Portage Glacier from boat dock parking area, August 1989
Cruise To Portage Glacier's Face

A few years ago, Portage Glacier retreated 'round the bend, out of sight from visitor center viewpoints, as glaciologists had long predicted. It's still a bit of a shock to look out from the parking lot and see no trace of south central Alaska's longtime favorite drive-in glacier. Icebergs float in glacier carved Portage Lake, though not so abundantly as a few years ago. Ten years ago a raft preceded the tour boat, herding icebergs out of the larger vessel's way. 

Scheduled movie showings of  Voices From The Ice  at Begich, Boggs visitor center provide comfortable indoor views of the glaciers and wildlife of Chugach National Forest. Admission is free. For more information, call the center at (907) 783-2326 or the U.S. Forest Service at (907) 783-3242.

To see Portage Glacier's face, board the M/V Ptarmigan for an hour long sightseeing cruise narrated by a Chugach National Forest interpreter.

Portage Glacier from excursion boat M/V Ptarmigan, July 1999

Getting there

Portage Valley lies 60 miles south of downtown Anchorage via the Seward Highway scenic byway, including a 5 mile paved spur road from the highway junction at Mile 79. Motor coach tours are available from Anchorage.