Chugach National Forest Points of Interest

Points of Interest

Crys­tal-clear Willi­waw Creek and its bank-side trail sys­tem in Portage Val­ley at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm offers excep­tion­al­ly good con­di­tions for watch­ing spawn­ing in action. Coho, sock­eye and chum salmon con­verge on the creek as it winds through the brushy flats begin­ning in mid-August, with some late-arriv­ing fish still present after first frost in the fall.

Gor­geous Portage Glac­i­er lies just 48 miles south of Anchor­age. Explore the glac­i­er, vis­it the muse­um, and go for a boat ride.

How and where to find Alaska’s glac­i­ers — some of the state’s most beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al attractions

Spencer Glac­i­er ris­es 3,500 feet in a stun­ning, nat­ur­al ramp from a lake of roy­al-blue ice­bergs in the Chugach Nation­al For­est just 60 miles south of Anchor­age. It’s a fam­i­ly-friend­ly recre­ation des­ti­na­tion fea­tur­ing camp­ing, hik­ing, glac­i­er explo­ration, nature walks, pad­dling and sight­see­ing. Maybe best of all: You have to take a train to get there!

Colum­bia glac­i­er is locat­ed in Prince William Sound. At over 550 meters thick at some points and cov­er­ing an area of 400 square miles, this glac­i­er is a sight to behold, whether from a boat or the sky. It snakes its way 32 miles through the Chugach Moun­tains before dump­ing into the Colum­bia Bay, about 40 miles by boat from Valdez. 

This is the most active tide­wa­ter glac­i­er in Prince William Sound and the best place to see glac­i­ers calv­ing. Sur­prise also seems to cre­ate its own weath­er; it can be clear around here even when it’s cloudy every­where else in the area. 

Black Sand Beach is a pop­u­lar place for sea kayak­ers to camp in Prince William Sound. Look for them stand­ing on the beach! It will give you some per­spec­tive on how enor­mous the sur­round­ing glac­i­ers and moun­tains are. With water cas­cad­ing down from the hang­ing glac­i­ers, sea life play­ing among the ice bergs and a com­mand­ing view of Bar­ry Arm, Black Sand Beach is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar beach­es in Alaska. 

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