Camping and Cabins
The excellent Exit Glacier Campground (free) has a dozen walk-in tent sites just a short distance from the glacier. There’s also a bear-proof food locker and cooking shelter.
The Park Service maintains four popular public-use cabins within Kenai Fjords National Park. Three of these are along the coast (June–early Sept., $50), and the fourth is a winter-only cabin at Exit Glacier. Each has its own treat—a pleasant beach walk at Aialik Bay, thunderous calving glaciers at Holgate Arm, and a little-used one in old-growth rain forest at North Arm in remote Nuka Bay.
Access to the Aialik Bay and Holgate Arm cabins is primarily by charter boat from Seward, but because of the distance involved, it’s cheaper to take a floatplane to North Arm from Homer (the closest town). Contact the Park Service for detailed access info.
Be sure to reserve far ahead of time for these extremely popular cabins by contacting the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage (907/644-3661 or 866/869-6887). Bookings are available in early January for the summer season, and nearly all the spaces for the Holgate and Aialik cabins fill up by the end of April.
During the winter, the park rents the Willow Cabin near Exit Glacier ($35). Ski to this cabin the eight easy miles from the highway along unplowed Exit Glacier Road. There is also a second enclosed winter-use structure nearby that is used as a warming shelter. Make reservations for this cabin with the Park Service in Seward (907/224-7500).
New in 2009, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge (907/283-2928 or 800/334-8730, www.kenaifjordsglacierlodge.com, June–early Sept.) is tucked into a woodsy spot near Pedersen Glacier along remote Aialik Bay. Located on Native Alaskan land, this is the only lodge inside the park. There’s a main lodge, 16 cabins (two beds, private baths, and a small porch), and guided hikes and sea kayaking trips. Round-trip boat transport from Seward and all meals are included. One night and two days costs $1,190 d.
Backcountry Safaris (907/222-1632 or 877/812-2159, www.alaskakayak.com) has a similar operation on state land next to Bear Glacier. Camp lodging (in sturdy WeatherPorts), water taxi to and from Seward, meals, kayaks, and guides cost $1,190 d for one day. Day trips are also available, but you’ll probably want more time to explore this beautiful spot with towering icebergs.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition