One of the most unusual railroad trips in Alaska is the Alaska Railroad's Spencer Whistle Stop Train. Also parking can be difficult if you go later. You’ll have about twenty minutes to marvel and take photos before hopping back on your snowmobile and racing back to the super jeep. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Portage Glacier is in retreat, and is no longer visible from the center’s observation decks and telescopes, but the center is still an interesting stop thanks to exhibits that let visitors walk through a simulated ice cave, view live ice worms or touch an iceberg. The journey starts at Jostedalen Hotel. 3. Stop in and see them while you can! The glaciers are so beautiful, and it is sad to see them going away. Portage Valley is a 14-mile long isthmus that conjoins mainland Alaska to the Kenai Peninsula. © 2020 Alaska Travel Industry Association There are a few benches for hikers to rest. Request your free official State of Alaska vacation planner. Luckily, with this tour, you don’t have to worry about logistics or conditions and can focus on enjoying the sights. There are a few benches for hikers to rest. My husband and friend hiked across Portage Lake last March. The special run departs from the Portage station for Spencer Glacier, where at a viewing area of the ice there are also interpretive trails and a group campsite for visitors to spend the night. Monthly travel tips, highlights and savings! Also, visit the popular attractions in the … Image of travel, nature, outdoors - 63706430 On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, two photographers, a model and I headed out onto Portage Lake for a styled bridal shoot. Although the former village of Portage is basically a ghost town, it’s still one of Southcentral Alaska’s more popular roadside attractions for one big reason – Portage Glacier. So if you are short on time just turn back at the top of Portage Pass. Situated in Chugach National Forest about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Anchorage, Portage Glacier ranks as one of Alaska’s most visited attractions. Our glaciers hold a special secret during the cold months of winter. Portage Glacier is melting, and in turn feeding Portage Lake, the central hub from which tourists visit and watch the glacier slowly recede. I’ve written about Portage Glacier at some length in my review of, well, Portage Glacier on this site. Today, the glacial remnants still visible today are the Explorer, Middle, Byron, Burns, and Shakespeare glaciers. A magical world of ice awaits! It is said that Southern Patagonia Andes look just like the last Ice Age 10 000 years ago. Ranger is informative and you get the best views from the top deck of the boa, This is our go-to area when we have family visitors, or if business people are here for a few days. Portage Glacier in located in Chugach National Forest and is one of Alaska’s most visited attractions. It's an easy hour cruise that takes you to the face of the glacier. You can either hike along the glacier's edge, and find ice caves and little streams, or you can head up to one of the ridges. Some of our group took the boat tour and others hiked. The good news is you can still enjoy Chugach National Forest and the Byron Glacier blue ice trail without risking it all. The cave's 150-metre-long walkway descends ten metres below the surface of the glacier. Temperatures had fallen enough in the last few weeks to form 6″ of glassy, crystal-clear ice on the lake, and hundreds of skaters had flocked from Anchorage to skate to the glacier. Visiting Alaska in the winter is a magical opportunity ideal for travelers who want to avoid the summer crowds. This short day hike—with an easily accessible trailhead a few hundred meters from the Begich Boggs Visitor Center—offers you big views of the Byron Glacier. Ignoring the signs posted warning about the possibility of ice caves unexpectedly collapsing, I eventually came across an enormous ice cave entrance. So if you are short on time just turn back at the top of Portage Pass. A lift carries guests 15 metres below the surface of the glacier to a fairy-tale palace deep under the perennial snows. As such, ... As the MV Ptarmigan pulls up to within 300 feet of the glacier, you marvel at its beauty – its various shades of ice blue – but you also realize, given what … Two of us skated, while the othe… Experience Alaska in the twilight of winter on a tour that squeezes in all of the highlights surrounding Anchorage. The Jumbo Creek ice cave in Root Glacier lets you stand inside a gorgeous space enclosed by blue-ice. On skis or snowshoes, we hike our way up to the very front of the glacier. Portage Glacies formerly extended from the mountains to a few miles from the highway to the Kenai Peninsula. An ice tunnel leads through the glacier to sites such as a glacier crevasse and an ice toboggan run. All glaciers have ice caves, though not all the time. Sparkling ice crystals and glittering ice sculptures enchant visitors to the glacier palace. Aboard the ship, Forest Service Ranger’s share the story of Portage Valley’s geology, wildlife, and history as a connection point between Prince William Sound and Turnagain Arm. Photo about blue ice of portage glacier in alaska. Access is via the Seward Highway, about 50 miles south of Anchorage. Go explore an icy kingdom, in all shades of blue. Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information. But hiking down to the lake is its own reward if you are up for it. Portage Glacier once extended the entire length of the valley and was visible from the road. The mv Ptarmigan cruises Portage Lake multiple times daily throughout summer on one-hour tours to the face of this icy wonder. However, winter conditions and limited daylight can make it tough to sightsee. People have been KILLED in them. Heat transfer from the water can cause sufficient melting to create an air-filled cavity, sometimes aided by solifluction. There is also video theater and bookstore. It’s also a great option if you want to explore ice caves. You can reach the foot of the glacier in less than an hour of hiking, and at that point there are a few options. Portage Glacier Directions. Portage may … Is this a place or activity you would suggest for, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Is this attraction a good place to visit on a, Is this a must-do if you are traveling with a, We took this little boat cruise part of another tour but you can also buy ticket to a shop and restaurant near buy the parking. Most glacier caves are started by water running through or under the glacier. Ice caves and glaciers change constantly under influence of the weather and movements of the ice. Discover Mendenhall Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska: Breathtakingly blue walls shimmer inside the "Glacier Behind the Town. Unfortunately you can no longer see the glacier from the highway and the only ways to get close to the actual glacier are by boat across Portage Lake or by taking the. Portage Pass Trail: If instead of stopping at lake, you continue on the Portage Glacier Road, close to Whittier is the Portage Pass Trailhead. While still massive in size, these glaciers are all that remain from enormous ice sheets that once covered the area. Cruising across Portage Lake on the mv Ptarmigan , you'll stand just 300 yards from a relic of the Ice Age and watch for fractures of ice break off the glacier and crash into the water below. It's a pretty long and winding hike down and the view of the Glacier from the lake is not really worth the long trek. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a nonprofit wildlife center located at Mile 79 of the Seward Highway where injured and rescued animals are on display. Stay in your vehicle as you swing through the center to see everything wild from a bear to a moose. train (or your vehicle) through the tunnel to Whittier. You can see the lake in a half hour, but may want to spend time at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center (½-1 hour), hike to Byron Glacier (1 hour), take the boat cruise (1 hour), or have lunch at the local cafeteria. Also in the area is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization that provides refuge for orphaned, injured and sick animals. From here it was all down hill to Portage Lake. The view of the. America is really a great place to live we really do have it all, from beaches to glaciers WOW. The view of the Glacier and the surrounding area was breathtaking. 8 mile hike rou, Portage Lake Loop, Girdwood, Anchorage, AK. Managed by Chugach National Forest, the center features a variety of exhibits where you can walk through a simulated ice cave, view live ice worms or touch an iceberg. Patagonian Glacier Ice Cave, Argentina. Your experienced guide will tell you more about their formation and show you around the caves. The day long hike will take you to an elevation with incredible views of the Portage Glacier. See photos, videos, trip ideas, suggestions from Alaskans and more. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Hotels near Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Points of Interest & Landmarks in Girdwood, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: Tickets & Tours‎, Winner Creek Trail Hand Tram: Tickets & Tours‎, Virgin Creek Falls Trail: Tickets & Tours‎, Girdwood Brewing Company: Tickets & Tours‎, Begich Boggs Visitor Center: Tickets & Tours‎, McHugh Creek Recreation Area: Tickets & Tours‎, The Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts: Tickets & Tours‎, The Roundhouse at Alyeska: Tickets & Tours‎. All seasons trip for us. Icebergs from the glacier bob in the waters of Portage Lake, while at the visitor center, travelers can see live ice worms, explore a simulated ice cave, and touch an iceberg. The Byron Glacier Ice caves killed a woman in July of 2018 the roof of these blue ice caves partially collapsed on camera in Spring 2019. The tunnel that connects Whittier to the Seward Highway is a marvel of engineering. Paxson Woelber documented the effects of the March 6, 2019 event. ". I was in the boat group and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and interesting information given by our guide and boat captain. That's the best view in my opinion. Trek To Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves. Make a plan for Wow. Caves are sometimes narrow, and cave floors might be slippery. On Byron, ice worms are common, if you get down and look. Glacier and the surrounding area was breathtaking. Conditions were borderline legendary. This is a true story. The natural glacier ice cave season in Iceland is in wintertime, from the mid-October until the end of March, with the exception of two glacier caves which are accessible all year round. The first mile up to Portage Pass was a bit steep and slippery with gravel. We hiked to Portage Glacier fairly early in the morning to beat the crowd and heat. Ice caves are mesmerisingly beautiful; their colours, of electric blues, intense whites and strange, swirling veins of black ash, contrast against each other spectacularly, and the textures are otherworldly. This website uses cookies to analyze traffic and customize content on this site. Portage Lake ice cracks up after glacier calves. Begich Boggs Visitor Center Anchorage, Alaska Pristine waters Portage Glacier Anchorage, Alaska Glacier #waterlust Whittier Alaska View of Portage Glacier Byron Glacier Trail Head Anchorage, Alaska Took a day to go exploring with some friends up at the ice caves in Byron Glacier near Whittier, Alaska. To get up close to the glacier, take an hour-long sightseeing boat cruise on Portage Lake, or hike on one of a number of foot trails that lead to the glacier. Its a beautiful hour-long drive along the Seward Highway with lots of scenic stops. And while it’s true that the valley's blue ice and glacial scenery is outstanding from Portage Glacier Rd, it gets even better if you take the short hike to Byron Glacier. If you want to gamble and go inside one, up to you, the odds are with you. With a guide, uncover the magical blue world under the Nigardsbreen glacier. Find out why Portage Glacier is one of Alaska's most popular attractions. The Portage Glacier Access Road winds about five miles from the highway, past a series of campgrounds and to the impressive Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. Portage Glacier is in retreat, and is no longer visible from the center’s observation decks and telescopes, but the center is still an interesting stop thanks to exhibits that let visitors walk through a simulated ice cave, view live ice worms or touch an iceberg. It’s a great place to safely view grizzly bears, musk ox and other impressive Alaska species. The very young captain and her crew as well as a park ranger were very, A little over an hour drive to portage glacier cruise. Outside adventure tours are heavily weather-dependent and might be cancelled based on weather conditions. You can no longer see Portage Glacier from Begich-Boggs Visitor Center. The air is so cold that tiny white clouds appear when you breathe. All that remains of the original village are a few structures sinking into the nearby mud flats and scattered stands of dead trees, all of which can be easily seen from Seward Highway. The ancient glacier is beautiful inside out. The massive earthquake caused the shoreline to drop between six and 12 feet, allowing high tides to flood the town and surrounding area with salt water. Ten stories tall and miles long, Portage Glacier sits at the far end of a lake, and is accessible by boat. In the Portage Valley; the trailhead is close to boarding for the Glacier cruise. TravelAlaska.com is a registered mark of the State of Alaska. This is a must see we added it on at the last moment to our Wildlife Conservation tour and we were happy we did. more. I had already been to Portage three times in the last week. The Patagonia Ice Trail therefore is a popular tourist destination, allowing to explore and admire the glacier and the ice caves. Be aware that all ice caves collapse eventually. Between Girdwood and the road to Whittier is what’s left of Portage. While visiting Root Glacier, you’ll have the chance to explore tide pools on the surface of the glacier as well as its ice caves, deep ravines, and moulins – the holes that melting water cut into the ice. The glacier cave is bathed in a dim turquoise-blue light. But if you get injured or killed, that's on you.... Far better to explore an ice cave with a guide. On most days, you’ll see and hear the crash of broken ice falling into the water below, as the ice slowly retreats at roughly a foot a day. For a close look at the ice, visitors book passage on a glacier cruise that takes them an hour-long ride on Portage Lake right up to the glacier. To the left is a ridge that overlooks Portage Glacier, but is quite a scramble to get up and down from. The center is located just before the Portage Glacier road turnoff on the left. Even though Portage Glacier has since retreated out of view of its observation decks and telescopes, Begich-Boggs Visitor Center is still an interesting stop. Ice Cave and Glacier Walk - Visit Vatnajökull. This water often originates on the glacier's surface through melting, entering the ice at a moulin and exiting at the glacier's snout at base level. From here it was all down hill to Portage Lake. The ice caves, only accessible in winter, open up for exploration when the meltwater underneath the glacier freezes over and leaves behind these ice tunnels. The glacier is just spectacular. *Please accept our privacy policy I have read and agree to the terms and conditions in the privacy policy. We all had a great time. Better to go with hiking shoes and trekking poles. The ice here is up to 5,000 years old. From the end of Skater’s Cabin Road parking lot, start on the West Glacier Trail and follow the trail 4.5 miles to the glacier.This is a long trek and the trail is difficult, can be dangerous in areas, and is mostly unmarked, though there usually is some surveyors tape every so often marking the way. It's a pretty long and winding hike down and the view of the Glacier from the lake is not really worth the long trek. This glacier cave forms the frosty heart of TITLIS. Visitors flock to the area in the summer to see the glacier calve into the blue iceberg waters of Portage … Visit the sheer, awesome face of a mighty Alaska glacier located just an hour from Anchorage. 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