Potter Marsh boardwalk provides a bird's eye view

Turnagain Arm: Potter To Portage

The late summer "VFR" requests are in from visiting friends and relatives: Denali National Park, halibut and silver salmon fishing, bear watching, Homer Spit, a ride on the Alaska Railroad, gold mining equipment, giant Matanuska Valley vegetables at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. One group of visiting friends and relatives has a week to see all of Alaska; another set, sailing up the Inside Passage on a cruise ship, has a couple of days from Seward's dock to Anchorage's airport. We pack in all we can. And every visit includes beautiful Turnagain Arm.

Canada geese with goslings and a big bull moose in velvet

Watchable wildlife, especially migrating and nesting waterfowl, offer great viewing opportunities from the boardwalk at Potter Marsh. Courting displays, nesting behavior and baby ducklings and goslings getting their first taste of marsh life occur in full view. Gulls and terns, small mammals and spawning salmon appear in season. Moose or bears are less predictable. Bring binoculars for the best views and a camera to record your sightings.

Getting there

A dozen miles south of downtown Anchorage on the Seward Highway, the city drops behind as a magnificent view of Turnagain Arm and surrounding mountains suddenly appears. From there to the Portage Glacier turnoff, this scenic byway traverses 40 miles of truly spectacular scenery with a variety of watchable wildlife and myriad recreational opportunities. 

Motor coach tours are available from Anchorage. Alaska Railroad trains connect Anchorage and Seward and shuttle passengers and vehicles between Portage and Whittier for access to Prince William Sound. If you are driving and have more time, continue on to Turnagain Pass and the Kenai Peninsula.