An ice tunnel leads through the glacier to sites such as a glacier crevasse and an ice toboggan run. On skis or snowshoes, we hike our way up to the very front of the glacier. 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. Two of us skated, while the othe… The air is so cold that tiny white clouds appear when you breathe. 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. Experience Alaska in the twilight of winter on a tour that squeezes in all of the highlights surrounding Anchorage. 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. There are also beautiful ice caves and rivulets to see, but be careful not to walk too far onto the ice of this tempting glacier. 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. So if you are short on time just turn back at the top of Portage Pass. 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. Monthly travel tips, highlights and savings! 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. Also, visit the popular attractions in the … Make a plan for Wow. Request your free official State of Alaska vacation planner. By clicking OK and using this website, you are agreeing to our privacy policy regarding the use of cookies. So if you are short on time just turn back at the top of Portage Pass. All seasons trip for us. There are a few benches for hikers to rest. But if you get injured or killed, that's on you.... Far better to explore an ice cave with a guide. Sparkling ice crystals and glittering ice sculptures enchant visitors to the glacier palace. On Byron, ice worms are common, if you get down and look. On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, two photographers, a model and I headed out onto Portage Lake for a styled bridal shoot. Today, the glacial remnants still visible today are the Explorer, Middle, Byron, Burns, and Shakespeare glaciers. Discover Mendenhall Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska: Breathtakingly blue walls shimmer inside the "Glacier Behind the Town. Between Girdwood and the road to Whittier is what’s left of Portage. Portage Glacier in located in Chugach National Forest and is one of Alaska’s most visited attractions. 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. In 2000, the, Alaska vacation packages for less at Anchorage.net. The center is located just before the Portage Glacier road turnoff on the left. Ignoring the signs posted warning about the possibility of ice caves unexpectedly collapsing, I eventually came across an enormous ice cave entrance. 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. I had already been to Portage three times in the last week. With a guide, uncover the magical blue world under the Nigardsbreen glacier. 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. The first mile up to Portage Pass was a bit steep and slippery with gravel. Some of our group took the boat tour and others hiked. Portage Lake ice cracks up after glacier calves. The good news is you can still enjoy Chugach National Forest and the Byron Glacier blue ice trail without risking it all. Our glaciers hold a special secret during the cold months of winter. 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. 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. Glacier and the surrounding area was breathtaking. 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 Jumbo Creek ice cave in Root Glacier lets you stand inside a gorgeous space enclosed by blue-ice. A magical world of ice awaits! This is a true story. From here it was all down hill to Portage Lake. Your experienced guide will tell you more about their formation and show you around the caves. 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. 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. Visit the sheer, awesome face of a mighty Alaska glacier located just an hour from Anchorage. 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. Stop in and see them while you can! 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 … You can reach the foot of the glacier in less than an hour of hiking, and at that point there are a few options. 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. Portage may … 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. Paxson Woelber documented the effects of the March 6, 2019 event. Be aware that all ice caves collapse eventually. The tunnel that connects Whittier to the Seward Highway is a marvel of engineering. 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. The glacier is just spectacular. Photo about blue ice of portage glacier in alaska. 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. All glaciers have ice caves, though not all the time. train (or your vehicle) through the tunnel to Whittier. Luckily, with this tour, you don’t have to worry about logistics or conditions and can focus on enjoying the sights. 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 Patagonia Ice Trail therefore is a popular tourist destination, allowing to explore and admire the glacier and the ice caves. It's an easy hour cruise that takes you to the face of the glacier. Go explore an icy kingdom, in all shades of blue. See photos, videos, trip ideas, suggestions from Alaskans and more. ". Its a beautiful hour-long drive along the Seward Highway with lots of scenic stops. The view of the. Caves are sometimes narrow, and cave floors might be slippery. There are a few benches for hikers to rest. Visitors flock to the area in the summer to see the glacier calve into the blue iceberg waters of Portage … It’s a great place to safely view grizzly bears, musk ox and other impressive Alaska species. From here it was all down hill to Portage Lake. 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. 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. Ten stories tall and miles long, Portage Glacier sits at the far end of a lake, and is accessible by boat. The day long hike will take you to an elevation with incredible views of the Portage Glacier. The view of the Glacier and the surrounding area was breathtaking. The glacier cave is bathed in a dim turquoise-blue light. Portage Glacier once extended the entire length of the valley and was visible from the road. The journey starts at Jostedalen Hotel. Conditions were borderline legendary. However, winter conditions and limited daylight can make it tough to sightsee. I’ve written about Portage Glacier at some length in my review of, well, Portage Glacier on this site. This website uses cookies to analyze traffic and customize content on this site. 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. There is also video theater and bookstore. Portage Pass Trail: If instead of stopping at lake, you continue on the Portage Glacier Road, close to Whittier is the Portage Pass Trailhead. Find out why Portage Glacier is one of Alaska's most popular attractions. Portage Valley is a 14-mile long isthmus that conjoins mainland Alaska to the Kenai Peninsula. Portage Glacies formerly extended from the mountains to a few miles from the highway to the Kenai Peninsula. 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. Heat transfer from the water can cause sufficient melting to create an air-filled cavity, sometimes aided by solifluction. The ice here is up to 5,000 years old. The glaciers are so beautiful, and it is sad to see them going away. Also in the area is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization that provides refuge for orphaned, injured and sick animals. Image of travel, nature, outdoors - 63706430 We hiked to Portage Glacier fairly early in the morning to beat the crowd and heat. more. America is really a great place to live we really do have it all, from beaches to glaciers WOW. 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. 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. If you want to gamble and go inside one, up to you, the odds are with you. 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. 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. 8 mile hike rou, Portage Lake Loop, Girdwood, Anchorage, AK. Trek To Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves. But hiking down to the lake is its own reward if you are up for it. This is a must see we added it on at the last moment to our Wildlife Conservation tour and we were happy we did. Ice caves and glaciers change constantly under influence of the weather and movements of the ice. 3. We all had a great time. It’s also a great option if you want to explore ice caves. Most glacier caves are started by water running through or under the glacier. The mv Ptarmigan cruises Portage Lake multiple times daily throughout summer on one-hour tours to the face of this icy wonder. I was in the boat group and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and interesting information given by our guide and boat captain. Portage Glacier Directions. 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. 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