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Portage-Glacier is a glacier on the Kenai Peninsula off the southern coast of Alaska. It is included within the Chugach National Forest and is about four miles west of the town of Whittier. Portage Glacier was first recorded in 1898 by Thomas Corwin Mendenhall who worked for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. It was named because it's on a portage route between Prince William Sound and Turnagain Arm. The glacier is about 50 miles southeast of Anchorage, and is accessed via the Seward Highway to the former town of Portage. (The town was flooded following the 1964 Alaska earthquake and abandoned.) Hundreds of years ago, the glacier filled the entire Portage Valley and connected to what are now five separate glaciers. In the last few years, Portage Glacier has begun retreating greatly from the lake it created. A small section in the center has exposed bedrock but most of the glacier face extends down more than 100 feet into Portage Lake. Nearby are several hanging glaciers, which are glaciers that come part way down a mountainside. There is a visitors center on the lakeshore that offers several exhibits and a film about glaciers called "Voices From the Ice." You can walk around the lake to get a close-up view of icebergs, but to reach Portage Glacier, you must drive further along the lake to a sightseeing boat dock. For a small fee, you can take a cruise across the lake, for a closer look of the glacier face.

Portage Glacier Vacation Rentals

Portage Glacier Hotels and Resorts

Portage Glacier Weather & Climate

Southern Alaska has a subarctic coastal climate that is heavily influenced by the Northern Pacific Ocean. The weather is relatively mild, compared to northern parts of the state. The annual precipitation is very high in relation to other parts of Alaska, and the lack of extreme cold or hot temperatures speak of the maritime influence. This region is one of the few areas in Alaska that allows for agriculture, with a growing season long enough for producing hay and several other crops.

     Month       High Temp   Low Temp   Rainfall   Ocean Temp 
January 19°F 4°F 3.58 in. -
February 25°F 6°F 2.67 in. -
March 31°F 10°F 2.02 in. -
April 40°F 21°F 1.88 in. -
May 51°F 31°F 2.75 in. -
June 63°F 41°F 1.82 in. -
July 67°F 47°F 2.36 in. -
August 63°F 44°F 3.57 in. -
September 53°F 35°F 5.13 in. -
October 38°F 22°F 3.15 in. -
November 25°F 9°F 2.81 in. -
December 20°F 5°F 4.14 in. -

Portage Glacier Map & Transportation

Main viewing image.
Click each thumbnail image to enlarge.

Portage Glacier Attractions

Ski Areas
AlpenglowAnchorageAK88.4 mi.
Hilltop Ski AreaAnchorageAK88.4 mi.
Alyeska ResortGirdwoodAK118.9 mi.

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