Hike Byron Glacier

Alaska Byron Glacier Trail

Added by Jack Consenstein

  • 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!

Pack List

  • Running/hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Lunch
  • Plenty of water (the streams are usually okay to drink, but many of them are quite silty and gritty)
  • Snacks
  • Extra socks
  • Bear bell
  • Bear spray
  • Stoked attitude

If camping: * Tent * Sleeping bag * Water filter * Stove * Super stoked attitude

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

4 months ago

Half-day Hike!

Fun, short hike with options to branch out on your own for fun pics!

4 months ago

11 months ago

Beautiful and Relatively Easy to Access

There is a lot of potential for exploring Byron Glacier. We explored several different caves in only a few hours. Absolutely loved it and would highly recommend a visit.

11 months ago

More Adventures Nearby

Summit Bonanza Peak, Wrangell-St. Elias NP

Alaska / Root Glacier Trail

This journey begins at the northern terminus of the historic Kennecott Mines, following the Root Glacier trail to the north. Follow this trail between 1-2 miles until you reach a split in the trail.

Mike Quine
2 Saves

Hike Alpine Trail, Caines Head State Recreation Area

Alaska / Alpine Trailhead

The Alpine Trail is only accessible via the Caines Head Trail System, located at Lowell Point.

Christie Kay
2 Saves

Hike Mount Healy Overlook Trail

Alaska / Denali Visitor Center

The trailhead for the Mt Healy Overlook Trail is located at the visitor center, just inside Denali National Park. Take the Taiga Trail, and follow signs to the Mt Healy Overlook Trailhead.

Christie Kay
2 Saves