Hike Byron Glacier

Byron Glacier Trail

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Jack Consenstein

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Waterfall

Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip to glacier. Elevation gain: 100 ft. Insane views. Ice caves to explore. Five glacial views. Unlimited hiking areas. Potential to camp higher up on a ridge.

To begin on this adventure, you first have to find the trailhead. Drive out on the highway to Girdwood, and turn left at the sign that says "Portage Glacier". Towards the end of the road, it Ys and you take a right, then another right. Follow this road, and the first parking lot on your right is the one for you. Unfortunately there are no bathrooms here, but if you're a true adventurer you won't mind going in the woods.

Start hiking along the trail into the woods. This is a semi-popular trail, and so is well maintained with gravel and wooden bridges. After about 20 minutes of hiking, the woods fade away and the trail dead-ends on the glacial moraine. From here, there is no set trail so feel free to go your own route. You can reach the foot of the glacier in less than an hour of hiking, and at that point there are a few options. You can either hike along the glacier's edge, and find ice caves and little streams, or you can head up to one of the ridges.

To the left is a ridge that overlooks Portage Glacier, but is quite a scramble to get up and down from. On the right is a slightly mellower climb on scree that leads to a grassy bench. This could be a prime spot for setting up a tent for the night, or a nice spot for a picnic (which is what I've done). This grassy ridge overlooks the entirety of Byron Glacier, along with Portage Glacier and 3 other glaciers across Portage Lake. It's a beautiful spot to have lunch and glacier-gaze. From here, it is possible to access the ridge and head to Byron Peak, however this is not recommended without climbing experience and safety gear.

The entire valley that Byron Glacier rests in is a beautiful valley with stunning views, and because of this, what can be planned for a short day hike can easily turn into an all day venture. It is an amazing place that constantly changes with the glacier, so get out there and enjoy it!

Community Photos

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Stunning in summer or winter.

I visited in the winter first when avalanche danger is higher but the ice is more stable. In the summer the glacier is more stunning against the mountains and green vegetation but it's too risky to go inside any caves.

Josh Vassar

about 1 year ago

Longer then Expected!

Getting to the actual glacier was a fairly long ways! All the way back in the valley! Takes about an hour in total! In the winter, ice grippers are a must! And be ready to climb up avalanche snows in the winter!

Bear Sighting 11/4/17

Be prepared! He (a good sized black bear) was only about 10 minutes from the parking lot

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Jack Consenstein

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Winter Hike to Portage Glacier

Adventure

Hike to Portage Pass and Portage Lake

Adventure

Kayak Across Alaska's Prince William Sound

Adventure

Hike Winner Creek Gorge

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Related Stories

family

10 Amazing Family-Friendly Trips around the World

The best family memories are made outside.

chillin

Patagonia's "Treeline" Is a Celebration of Our Dependence on Trees

Patagonia's newest release featuring the importance of forests all around the world. Follow skier...

activities

"Far Away" - Climbing in LiMing, China

Jenny Fischer and Kat Whipple traveled to Liming, China to attempt a first ascent in one of climb...

destinations

8 Bucket List Canyoneering Adventures in Southern Utah

It's cold, rainy and windy at home, which means I'm daydreaming about Southern Utah.

More Stories