Aialik Glacier: A Remote Sight Worth Visiting

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A couple smiling in front of aialik glacier.

Alaska is home to over 100,000 glaciers, and over 600 of them have names. As a result, choosing which glaciers to see on your trip can be challenging.  Even though it’s remote, we highly recommend booking a tour to see the Aialik Glacier up close. 

This glacier sits within the Kenai Fjords National Park on the Kenai Peninsula near Seward. Let’s learn more to help you plan your adventure!

Where Is the Aialik Glacier?

Located on the Kenai Peninsula in southeastern Alaska, the Aialik Glacier drains into the Aialik Bay, also known as Dora Passage. The Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains spans over 700 square miles.

The famous Exit Glacier spawns off of the Harding Icefield. It’s very easy to access off the Seward Highway. On the other hand, the Aialik Glacier is much more remote and difficult to visit.

It’s about 15 miles southwest of Seaward, which requires a two-hour boat ride. Besides the Exit and Aialik Glaciers, the Harding Icefield has about 38 other types of glaciers. 

How Big Is the Aialik Glacier?

The Aialik Glacier is the largest in the Aialik Bay. It’s approximately 1.5 miles wide and 3.5 miles long. However, the Aialik Glacier is average in size compared to other glaciers in Alaska.

Bear Glacier, the largest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, is 21 miles long. Exit Glacier, the most famous glacier in the park, is receding but currently measures about 3 miles long.

View of aialik glacier.

What Type of Glacier Is Aialik Glacier?

Glaciers are formed in cold climates where there’s lots of snow, little wind, and gravitational flow. These icy masses compress over time, a really long time!

The Aialik Glacier is a tidewater glacier that flows from land to sea and ends below the water’s surface. Both the Holgate and Aialik Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park are tidewater glaciers.

About Kenai Fjords National Park

A Kenai Fjords National Park visit may feel like a trip back to the ice age. The 40 glaciers of the Harding Icefield meet lush forests, massive coastal cliffs, and bays and coves in Kenai Fjords. Climate change is visible here as glaciers continue to shrink year after year.

The park isn’t without wildlife. Mountain goats, whales, black bears, harbor porpoises, snowshoe hares, moose, over 190 species of birds, and more animals make their homes in Kenai Fjords. It’s a winter wonderland!

View of aialik glacier.

What Other Glaciers Can You See in Kenai Fjords National Park?

Kenai Fjords National Park is most famous for its glaciers. Over 50% of the park is covered in ice. Along with the Aialik Glacier, visitors can view Exit Glacier, Bear Glacier, Tustemena Glacier, and Chernof Glacier. Exit Glacier is the most accessible and requires no backcountry hiking. It’s the only part of the park accessible by road.

These Tours Take You to the Aialik Glacier

You cannot visit the Aialik Glacier without booking a tour. It’s remote and inaccessible by car. Here are a few outfitters that will take you to this stunning ice form.

Kayak Adventures Worldwide

Kayak Adventures Worldwide offers a day-long trip to the Aialik Glacier from mid-May through early September. This option includes a wildlife boat tour of Resurrection and Aialik Bay. Then guests have the opportunity to kayak near the Aialik Glacier.

For an adult tour, guests must be at least 14 years old. Family tours are offered for families with children aged 6-13. This trip costs about $489 per person.

Keep in Mind: Move your toys with ease with some of the best Kayak Trailers!

Liquid Adventures

Liquid Adventures also offers a wildlife cruise and kayak adventure to Aialik Glacier. This full-day tour is their most popular single-day kayaking trip. It’s very similar to the trip provided by Kayak Adventures Worldwide in that guests take a scenic boat tour first and then kayak for a few hours before returning to Seward. The minimum age for this trip is 10. It costs about $499 per person.

A woman smiling on her kayaking aialik glacier tour.

Adventure Sixty North

Adventure Sixty North allows guests aged 12 and older to book their Aialik Glacier Paddle Boat Tour and Kayaking Adventure. It’s another full-day tour that departs Seward Boat Harbor at 7:10 a.m. daily. The water taxi travels through the Gulf of Alaska into the Aialik Bay.

The boat ride each way takes two and a half hours. Then guests enjoy paddling along the glacier for a few hours. This excursion costs $499 per person.

Kenai Fjords National Park Tour 

Since 1974, Kenai Fjords Tours has departed from Seward, taking visitors on a scenic ride through the national park. This six-hour tour is a shorter option for people who don’t want an all-day adventure. This tour isn’t focused on just the Aialik Glacier; you also travel to the Holgate Glacier and around the islands in the Gulf of Alaska.

This option is ideal for families with younger children since it’s open to all ages. The tour operates from May to September, costing around $100 per child and $215 per adult.

Keep in Mind: Did you know Alaska is home to 23 national parks? Here’s everything you need to know about them!

Alaska Shore Excursions

Finally, if you’d like to take a flightseeing tour over Aialik Glacier, consider booking with Alaska Shore Excursions. This company offers a 45-minute scenic tour over the Bear Glacier and Aialik Glacier areas. This excursion costs $449 per adult, and infants two and under fly free.

This helicopter flight starts at the airport in Seward and accommodates up to three passengers. Children under age two must ride in a parent’s lap. Flight tours are given throughout the day, so you can choose the time that best suits your itinerary.

Alaska Shore Excursions, a flight seeing tour over aialik glacier.

Is It Safe to View the Aialik Glacier?

Glaciers are constantly moving. Their volatility means they can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. This is why booking a tour with a reputable company with trained guides is so important.

Keep your distance and follow your guide’s instructions to stay safe. The Aialik Glacier calves all year, but the best times to view these spectacular moments are in May, June, and July.

Is the Aialik Glacier Worth Seeing?

Even though it’s remote, the Aialik Glacier is magnificent. If you can afford a tour — whether it’s a boat, helicopter, or kayak adventure — it’s totally worth it. It’s expensive, but you’ll have memories for a lifetime.

Which excursion would you like to book to see the Aialik Glacier and Kenia Fjords National Park?

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