From climate change to energy development, various threats promise to wipe out what’s best about America’s 12 most endangered trails. Hike them now to admire ancient glacial ice, hear howling wolves, splash at pristine beaches, and discover prehistoric art galleries.
Edge of the Glacier Trail
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Last summer, Exit Glacier looked more like a snowball bobbing in a pond than the once-mighty arm of the Harding Icefield. Last year alone, the glacier retreated 293 feet, which isn’t even the most alarming part. Melting now continues into winter: October through May, daily temperatures at the glacier’s foot now stay above freezing half the time. Twice, park officials even extended the Edge of the Glacier Trail to chase Exit’s toe. Hike the easy, 2-mile round-trip now to ogle the glacier’s gullies of blue ice and listen to its crackling crawl before it makes good on its name.