Kayaking the Fjords of Alaska

kayaking the fjords of alaska

Eric Nummedal and Zack Lawson embarked on a kayak trip in Kenai Fjords, filming as they went, and documented their trip in this new video:


Kayaking in Kenai Fjords in the National Park

Eric shares:

“The [Aialik] Bay is an amazing place to kayak because it allows you to take in the beauty of this open space, as you observe the flora and the fauna around you, and these dramatic mountains that have been carved by glaciers. It’s this sense of motion through the stillness of the wild that brought us to Kenai Fjords National Park.”

The guys made the 4-hour crossing across Aialik Bay to Aialik Glacier. They were able get closer in their kayaks than bigger boats, and loved how they could feel the swells of the water roll beneath them as the glacier calved off chunks of ice.

kenai fjords map
Highlights from Eric and Zack's three days kayaking in the Aialik Bay area


The next day they were on the water by 4:30 a.m. (thanks to Alaska’s summertime midnight sun) to reach the Pedersen Lagoon at high tide, the only time it’s accessible. Even then it’s only a few inches deep in some places.

Once through the Lagoon they made their way to the lake where they encountered ice bergs, seals and other wildlife, and Pedersen Glacier.

Zack said,

“All you can do is be completely humbled by what Mother Nature created. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life. I left with this deep-rooted sense of connection to the land.”

kayaking in kenai fjords
Approaching one of the park's many glaciers


The National Park Service offers these tips for kayaking in the park:

“Traveling with a guide is strongly recommended for inexperienced paddlers. The fjords are exposed to the Gulf of Alaska, with only a few protected coves. These are not waters for beginners! Landings often involve surf, particularly when afternoon breezes kick up from the south.

"Wind and rainfall can be excessive, and summer storms often push an ocean swell of three feet or more into the fjords. Think safety, and be sure to consider potential risks as well as your own limits when planning a paddling trip in this area.”

kayaking in alaska
Preparing for a day of kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park


About Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords is on the east side of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. It’s most dramatic feature is Harding Icefield, out of which flow 40 glaciers. Just over half the park is covered in ice year-round.

kenai fjords map of alaska


There are both beach campsites and public-use cabins available for your overnight stay in the park. When kayaking, plan to hire an outfitter for your trip, or a local water taxi or charter boat from Seward to take you to your desired bay. Fly-in options are available from Homer, too.

The park is located near Seward, Alaska. While the it’s open all year, it’s not always accessible during the winter—and is very dark!

For more about kayaking in Kenai Fjords, visit the Seward Tourism website.

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