Anchorage day trip: Get up close and personal with a glacier

Portage Glacier

Portage Glacier

If you are visiting Anchorage, Alaska doing a land trip you can still find yourself face to face with a beautiful blue and white living glacier. Many think that to enjoy a glacier view, you have to be on one of those expensive Alaska cruises. But I found out differently. On a trip to Anchorage (I flew in), I found that there was a great little day trip where I could get up close and personal with a deep blue glacier. Check out the Portage Lake glacier cruises.

What a thrill it is to see the beautiful blue ice of a glacier close up. The one hour cruises on Portage Lake are an excellent way to learn about glaciers and see one on just a day trip from Anchorage.

Cruising across Portage Lake on the MV Ptarmigan, you’ll stand just 300 yards from a relic of the Ice Age and watch for fractures of ice break off the glacier and crash into the water below.

Your small boat cruise starts out in the  large reception building. Pick up a latte to warm you or purchase one of their logo jackets. The MV Ptarmigan has both inside and outside seating so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.

Once we boarded, and had a safety briefing, we headed across the inlet. Almost immediately we started to see beautiful waterfalls cascading down the sides of the still snowy mountains. It was at that point that I headed outside on the stern to take pictures. The area was remarkably sheltered from the rain yet allowed me to have full access to the beauty of the vistas.

We enjoyed the waterfalls and views of the Chugach Mountains as we cruised toward the glacier. Once we arrived at the glacier, we were close enough to peer into the folds of the ice and enjoy the shades of blue. Ice had been breaking off the glacier and we saw large chunks floating in the water.

The vessel took time to ensure that passengers on both sides could see well and get all the photos they wanted. And, then, we headed back to the dock. It was a quick trip but one that we all will remember as one of our favorite day trips from Anchorage.

Be sure and see the Begich, Boggs Visitor’s Center just down the road. There is an excellent film on Glaciers. The center is part of the Chugach National Forest.

More Information including schedules and feesPortage Glacier Cruises

More on Visiting Alaska
First Friday Art Walks in Anchorage
Getaway to Alaska
Phoenix to Alaska – Extreme Getaway

Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography

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