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Portage Pass Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (13) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This trail makes a quick out and back with a great view of the Portage Glacier.


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Map Key

4.4

Miles

7.2

KM

Out and Back

738' 225 m

High

54' 16 m

Low

934' 285 m

Up

933' 284 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

37%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This well-marked trail leads to a once-in-a-lifetime view.

Overview

Though challenging to access, this hike offers a great opportunity to visit the toe of Portage Glacier. The vistas here are increadible and worth the effort.

Need to Know

In order to access this hike from outside of Whittier, be prepared to pass through the Whittier tunnel. Vehicles can only pass through the tunnel once per hour (to Whittier on the half hour, from Whittier on the hour) at a rate or $13 per car, as of Summer 2018.

Description

The trailhead is easy to find. Coming from the east end of the Whittier Tunnel, take the next available right. You'll see a USFS sign for the trailhead. There is a lot of available parking.

The first mile is up an old cat-track. At the top is Portage Pass. There is a great vista of the Portage Glacier to the southeast. You can see other glaciers to the northeast and southeast. Someone was kind enough to build a bench up at the top so you can soak up all vistas. From Portage Pass, it is another mile downhill to Portage Lake. There will be a sign that says Portage Lake. This is the end of the trail, but it was fun to wander around the lake edge. If you think you can make it to Portage Glacier without getting wet, you can't. There is a good-sized creek between the trail's end and the glacier.

When you return, it is a mile up to the pass, and another mile back down to the trailhead. It is a tough climb, but still possible for a whole family.

Flora & Fauna

Along the trail, it is fairly common to see signs of bear activity, so be sure to take some Bear Spray. Mountain goats can sometimes be seen off in the distance.

Sitka spruce, hemlock, and heavy alder underbrush make up the majority of the flora here.

Contacts

Shared By:

James Jackson with improvements by Bryan Brown

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 13 votes

#1

in Portage

#851

Overall
  4.6 from 13 votes
5 Star
69%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Portage

#9

in Alaska

#851

Overall
27 Views Last Month
3,137 Since Sep 15, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
46%
15%
38%
0%

Photos

A glimpse of Prince Edward Sound at Portage Pass.
May 31, 2018 near Girdwood, AK
Portage pass and glacier.
Sep 3, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Trail's End - Portage Glaicer
Sep 15, 2017 near Girdwood, AK
Portage glacier.
Sep 3, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Portage lake and glacier.
Sep 3, 2019 near Girdwood, AK

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Check-Ins

Jul 31, 2021
Magdalena Rusin
Jul 31, 2021
Alex Huyen
Jul 18, 2021
Naka Nathaniel
4.4mi — 2h 30m
Aug 4, 2020
Bill Wells
0h 40m
Sep 4, 2019
Trent Sizemore
1h 31m
Aug 18, 2019
Marc Jensen
Aug 11, 2019
Ele PeCe
2h 15m
Jun 6, 2019
Alina Hegedus
5mi