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The Aialik Bay glacial basin, in upper Aialik Bay, is one of the premier destinations for boaters and kayakers in the Kenai Fjords National Park.
Hikers can explore the south moraine of Aialik Glacier where the ice terminus is land-based but slowly receding. Glaciologists suggest that Aialik Glacier rested on its terminal moraine (4.5 miles away) sometime prior to 1700. The glacier then retreated into the deep water of the glacial basin. By all accounts, Aialik Glacier has greatly diminished in size and surface elevation, especially seen along the margins and along the S moraine. The glacier's tidewater ice front has hovered in the vicinity of Middle Rock for more than a century.
At the mouth of Aialik Bay lies Cliff Bay (left), the shoreline in lower Aialik Bay is mostly sheer rock and inaccessible.
Cliff Bay's southwest exposure absorbs the gulf swell that constantly rolls into the bay from the Gulf of Alaska. In Summer, Cliff Bay is sometimes used as a tempory anchorage by fishing boats during light weather. Note: no reliable kayak landing spots are available in the area around Cliff Bay.
The tidal icefront of Aialik Glacier (right) hovers around Middle Rock, located mid-way along the glacier's terminus.
Aialik Glacier's southern moraine (foreground in photo), has pulled back from tidewater and is slowly retreating. At the icefront, where large blocks of ice calve into the basin, note: it is also common for small (baseball-sized) fragments of ice, under extreme pressure, to shoot outward across the water's surface, like cannon fire. It goes without saying; do not approach or paddle near the glacier's tidal icefront.