Portage Glacier is not just accessible it is one of most visited attractions in all of Alaska. Just 50 miles south of downtown Anchorage, visitors can learn the area's geology at the Begich, Boggs Visitors Center, stroll along the iceberg-choked Portage Lake or hop aboard a one-hour cruise to the face of the glacier.
The drive to Portage is an experience in itself. Twentymile Glacier and Explorer Glacier can both be seen along the way. The snowfields below Byron Glacier are just one mile away. Hike solo or join a guided "iceworm safari" available from the visitors center.
For a longer hike, Exit Glacier, just north of Seward, is a good spot. Get close by following the half-mile trail to the toe of the glacier. Adventurous hikers can take a longer 7.4-mile roundtrip to the truly massive Harding Icefield, 300 square miles of solid ice.
Approximately 90 miles north of Anchorage, Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site offers excellent views of the 27-mile-long Matanuska Glacier. The Edge Nature Trail leads through the forest to glacier viewing platforms.
Glaciers by Boat
Glacier cruises are one of the best ways to get views of many of Alaska’s tidewater glaciers, those that terminate in a large body of water. Whittier and Seward are two departure ports for full and half-day glacier and wildlife cruises in the calm waters of Prince William Sound or beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Sea bird rookeries and marine mammal sightings can be as awe-inspiring as the countless glaciers.
Making the most of the Ice
For the experience of a lifetime, book a dog sledding trip on one of Southcentral’s glaciers. Even in the height of summer, guests can try out the Alaska state sport and dream of Iditarod glory. Or get face to face with a glacier, literally, with an ice climbing trip. Experienced guides can outfit a trip with all the necessary gear and teach beginners the ropes. The Alaska Railroad offers day trips to remote Spencer Glacier for a variety of activities.
Flying to the Ice
Many flightseeing trips to Denali National Park offer glacier landings. Equipped with skis, planes can touch down on massive Ruth, Pika, Eldridge or Kahiltna glaciers. Guests slip on boots and venture out for a snow day in the middle of summer. Even from the air, these ice fields are massive and awe-inspiring.