Portage Valley is often overlooked by travelers as they navigate from Anchorage down to the Kenai Peninsula. However, this location is full of hidden gems for those ready to take a short detour down Portage Glacier Road.
From Anchorage expect a 70 minute car ride to arrive at Byron Glacier Road. After passing Girdwood, drive another 12 miles and turn left onto Portage Glacier Road. Travel another 6 miles and stay right when you see signs for Begich Boggs Visitor Center. Continue on, turning right on Byron Glacier Rd shortly after passing the Visitor Center. After a ½ mile on this road be on the lookout for the parking lot and pull in! (Note: During the Winter Months Byron Glacier Rd is closed and you’re advised to park at the Visitor Center and walk in from there.
The trail is approximately .7 miles in length and it is a moderate walk on a well-established trail. Meander along through the trees and then the trail follows the creek that flows from Byron Glacier. You then break out onto the outwash plains of Byron Glacier and behold a majestic sight.
Glaciers are constantly moving and changing and so each visit to Byron Glacier will look different. At times you may find ice-caves and depending on the time of year there will be fast moving water leaving the glacier. Due to the constant changing and shifting nature of glaciers, it makes exploring Byron Glacier very dangerous. Climbing on the ice is not recommended and exploring inside of ice caves has proved fatal for some. Be smart and very cautious around glaciers!
Portage Valley has been known to trap clouds and weather among the tall peaks that surround Byron Glacier and so it is highly recommended to bring rain gear and an extra layer as wind can pick up even on a nice sunny day. That is why we recommend grabbing some gear from www.LoveFromAlaska.com. They have stylish Alaska themed clothing that’ll keep you cool on a nice summer day and provide warmth if the cool glacial breeze chills you. All of their merchandise is designed right in Kasilof, Alaska and is Made in the U.S.A.! So grab some fun clothes, pack a snack, your camera, and enjoy all of the beauty that Byron Glacier has to offer!
Exploring Byron Glacier During Winter Months Notice: The Forrest Service cations against winter travel to Byron Glacier due to the steep walls of Byron Valley. High snowfall and conditions makes this area prone to avalanche risks. Visit at your own risk and always check weather reports before visiting.
-From Anchorage drive south on the Seward Highway.
-At Mile 79 oft the Seward Highway (49 miles south of Anchorage), turn left on the road that says, “Portage Glacier”
-At the end of the 5 mile road take a right at the Y
-Drive past the Begich Boggs Visitor Center on the left and take the next right.
-Once on this road, continue straight until you find the first parking lot on your right. Find a spot to park and lace up!
Distance: ~3/4 mile one way
Elevation Gain: 100-250 feet
Route Type: Out and Back
Parking: Parking lot available (bring $5 per vehicle)
What to Bring:
Decent hiking shoes or boots
Rain gear (this area is known for frequently being rainy)
A wind breaker or light jacket