Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords Guidebook

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Top Destinations

Resurrection Bay

Kenai Fjords National Park

State Marine Parks

Day Harbor

Aialik Bay (KFNP)

Northwestern Fjord (KFNP)

Nuka Island

Kenai Fjords Maps

Day Harbor Maps

Aialik Bay

Aialik Glacier Photo

Aialik Bay's glacial basin is one of the top 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 rapidly 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 elevation, especially seen along the margins as well as the rapid ice withdrawal, seen along the S moraine. The glacier's diminished ice front has hovered in the vicinity of Middle Rock for more than a century.

Cliff Bay, Aialik Bay Photo

At the mouth of Aialik Bay lies Cliff Bay (left), the shoreline is mostly sheer rock and inaccessible.

The bay's southwest exposure traps the gulf swell that continuously rolls into the bay from the Gulf of Alaska. Cliff Bay is sometimes used as a tempory anchorage during calm weather, but no reliable kayak landing spots are available.

Aialik Glacier

The tidal icefront of Aialik Glacier (right) hovers around Middle Rock, located mid-way along the glacier's terminus.

Aialik Glacier's south side (foreground in photo), has pulled back from tidewater and is retreating. At the icefront, where large blocks of ice calve into the basin, baseball-sized framents of ice, under extreme pressure, can dangerously spray outward across the water. It's not safe to approach or paddle near the icefront for many reasons.