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Byron Glacier Trail

Easy

Trail

1.0 mile 1.6 kilometer point to point
95% Runnable
Easy

Elevation

Ascent: 228' 69 m
Descent: -17' -5 m
High: 387' 118 m
Low: 176' 54 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (8°)

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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

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An easy trail that leads out to views of the Byron Glacier and mountains in the Portage area.

David Hitchcock

Features Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views

The trail may be closed in the winter due to snow and avalanche dangers, so check with the Forest Service before heading out on the trail. When there is snow in the valley, be aware that snow bridges may be forming beneath you as Byron Creek runs through portions of the area.

Need to Know

You can park at the visitor center and run up the road to the trailhead, or you can try to find a parking spot at the beginning of the trail. Due to its popularity, the trailhead does fill up rather quickly. Restrooms can be found at the visitor center at Portage Lake, a short drive from the trailhead.

Runner Notes

The trail is relatively flat and free of rocks and roots until you get up to the end of the trail. The trail is popular, so be on the lookout for others on the trail with you.

Description

The Byron Glacier Trail provides an easy, 1-mile rolling gravel trail that leads out to sweeping views of the Byron Glacier. The trail starts at a parking area down the road from the Begich Boggs Visitor Center. The trail departs the parking area and climbs gently uphill at first and then starts to level out.

At roughly 0.2 miles, the trail approaches Byron Creek and you can get an idea of how cold the water is coming out of the glacier valley in front of you. You pass fireweed, wild iris, and fleabane as you travel along the trail, especially in July and August. In front of you, the valley that the Byron Glacier carved starts to spread out before you. Behind you, views of the mountains above Portage Lake start to spread out before you and get better as the trail climbs closer to the glacier.

The trail runs along Byron Creek as it continues to climb into the glacier valley. As you approach the end of the trail, the trees and shrubs give way and you emerge on the valley floor. Depending on the time of year, this may be either covered in rocks or snow. Above you, you get great views of the Byron Glacier. If you turn around, great views of the mountains continue behind you. If it is early in the spring, you can play in snow on the valley floor.

The trail officially ends at a bench and the National Forest Service warns that traveling beyond the point may expose you to danger common in glacial areas (crevasses, ice fall, falling rocks, snow bridges, etc). You can venture further up into the valley depending on your skill and comfort level or you can turn around and make your way back to the parking area, taking the opportunity to enjoy the views on the way back.

Flora & Fauna

There are a variety of plants, berries, and flowers along the course of the trail. Flowers can be seen blooming through the summer, including the fireweed flowers. Devil's club, noticeable by the large leaf and large clumps of red berries, can be seen along the trail. While there are some trees that line the trail, they are not very tall and don't provide a lot of shade.

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#4

in Portage

#12664

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#4

in Portage

#142

in Alaska

#12,664

Overall
10 Views Last Month
49 Since Aug 17, 2019
Easy

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Photos

Fireweed turns to seed late in the summer.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
The trail approaches Byron Creek, which runs along the trail at various points.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Snow can be found in the valley late into the summer. Be careful of snow bridges and falling snow and ice if approach the snow fields.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Byron Glacier lies at the top of the valley. Great views spread out before you. You can see all of the characteristics of a glacier valley on this hike.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
The trail is made of gravel and is fairly flat and wide as it climbs gently toward the glacier.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK
Leaves of the devil's club change color in August, bringing more color to the trail.
Aug 17, 2019 near Girdwood, AK

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