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Portage Glacier Rd
Girdwood, AK 99587
Only one hour from Anchorage, this is a perfect tour if you’re looking to get up close to a glacier but don’t have a lot of time or don’t want to spend too much money. This glacier cruise takes you right up to the face of a glacier. You’ll board the comfortable MV Ptarmigan, featuring an enclosed, heated cabin and open-air observation deck. The hour-long cruise is narrated by the US Forest Service, and you’ll navigate around bobbing icebergs and motor to within 300 feet of the towering wall of ice called Portage Glacier (one of Alaska’s most popular attractions). You may have an opportunity to hear the unmistakable rumbling of a calving glacier or rolling iceberg. If you have your own transport, you can do the cruise alone, or pair it with one of the larger tour offerings, listed below.
This tour combines the Portage Lake Cruise with transportation from Anchorage, a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and a lunch-break at Alyeska Ski Resort.
Departing from Anchorage, you’ll take a deluxe motor coach down around Turnagain Arm, keeping an eye out for Beluga whales, then continue along one of America’s most scenic roads, the Seward Highway, officially designated a National Scenic Byway.
At Portage Lake, you’ll board the MV Ptarmigan, for the hour-long boat ride among icebergs and up to the glacier.
Before or after your cruise, which lasts approximately 1 hour, you’ll stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. You’ll get up close with Alaska wildlife, since the center is home to injured or orphaned animals, from muskox to grizzly bears
The tour also includes a stop at Alyeska Ski Resort. You’ll have lunch on your own and an optional tram ride up Mt. Alyeska for stunning views.
If you have all day, add on a narrated motor coach tour of Anchorage and a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
Alaska’s largest city is full of interesting sites, great scenery, and history, and this tour is a great way to get your bearings and decide what places to re-visit. Drive past the Log Cabin Visitor Center, Alaska Railroad Depot, and Museum of Art & History. Get a peek at Resolution Park and the Captain Cook Monument as well as Ship Creek Viewpoint, which overlooks Cook Inlet.
You’ll stop at the 25-acre Alaska Native Heritage Center and tour this unique museum devoted to the Native cultures and traditions that make up this great state. Watch totem pole carvers and bead workers, while exploring numerous interactive displays on Native culture.
There’s also a stop at Alyeska Ski Resort, where you’ll have lunch on your own, and the option to ride the tram to the top of this mountain, where you’ll have great panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Have your own transportation? Cruise the placid Portage Lake, about an hour south of Anchorage, to Portage Glacier. It’s not a long drive and it’s a beautiful one! The cruise takes only one hour. Watch for huge chunks of ice to break away and crash in to the lake as the MV Ptarmigan weaves through iceberg-dotted waters. This is the best glacier cruise in Alaska for the money.
No experience necessary. No minimum age requirement, but small children may get restless on the longer tours.
Transfer: Transportation is included from Anchorage Westmark for Grand Anchorage and Portage Glacier Cruise Tour and Portage Glacier Cruise Tour.
Driving Directions for Portage Glacier Cruise only: Take the Seward Highway south from Anchorage. Take a left on Portage Glacier Road (milepost 78.9) approximately 48 miles out of Anchorage. Travel 5 miles to fork in road, take the right-hand fork to travel 1-1/2 miles to the MV Ptarmigan dock and passenger building.