Kayak in front of a massive tidewater glacier, one of the largest and most actively calving in Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you're visiting Alaska, you're probably there to see glaciers, and Aialik Glacier is worth the money and time to see. Imagine a towering 1.5 mile wide glacier surrounded by rugged peaks and a thick green forest rising from the blue water. The chance to spot whales, puffins, sea lions, porpoises, eagles, and more. Large and small icebergs floating by your kayak and the thundering sound of more calving in front of you. It's all only a 2-3 hour boat ride from Seward!

There a number of ways to see the glacier whether you take a guided kayak trip, stay overnight at the nearby lodge or a forest cabin, or arrange your own kayaking camping trip with a boat shuttle. There are a number of companies in Seward that can provide arrangements for all of these solutions such as: Millers Landing, Liquid Adventures, and Kayak AK. You'll likely need to book with a good amount of lead time during peak season but you can sometimes find last minute openings on weekdays.

A guided kayak day trip typically lasts 10-12 hours including the boat ride out/back and time spent exploring on land as well. On the boat ride out you have the chance to see marine wildlife and some companies even offer a combo of fishing and kayaking; the rockfish look ugly but taste amazing! Once you've been dropped off at a nearby beach the guide will go over the techniques for sea-kayaking and safety rules. You'll spend 1-2 hours paddling to the glacier face where you'll have the chance to slip between ice from recent calving events and take in the incredible surroundings. After paddling in front of the glacier from a safe distance you'll pull ashore at a nearby ice strewn beach and eat lunch before heading out for more paddle time around the glacier (some companies will also allow time to hike around the beach area). You'll then paddle back to your pickup beach and probably spend the next couple hours dozing on and off as you ride back to Seward. I recommend stopping by the Salmon Bake Restaurant if you're really hungry when you're done, it was the best salmon I've ever had!

Tip: If you're camping I recommend staying at the Seward city campgrounds to be close by for an early start!

WARNING!!: Aialik Glacier is an active tidewater glacier that can release massive pieces of ice at any moment, if you're too close you can be seriously injured or killed by flying ice, icebergs, and massive waves. When we were there a 1/4 mile piece of glacier broke off sending an iceberg laden tsunami our way. We were 20 ft just far enough away that the wave crest broke in front of us and we were able to barely make it through the large swells safely by "rafting" with our guide. This is also good info to keep in mind when on the beach, the landing spot we were approaching was also slammed with large pieces of ice and a wave that washed multiple feet over it.

Pack List

  • Kayak, PFD, Paddles
  • Dry Bags
  • GPS or map of the area if going unguided, I use GaiaGPS
  • Warm synthetic or wool layers
  • Waterproof or rubber boots
  • Waterproof gloves, neoprene recommended
  • Rain jacket and pants (breathable gear is nice when it's sunny, rubberized is better when it's really pouring)
  • Hat, I use this rainproof one from OR
  • Snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Camera or phone and waterproof housing or bag

Always check with your guide or shuttle company before departing to make sure you have all the necessary gear!

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Activities Photography, Kayaking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Scenic

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