National Park Service warns of ice fall near Exit Glacier

This May 2017 photo shows Exit Glacier at its outfall near Seward, Alaska. The glacier, one of the most visited parks in Alaska, been retreating more rapidly in recent years and the National Park Service recently issued a warning for visitors to stay away from its toe and sides because of the risk of ice fall. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Visitors should stay out of the area immediately around Exit Glacier because of potential icefall.


The National Park Service is warning visitors to the glacier, which is accessible by road from Seward and is one of the most visited sites in Alaska, to stay back from its immediate edge. Tall blocks and slabs of ice have created an ice fall hazard at the glacier’s toe and sizes, so the agency is blocking people from waking up to the glacier.

“Please do not continue past ice fall hazard zone signs,” a warning on the park website states.

It’s not uncommon for ice to fall from the glacier during the warm summer months. The glacier retreats every year, though in recent years the retreat has accelerated, attributed to warming conditions connected to climate change.

The Harding Ice Field Trail, a popular trail that begins in the Exit Glacier area and runs up to the edge of the massive icefield that sprawls across the lower Kenai Peninsula, is open, and is clear of snow up to about 4 miles in with some patches of snow up high, according to an update on the National Park Service’s website.

—Staff reports