Portage Pass Trail, Alaska.
Here is another wonderful South-central Alaska trail – this one much less popular then the others I have written about. The trail head is on the Whittier side of the tunnel between Whittier and Bear Valley / Portage. Watch for the signs on your right after emerging from the tunnel. The first portion of the trail climbs a few hundred feet in about a mile to the top of the pass providing this great view of Portage Glacier. This is the most popular portion, and where this photo was captured.
The trail does continue on all the way to Portage Lake and although a little light bushwhacking is involved, the end of the trail is worth it. The continuation of this trail is a little hard to find – it travels through a little cut near the top of the pass. From there, it continues down and around the left side of the small lake visible in this photo. On the far side of this lake, you will see a cairn marking the next portion of the trail. From here you need to pay attention as the trail isn’t very well traveled. The most difficult spots are marked with cairns, and stays just to the East of the large gorge that forms below the small lake all the way down to the shore of Portage Lake. If you are lucky, you might find some large icebergs at this end of Portage Lake, but even without icebergs, the view of Portage Glacier is still wonderful!
The bottom photo is from the shore of Portage Lake. The boat is the M/V Ptarmigan, the same boat I wrote about on the Portage Glacier Tour.