Experience the Wonder of Kenai Fjords National Park at Exit Glacier Campground

By Ryan Wilson

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There is only one established campground in Kenai Fjords National Park, but it gets you close to the main attraction of the park (i.e., Exit Glacier), while still providing solitude. Exit Glacier Campground is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to campgrounds in Alaska, especially those located in a National Park.

The area surrounding Exit Glacier Campground offers ample recreation opportunities, ranging from glacier hikes, salmon fishing, wildlife cruises, and amazing seafood in the community of Seward which is just a short drive away.

If you’re looking for a mellow campground where you can relax and enjoy nature, then look no further than Exit Glacier Campground.

In this article, I’ll provide you with an overview of the campground, what amenities it has to offer, its operating season, and some of the fun activities you can do in the area.


Exit Glacier Campground Review

Exit Glacier Campground is located near the Kenai Fjords National Park visitor’s center, near the head of the valley where Exit Glacier resides. The campground and adjacent trails gives you sweeping views of Exit Glacier, the surrounding peaks, and other glaciers in the area.

Exit Glacier Campground is a walk-in campground only! Don’t even try to bring in an RV or camping trailer because there is little to no room to turnaround in the parking lot. While the parking lot has plenty of room for vehicles, it is no place for an RV or camper!

Exit Glacier Campground Kiosk

One great feature of Exit Glacier Campground is that it’s FREE. This is unique for a National Park, so it indicates the limited use it receives. Likely because it is only for tent camping and has walk-in sites.

Unlike many Kenai campgrounds which are located just off busy (for Alaska) highways, the campground is miles off the Seward Highway. And while it’s located close to the road to the Exit Glacier trailhead, the road noise is minimal during the day, and non-existent at night.

Campsites have good spacing between them with lots of privacy.

Be aware, this area has a lot of bears! You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times and practice clean camping methods.

Cooking and keeping food at your campsite is not allowed. Ensure you never leave any food unsecured and place trash in provided receptacles. Never keep food in your tent or you might end up with an unwanted night time visitor!

Exit Glacier Campground Campsites

The campground has 12 campsites but they are all walk-in only. Most of the time you shouldn’t have any trouble obtaining a campsite, they do tend to fill up by early evening in July and August. So arrive a little earlier in the day to ensure you land a spot.

Glacier Exit Campground site
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No campfires are allowed at campsites, nor are pets. Campsites are simply clearings in the woods with a gravel pad for setting us your tent.

There are two handicap accessible campsites with paths of crushed gravel or asphalt.

Pay attention to signage in the campground about recent bear sightings and talk to the campground host about any concerns you might have.

Exit Glacier Campground Amenities

The campground offers drinking water from a well via a hand-pump.

water source at exit glacier campground

There is a single outhouse with pit toilets at the campground entrance.

Exit Glacier Campground pit toilet

There is a dumpster for your trash. Please do not leave trash or food unsecured because both grizzly and black bears live in the area and could become problems if people don’t properly manage their camps.

Finally, there is a cooking pavilion that offers a sheltered location to cook your meals, store your food, as have a dry place to eat when the inevitable rain comes.

Glacier Exit Campground Cooking Pavilion

Exit Glacier Campground Reservations

Campsites are first-come, first-serve, so you don’t need to make any advanced reservations. There is a 14 day stay limit.

When is Glacier Exit Campground Open

The campground is technically open year-round, but is really only accessible until snow accumulates. Campers can expect full services (i.e., water and bathrooms) at the campground from Memorial Day through Labor Day; the typical camping season in Alaska.

The road to the campground typically becomes inaccessible due to snow in mid-October.

Where is Exit Glacier Campground Located

The campground is located about 130 miles from Anchorage. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the campground from Anchorage with scenic drives along the Seward Highway.

The turn off to the campground is a couple of miles before you reach Seward, Alaska. Then you drive down a relatively well-maintained gravel road for less than 10 miles to reach the campground.

Activities Near Exit Glacier Campground

There are a lot of activities within a short drive of the campground, making it a great basecamp for exploring the Kenai Peninsula.

Hiking Trails Near Exit Glacier Campground

Hiking abounds near Exit Glacier Campground. You can hike up to the Exit Glacier overlook from the visitor center. Or you can hike up to the Harding Ice field and get expansive views of the ice field that feeds most of Kenai Fjords National Park’s glaciers!

A short drive away from the campground also lets you explore the Resurrection River Trail. This is primarily a densely wooded trail with few vistas, but allows your experience the beautiful forests on the Kenai Peninsula.

Fishing in Seward

There are loads of opportunities to fish in and around Seward. Take a guided saltwater fishing charter from Seward, or fish from shore. You are also only a short drive (less than an hour) from the famous Russian River for salmon fishing.

Glacier and Wildlife Cruises

Orcas seen during a glacier cruise in Seward

Seward is a very short drive from the campground (less than 20 minutes) and offers many opportunities to view the areas marine wildlife (whales, seals, sea lions, sea birds) up close on the water. What you see during a cruise will vary depending on what time of year you go, but you’ll always see something amazing!


Summary

Exit Glacier Campground is a hidden gem on the Kenai Peninusla. It’s conveniently located to lots of activities on the Kenai, but far enough off the highway to avoid the noise and crowds that visit the area.

We were extremely happy with the campground when we stayed there two years ago and can’t wait to return soon!

Interested in learning more about other camping opportunities in Alaska? Check out our page on Alaska Campgrounds to learn about other campgrounds to explore. Also, be sure to check out our list of essential Alaska camping gear before your next trip.

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Author

Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.