!

9 months ago

Excellent day hike. We saw a black bear, marmots, mountain goats and a glacier of course. The wild flowers were amazing but a few areas were pretty buggy. Roughly six hours but could have used a bit more time. Call Greg's taxi if you don't have a car.

9 months ago

beautiful hike, 7 hours with our 7 and 9 years old daughters, stunning landscapes and a lot of fun in the snow!

hiking
9 months ago

I started at 8:30am yesterday and made it back and signed the trail visitors log at 2:30pm. I stopped a few times along the way to snack and admire wildlife and also spent about 30 mins at the top eating lunch. I think I was the first person on the trail; the only other fresh prints I saw in the snow were those of a girl I ran into who was hiking back down after camping at the top for a night. It was nice to be able to get out there early by myself. I saw a ptarmigan and it's chicks and for a while I probably saw a marmot every five minutes. Coming back down, I ran into a bunch more people. The snow was a bit slicker due to heavier foot traffic and the sun.

hiking
9 months ago

The trail is well maintained and gets a good amount of traffic. For a moderately active person plan on 5.5 to 6 hours.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked it today. It took us about 3 hours to the top, but only about 2.5 down. I loved Marmot Meadows and think the view there was better than at the top. I am glad I went all the way, but if you don't make it, at least hold out for the Meadows. The snow was a bit slick, but not bad. Great hike and very busy today.

9 months ago

The views were spectacular and well worth the hike. It was amazing to see how the landscape changed the further up we went and to witness the marmots in their natural environment. Unforgettable sights

9 months ago

Love this trail! Hiked it this past Saturday and there was still quite a bit of snow up top, Beautiful as Always!

9 months ago

Awesome hike. Gets you away from most of the tourists. Would definitely do again!

10 months ago

Amazing views but need to go to the top

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