Portage, Alaska, US
|Usual Difficulty||I (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||30 fpm|
Portage Creek is a mellow scenic float from Portage Lake to the Seward Highway with good views of the Byron and Explorer glaciers. Moose and bear can often be scene along the banks. It offers canoers and other folks a good view of Alaska without getting too far away from the road. However, the water is cold and swift with glacial silt, sweepers and rootwads are common, and there was a fatal boating accident here in 2004.
Putting in at the Begich-Boggs visitor center (built to view the Portage Glacier, which has receded so far that it cannot be seen), the river is broad and rocky. The river soon splits into two channels that don't reconnect for about 3 miles, so have your group together. Nice gravel bars with excellent views offer great places to stop for snacks. Floating time tends to run 3-4 hours.
The put-in for Portage Creek is at the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center found 6 miles from the Seward Highway on the Whittier turnoff at Portage. The drive from Anchorage is about 45 minutes to the south, or 10 minutes south of Girdwood.
Take out at the Portage Creek #2 bridge at the Seward Highway at the thriving town of Portage. At low water, this can be a bit mucky.