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 transportation.
Portage Glacier Cruise Tour
This tour combines the Portage Lake Cruise with roundtrip transportation from Anchorage and a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
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, then, make the return trip to Anchorage.
Portage Glacier Cruise only
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.
What to Bring
- Layered clothing for cruise
Girdwood, AK 99587
Transfer: Transportation is included from Anchorage Westmark for the 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, travel a 1/2 mile and turn left for the Portage Glacier Cafe to purchase cruise tickets.
Prices & Dates
|mid-May to mid-September
|1 or 5.5 hrs
|Portage Glacier Cruise Only // $49 adult; $29 child | 1 hr | Departs 10:30am, 12noon, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm
|Portage Glacier Cruise Tour // $119 adult; $79 child | 5.5 hrs | One daily departure from Anchorage at 1:30 p.m. that includes round trip transportation with a stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center.