Nature February 21, 2019
The Enchanting Lakeside Trail In Alaska That Is Just As Gorgeous In The Winter
As Alaskans, we love to get outside year round. But it can be hard for us to find great trails that are easily accessible in winter. And we can all agree that there are definitely some trails that are better hiked in summer than winter. But when it comes to the Trail of Blue Ice, you can be sure you’ll be astounded in any season!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
The Blue Ice Trail starts in the parking lot for Portage Lake. You could also start at the other end of the trail, in the Moose Flats parking lot.
There is free parking, and outhouses available in the Portage parking lot. It's an easy 50 minute drive from Anchorage, and you can stop off in Girdwood to rent bicycles if you'd like to bike the trail. The bike rental company in Girdwood has fat bikes to use in the winter snow!
The trail is approximately five miles one way.
Most of the trail is wide, which makes it perfect for winter activities. It's also partly paved, with boardwalks and bridges. There is plenty of room on the trail to snowshoe, hike, fat bike, or cross country ski.
As the trail follows the road and the river, there is very little elevation gain.
This makes it perfect for a family outing, without the kids having to work too hard. If you'd like to do the whole trail, you can even park a car at each end so there's no need to double back.
The trail is only moderately trafficked, especially in the winter.
You will usually find excellent amounts of snow, perfect for cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Unless you're arriving to fresh snow, there are frequently cross country ski trails already embedded into the trail for you to use.
The trail itself is constructed beautifully. The bridges and arches over the rivers are stunning.
Taking this trail in the winter is magical. The mountains are covered in snow, and the normally busy area is hushed. Depending on the weather, there may even be open water under the bridges. The area is relaxing, and you can experience a backcountry feeling with family members that are less experienced.
This is the perfect casual family winter outing. The trail meanders through campgrounds, so there are nice areas to unpack a snack or hot chocolate and rest at a picnic table.
In fact, there are even some unlocked outhouses in some of the campground areas for you to use. Do remember to pack for the swiftly changing weather. Cell service is unreliable in this valley, so practice safety!
Have you ever hiked Portage’s Trail of Blue Ice in the winter? What did you think? Did you like it better in the winter or the summer? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re headed out to Portage to try out this hike, stay the night in Girdwood!
The Charming Bed and Breakfast In Alaska That’s Tailor-Made For A Winter Weekend is a perfect place to spend the night after your hike!