Explore Portage Valley a Self-Guided Tour

Portage Valley Will Leave You Breathless

Get out of the city of Anchorage and take the Turnagain Arm Shuttle to the Portage Glacier Lodge. This self-guided Portage Glacier adventure is truly ideal for the independent traveler. Your shuttle will take you directly to Portage Glacier Lodge at Portage Valley where you can enjoy a meal and enjoy stunning hiking trails like the Trail of Blue Ice and Byron Glacier Trail.

Things to Do

If you enjoy hiking or biking, you’re going to love Portage Valley! There are a number of great hiking and biking trails in the area including the famous 5-mile long Trail of Blue Ice. Walk through pristine forests, gain unique mountain views, and even spot hanging glaciers in the crevices of jagged mountain peaks.

The Byron Glacier trail is another great hiking/biking opportunity. It takes 20 minutes to get to the end of the trail, 20 minutes to gawk and 20 minutes to get back off the trail. From the trailhead it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the cruise departure point. The trail can be enjoyed prior or after your cruise.

If you are interested in renting a bike for this tour, please see our Self-Guided Bike Tours page for more information.

Visitors also will enjoy taking the Portage Glacier Cruise to get up close and personal with one of Alaska’s well-known glaciers.

What You Can Expect

This self-guided Portage Valley Tour allows you the freedom to break away from tour groups, explore on your own, and return at appointed return times from Portage Lodge.

On the way to Portage Valley you will be traveling down Alaska’s most scenic stretch of highway known as Turnagain Arm. Your adventure includes a Turnagain Arm Tour with highlights listed below.

Please note this self-guided tour is not for the faint at heart as you will be out in the wilderness exploring on your own. This means you will need to dress appropriately and plan your day ahead of time to ensure you catch the shuttle back to Anchorage. Before you go, be sure to read up on all that Portage Valley has to offer.

If you plan to bike the trails in Portage Valley, please head over to our Self-Guided bike tours page for more information.

Please do not take food on any of your adventures around the area as it will attract unwanted attention from wildlife. Most people bring along bells that jingle or talk to their partner so animals are not snuck up on. Nobody likes to be spooked. They will not bother you if you don’t encourage them.

HIGHLIGHTS

Beluga Point

A popular photo stop with rich archaeological history. Enjoy panoramic views of Turnagain Arm and the chance to see Dall sheep and Beluga whales surfacing just off the rocky outcropping. Beluga whales are often sited during the latter part of July through August when the salmon are spawning in the area streams.

Portage Valley
There is plenty to see and do in Portage Valley, from walking through a rainforest to the excitement of visiting one of Alaska’s most famous glaciers. Hiking and biking trails abound with scenic views of hanging glaciers, mountain ranges, wildflower dotted meadows, and pristine forests.  Be sure to plan ahead and decide which activities you’d like to enjoy. Below we offer a few great options.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS TO ENJOY ON YOUR OWN WITH PROPER PLANNING

Portage Glacier Lodge
Built in 1956, this rustic lodge features a cafeteria style restaurant and gift shop. Family-run and operated, it is the only place to eat in the valley. If you plan to explore the valley you may want to grab a bite before or after you head out. The Lodge closes at 5 pm so plan accordingly.

The Trail of Blue Ice
The Trail of Blue Ice is a 5 mile lightly trafficked trail that ventures through forests, along lakes and ponds, and offers some amazing views of the mountains and glaciers in the area. The trail is best used from May until September for those who are confident hikers and bikers.

Byron Glacier
Byron Glacier trailhead is near Portage Lake. It’s approximately 0.8 miles from the trailhead to a popular viewing point. The walk along the trail is well-groomed and mostly flat with some small hills. When you reach the viewing area you will find benches to rest before you head back. We usually say its 20 minutes to walk, 20 minutes to gawk and 20 minutes to get back. Dress in layers, wear comfortable shoes and plan for the weather.

Begich Boggs Visitor Center
The visitor center features exhibits on the geology and glaciers of the area as well as an award-winning movie shown in the center’s own theatre. There are also observation decks and telescopes on Portage Lake.

CHOOSE FROM THREE DEPARTURES DAILY

Price: $49.50 each way or $99 roundtrip

Included: Round-trip shuttle service with a tour of Turnagain Arm with pick up and drop offs at appointed locations.

Excluded: Any cost of activities found along the way are an add-on paid by you.

Please plan your Portage Valley self-guided tour according to the amount of time you want to spend in Portage Valley – you will notice each tour offers a different amount of time to explore on your own.

Departure times are 10 am, 11 am and Noon.

Leaves Anchorage Downtown Visitors Center: 10 am

Arrives Portage: 11:40 a.m. (Allows for 5.5 hours at the Portage Valley)

Depart Portage back to Anchorage from the Portage Glacier Lodge: 5:20 pm

Arrive Anchorage: 6:35 pm

Duration: 8.5

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Leaves Anchorage Downtown Visitors Center: 11 am

Arrives Portage: 12:40 a.m. (Allows for 4.5 hours at the Portage Valley)

Depart Portage back to Anchorage from the Portage Glacier Lodge: 5:20 pm

Arrive Anchorage: 6:35 pm

Duration: 7.5

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Leaves Anchorage Downtown Visitors Center: Noon

Arrives Portage: 1:45 pm. (Allows for 3.5 hours at the Portage Valley)

Depart Portage back to Anchorage from the Portage Glacier Lodge: 5:20 pm

Arrive Anchorage: 6:35 pm

Duration: 6.5 (Perfect for those wanting to take the cruise then hike the Byron Trail)

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