Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords Guidebook

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Top Destinations (Overview)

Kenai Fjords National Park

State Marine Parks

Resurrection Bay

Aialik Bay (KFNP)

Day Harbor

Day Harbor Maps

Northwestern Fjord (KFNP)

Nuka Island (KBSP)

Kenai Fjords Maps

Northwestern Fjord (KFNP)

Northwestern Fjord

Eight major glaciers flow into this steeply-walled embayment, with Northwestern Glacier (right) at the fjord's head.

Since the early 1900s, (marking the end of the Little Iceage: 1600 to 1900) is when Northwestern Glacier began to withdraw from its teminal moraine. At the time, the terminal ice-face was more than 2 miles wide at the head of Harris Bay. For many decades the rocky moraine and icebergs blocked vessels from entering into Northwestern Fjord. Overtime, a narrow channel (Northwest Passage) was gouged-out, across the moraine by icebergs and strong tidal currents. Today, Northwest Passage provides the only safe vessel entry into the Northwestern Fjord enclave.

In Summer, Lower Northwestern Fjord is generally free of large amounts of pack ice, but expect to encounter ice in and around Striation Island and northward to the fjords head.

Northwestern Fjord Map

Ribbonfall Cove

The inviting cream-colored beaches of Ribbonfall Cove (left) are comprised of gritty granite powder. Behind the beachfront an extensive tidal lagoon and wetlands area fill the valley floor.

The shoreline of Ribbonfall Cove invites easy hiking, especially at lower stages of the tide. The best time to hike the upland terrain is in late spring before the intense, summer vegitation covers the wetlands and hillsides.