Portage Glacier
Portage Glacier is a glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 on the Kenai Peninsula
Kenai Peninsula
The Kenai Peninsula is a large peninsula jutting from the southern coast of Alaska in the United States. The name Kenai is probably derived from Kenayskaya, the Russian name for Cook Inlet, which borders the peninsula to the west.-Geography:...

 of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

and is included within the Chugach National Forest
Chugach National Forest
-External links:*****...

. It is located south of Portage Lake and 6 km (4 mi) west of Whittier
Whittier, Alaska
Whittier is a city in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of 2006, the population was 177. The city is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.-Geography:...


Portage Glacier was a local name first recorded in 1898 by Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
Thomas Corwin Mendenhall was an autodidact US physicist and meteorologist.-Biography:Mendenhall was born in Hanoverton, Ohio to Stephen Mendenhall, a farmer and carriage-maker,...

 of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, so called because it is on a portage
Portage or portaging refers to the practice of carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles, or between two bodies of water. A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage; a person doing the carrying is called a porter.The English word portage is derived from the...

 route between Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound is a sound off the Gulf of Alaska on the south coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its largest port is Valdez, at the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System...

 and Turnagain Arm. Hundreds of years ago the glacier filled the entire Portage Valley, a distance of 14 miles (22.5 km), and was connected to what are now five separate glaciers.

The Begich
Nick Begich
Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Begich, Sr. was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Alaska. He disappeared in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972. His son Mark Begich is currently the junior U.S...

, Boggs
Hale Boggs
Thomas Hale Boggs Sr. , was an American Democratic politician and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Orleans, Louisiana...

 Visitor Center (located here60°47′05"N 148°50′29"W) was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1986. However, the glacier can no longer be viewed from there. A boat ride across the lake is required to view the glacier. Commercial boat tours are available.


Portage Glacier is located adjacent to Turnagain Arm, 50 miles southeast of downtown Anchorage. Road access is via the Seward Highway
Seward Highway
The Seward Highway is a highway in the U.S. state of Alaska that extends 127 miles from Seward to Anchorage. It was completed in 1951 and runs through the scenic Kenai Peninsula and Turnagain Arm, for which it was designated an All-American Road by the U.S...

 to the former town of Portage
Portage, Alaska
Portage is a former settlement on Turnagain Arm in Alaska, about south of Anchorage. The town was destroyed almost entirely in the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake when the ground in the area sank about six feet, putting most of it below sea level. All that remains today are the ruins of a few...

, which was flooded and subsequently vacated following the 1964 Alaska earthquake. The Portage Glacier Road runs 6 miles (9.7 km), mostly past USFS campgrounds, to the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center. The main road used to end here, but now continues eastward, leading to the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel
Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is a tunnel through Maynard Mountain in the U.S. state of Alaska. It links the Seward Highway south of Anchorage at the former town of Portage with the relatively isolated community of Whittier, a port for the Alaska Marine Highway...

 and to Whittier
Whittier, Alaska
Whittier is a city in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of 2006, the population was 177. The city is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.-Geography:...

External links

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