I checked out Exit Glacier on Saturday, joining the many other visitors from all around the world.
The glacier has retreated an astounding 264 feet since last August, in part due to a dramatic change in the outflow of water from the ice field and glacier. The toe of the glacier lies at the bottom of a steep, narrow canyon. Exit Creek, laden with silt, pours out from under the toe and flows out into the outwash plain, splitting into many fast-moving stream channels. It was not possible to cross over to reach the toe as the fast-moving creek is pinched against the canyon walls on both sides, but the views of the glacier and surrounding mountains were spectacular.
Despite the tremendous loss of ice, Exit Glacier is still very impressive with its blue ice and rugged crevasses, flowing down from the Harding Icefield. Many visitors enjoyed the free guided ranger walks and talking with roving rangers. According to their website, the 1 1/2 hour ranger-led walks are offered four times a day through September 4; 10 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm daily, starting at the Exit Glacier Nature Center.
Pavilion talks, 20 minutes long, are offered daily at 12:30 pm until September 4, near the Nature Center.
For those wishing to hike the Harding Icefield Trail to Marmot Meadows with a ranger, this strenuous, 2.8 mile round-trip hike departs daily at 9 am through September 4. Allow 3 to 4 hours.
A visitor was overheard asking a ranger when the park closed. She replied, “The Nature Center is open from 9 am to 8 pm, but the park never closes.” He seemed very pleased about that, and continued up the Edge of the Glacier Trail.
Note: the Nature Center hours will be 9 am to 5 pm starting September 5th, and will close in the middle of September.