Chugach National Forest
Portage Glacier Valley
Take a leisurely drive through Portage Glacier Valley and you will discover the magnificent Portage Glacier. As you travel between the small town of Girdwood and the cut off to Whittier you will see all that is left of the town of Portage. In the early 1960’s Portage was a thriving small town of 100 residents. Then came the massive Good Friday earthquake, which wiped this small town off the map. What remains, can be seen from the road. There is not much there except one of the most magnificent views of Portage Glacier. Portage Glacier is a trail of spectacular shades of blue amidst a stately and beautiful Chugach National Forest. The view is breathtaking! There is nothing that will prepare you for this spectacular vista of one of Alaska’s most amazing treasures.
The many mountains of The Chugach National Forest located near Anchorage, Alaska provides not only some of the most outstanding views of mountains, but of rivers of spectacular blue ice, and beautiful ancient glaciers.
Some of the best close up views of the glacier can be had while taking a sightseeing boat cruise on Portage Lake. The cruise lasts for approximately one hour. While on the boat, you will experience awesome close up vistas of the glacier. Photographers will experience delightful photo opportunities. This is the experience of a life time.
For the hardy, there are a number of foot trails that lead up to the glacier. When going hiking it is good to register with the National Forest. There are many available campgrounds in the area.
Another fun and exciting side trip is The Portage Glacier Access Road. The access road curves and winds through the forest for about five miles. You will encounter several campgrounds before coming to the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. Because Portage Glacier is currently retreating, you will no longer be able see it from the visitor’s center. The Visitor’s Center is still extremely interesting with fantastic exhibits. One of the most notable is the simulated ice cave. Here you can walk through a simulated ice cave, see real ice worms and even touch an iceberg up close. The curious will love Begich, Boggs Visitor Center.
Mountains Of The Chugach Range
The many mountains of The Chugach National Forest provide captivating vistas along the Seward Highway. Just before coming to the turnoff for the Portage Glacier Road you will find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization giving refuge to injured and sick animals. They also come to the rescue of several orphaned animals each year. Here you will find a nice safe place to view grizzly bears, Musk Ox, and many other Alaskan animals in the wild.
While traveling through the National Forrest, please remember that these animals are wild, and are never tame. They are free to roam where they want in their habitat and often that will include yours. It is not shocking to see a moose wandering through town or strolling down the highway. It is good to keep a safe distance and respect them as they mosey along.
Spring through Fall is an excellent time to visit the Chugach National Forest. Because it is a day trip from Anchorage, there are many different options for accommodations and restaurants. The hardy can also elect to camp in one of the many campsites within the forest. Enjoy your adventure of the Chugach National Forest.
Orginally published on steemit.com/@exploretraveler