NPR Reviews Provided by
Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge
Langhamr from: Lausanne, Switzerland
Trip Type: Couples
Published Date: Sep, 14, 2022 Travel Date: Jul, 1, 2022 Rating: 5
Amazing place - highly recommended!
Highly recommended for people to experience wilderness Alaska, especially those new to the backcountry. We cannot wait to go back & will try their other lodges as well. Probably the most impressive eco-lodge we've ever seen. Wonderful facilities, beautiful cabins, great activities, super staff but very low profile & incorporating amazing construction & management techniques to minimise visibility & impact. Wonderful hikes, kayaking & canoeing. Tons of activities for everybody. Lots of wildlife & glaciers. We have been to this park several times & have lots of backcountry experience. We will strongly recommend this place to our friends & family as a great, accessible introduction to remote Alaskan wilderness experiences but without the need for tents & hardship. Also, extremely affordable compared to most Alaskan lodges.
- Value: 5
- Cleanliness: 5
- Service: 5
ImmerWandern from: Palos Heights, Illinois
Trip Type: Couples
Published Date: Jul, 31, 2022 Travel Date: Aug, 1, 2021 Rating: 5
Incredible experience. A feast for the senses.
This was our third and final lodge on Alaska Wildland Adventure’s Rivers, Backcountry & Fjords itinerary and there could have been a better way for our Kenai Peninsula adventure to conclude; a better word would actually be to "culminate" because as fantastic as our experiences were at KRL and KBL (acronyms for Kenai Riverside and Backcountry lodges respectively) our 3-night stay at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge topped it all. This lodge will be henceforth be referred to as KFGL for brevity's sake and in keeping with Alaska Wildland lingo.
I can only wholeheartedly agree with and give support to the laud and praises the other TA reviewers before me have expressed with regards to the high quality experience of staying at KFGL. Much of what I will be saying will have been mentioned by others but I believe bears repeating for those thinking of staying at KFGL.
First point is that it is not the easiest place to get to. KFGL is the only lodging within the national park. Like KBL it is off the grid, and it is not accessible by land. Everything and everyone comes and goes by boat from Seward. And so the KFGL experience begins even before you arrive. Please see my reviews of the ride with "Weather Permitting" as well as of the Kenai Fjords National Park for details regarding the boat trip/cruise/exploration that was our introduction to the region. The potential for wildlife spotting is tremendous and rewarding. What one needs to know is painted on the bow of the vessel: you can sail to and from KFGL only weather permitting. We heard from others whose arrival was delayed a day due to stormy weather. One reviewer had mentioned being "weathered out" on a previous attempt to visit. One of our fellow visitors mentioned having lost 1 day due to weather. Unfortunately this is an aspect of travel to Alaska and one that significantly affected one of our other tours during our stay in Alaska. Just be prepared for the possibility but hope for the best. Our visit to KFGL was weather-affected in that our introduction to canoeing could not take place on the afternoon of our arrival due to the windy and choppy water in the lagoon. Otherwise we lucked out, weather-wise.
You arrive with a beach landing in Aialik Bay, in view of the namesake glacier but no lodge in sight. It is about a mile hike away on a variety of surfaces including sand, stone and muddy trail. Your luggage will be delivered by small 4X4 vehicles. Visitors unable to walk that distance can be brought by those vehicles to the lodge. The walk is a pleasant introduction to the land around KFGL and an early chance to spot wildlife. Once you get to the lodge and refresh and clean up you will be advised as to how to sign up for the activities; each day will see new arrivals, departing guests and those in the middle of their stay. Each has a different priority level with regards to booking the activities. This in turn has an affect in the timing of your breakfast and dinners. There can be a lot to keep track of but the staff do a great job of making sure you know when and where to be for everything.
This brings me to my next point. There is a lot to experience at KFGL and I strongly recommend a 3-night stay so you can try all the outings offered and still have a chance to slow down and even stop to take deep breaths and absorb the natural wonder surrounding you. The main activities are: day-long sea kayak to Aialik Glacier, Addison Lake canoe and hike, Pedersen Glacier canoe and hike, Rainforest nature walk and the Ridge climb. We did all of these except for the Ridge; it had rained the day before and the trail was apparently extremely muddy. Guests who had made the climb, however, all agreed it was worth the effort. If you stay for 2 nights you will most likely spend the single full day on the Aialik Glacier kayak trip. There were talks on offer every night.We only got to attend one talk in which Jim - retired English professor, as it turned out - spoke about the role the trade in sea otter and seal furs played in the history of Alaska.
Talking of sea otters, the lagoon in front of the lodge was full of otters, some of them forming small groups known as rafts. We observed them from the deck by the lodge, from the rocky sea shore and from the canoes as we crossed the water. They often popped up and stared at us curiously. Most ignored us completely, busy grooming themselves or caring for their young.
We saw black bears every day. They were usually on the far shore, scavenging for the carcasses of beached salmon. My wife and I were enjoying the sunset from bottom of ramp leading to the beach. We suddenly heard heavy rustling from our right and a massive, fat black emerged. It slowly headed our way and we slowly backed away up the ramp. It slowly ambled past where we had just been sipping wine watching the sun set behind the mountains. We mentioned this close encounter to Jim and his response was "Yes, of course. Isn't that great?" I later found old pictures on TA of a black bear passing in front the ramp exactly the same way ours had.
We paddled canoes to do the hike to Pedersen Glacier as well as to hike to Addison Lake where we canoed again. Harbor seals, sea otters and bufflehead ducks were in the water by Pedersen. In Addison we spotter mute swan, common goldenye ducks, a sharp-shinned hawk, double-crested cormorants and a large flock of sea gulls. Addison Lake was full of spawning salmon. We took the rainforest nature walk and learned about the flora of the area. We ended up on Aialik Bay and enjoyed yet more magnificent vistas of snow-capped peaks and the Aialik Glacier. We watched fellow guests out on the water in sea kayaks. Hundreds of washed-up jellyfish lined the shoreline. Shorebirds spotted included surf scoters and piping plovers.
The highlight of our outings was the day spent on the sea kayaking to the Aialik Glacier. We started with a group meeting, pre-trip instruction/talk. We were led by a trio of fun, knowledgeable, energetic trio of women: Vix (Victoria), Zoraya (well-known to us from Backcountry lodge) and Jen (the trip leader this day). Another group had been fortunate to have a pod of orca swim past and one orca even emerged among them! We weren't so lucky but had an amazing time even so. We crossed over to Slate Island where we hauled up onto a stony beach for a breather. We then headed out to Aialik Glacier; there weren't any sizeable icebergs in the water, just small chunks of ice called "bergy bits". We spent while near the foot of the glacier; our guides kayaked around us offering to take pictures of us in the kayaks with the glacier in the background. We eventually headed back to Slate Island for another break and hot chocolate drinks. There was a small flock of puffins in the water. We eventually returned to the lodge where, 8 hours after the pre-kayak talk, we enjoyed "glacier-itas".
The log cabins were comfortable and we slept well, usually quite tired after a day of physical activity. Nights weren't too cold. The cabins were set back a little from the water's edge such that shrubs and trees partly blocked the view of the lagoon and glacier, but the vegetation also provided some privacy from the nearby cabins.
We did not get to hike up to the ridgeline for what was an amazing overlook. Nor did we get to try out the large wood barrel sauna.
There is so much more I could say about KFGL but suffice it to say we unconditionally recommend staying here if visiting Kenai Fjords.
- Sleep Quality: 5
- Service: 5
CindyandJohn90503 from: Torrance, California
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: Jan, 28, 2022 Travel Date: Jun, 1, 2021 Rating: 5
An Extraordinary Experience
- what a treasure this place is. From the cabins, to the food, to the adventures, this place gets everything right. Of course, that only happens with fantastic staff, and this place has them in abundance. Everyone who works here is kind, fun, and shockingly well-educated on outdoor education. Patient too. We are all trying new stuff, and they are supportive and work with each person individually to make each guest fell comfortable and included, regardless of athletic level. The cabins are clean, cozy, and spacious. We slept like rocks. I was thrilled to discover they have some rooms set up for three adults as I took my two grown sons on this trip with me and it is so much nicer when each person has a bed to themselves, so that was a huge perk. This area of Alaska is cold, even in summer, but the rooms stayed toasty. Hot water for the in-room shower comes on quickly too. But my favorite feature of the cabin is the view. The cabins have sliding glass doors and a porch with rocking chairs which will steal your attention and make it hard to stop staring at Pederson Glacier all night !
- The food is really delicious at this lodge. We had full breakfast choices each morning, hearty sandwiches and soup for lunch, and well-crafted dinners each evening. I think they bake their own bread too. My younger son is a veterinarian and he was able to get delicious meals too. There is a bar across from the dining room where you can get free sodas, coffee, tea, and snacks throughout the day, and wine or “glaceritas” for a small charge in the evenings. I highly recommend the glaceritas. The adventures crafted each day were a blast. We picked this place based on their immersive experience hand-crafted for the guests. The education on conservation was exceptional and the staff really know their stuff. They are happy to impart their knowledge as you go on a guided hike, canoe paddle, or kayaking experience. It’s all beautiful country, so you pick what matches your energy and curiosity level. We did an all-day kayaking trip one day to Aialik Glacier (highly recommend) then a morning hike and afternoon canoe paddle + nature trail walk to Pederson Glacier the second day.
- They also have environmental topics presented each evening out on the deck.
- They have a full gear deck which was extremely helpful. They have a huge supply of rubber boots (Wellies) which are critical in the muddy and wet conditions, rain pants, rain jackets, paddle spray skirts - all in heavy supply, and multiple sizes. trekking poles for trail walking too.
- The property is beautifully designed, low impact, and blends in with the natural surroundings. The Finnish sauna is an added treat.
- The boat ride out and back is an exceptional way to see Resurrection Bay as well. We saw Orcas on the boat ride in and Humpback whales on the way back.
- Find a way to stay at this place for a few days if you are serious about seeing Kenai Fjords, we made memories for a lifetime here.
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: Aug, 28, 2021 Travel Date: Aug, 1, 2021 Rating: 5
Spectacular setting and lodge
Our family had a great visit. Most of our trips in the wilderness/backcountry we go on our own and backpack, but this was a welcome introduction to backcountry luxury. My daughter loves otters and we saw sea otters every day. This truly is a special place. The setting is as scenic as it gets and the lodge and cabins are designed so as not to intrude on the environment. We booked 3 nights and ended up staying 4 because of weather. It was not a bad place to be stranded for an extra night!Be sure to heed their guidance on scheduling a buffet day after your stay. We did most of the activities available including kayaking to Pederson and Ailiak glaciers, the ridge hike, and canoe/hike trips to Pederson and Addison lake. All of it is exceptional and not too strenuous. The ridge hike is probably the most difficult, but in good weather it’s spectacular. The guides were all great, as was the food.
Trip Type: Couples
Published Date: Jul, 26, 2021 Travel Date: Jul, 1, 2021 Rating: 5
Every bit as spectacular as the pictures show.
A once in a lifetime experience, absolutely first class trip. Just the boat trip alone to get there was great. Sea kayaking was fun, with newer boats, appropriate gear, and knowledgeable guides. Fun paddle in big canoes in the bay in front of the lodge. Read their web page, they are overly modest with descriptions. Food was gourmet, too much so for this old boy.