Portage Creek

Forums Alaska Rivers Girdwood and Hope Region Portage Creek

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    Jule Harle

      SOURCE: The Alaska Packraft Guidebook: Premier Rivers & Creeks in the 49th State (1st ed) Copyright: 2022 by Jule Harle.  Refer to the guidebook for additional info, photos, waypoints or detailed river maps. Author permission required to reproduce, duplicate or transfer following content.

      Difficulty: II
      Length: 3.5 or 6 miles
      Shuttle: 5 miles; you can also hike Trail of Blue Ice

      Put in: Portage Lake

      Take out: Varies.  Boat launch near trail access: 60.80478, -148.92542 or Hwy bridge.

      Character: Portage River is a great place to learn how to packraft.  You’ll encounter a few small riffles, namely within the first mile, small wave trains, and even a few eddies to practice your eddy catching skills.   The river is relatively safe for beginners, if you stay aware of the strainers & wood deposits along of shorelines.  Roadside access & proximity to Anchorage make this an ideal place to practice river and develop river skills. 

      Water Level: Portage is not gauged, but there’s usually enough water to make it down.  It may be too low in mid April, but by May it should be flowing.  Water levels do not make the river more difficult or technical, however with higher flows (think hot summer days in late June-mid July, as it peaks from snowmelt,) Portage will be faster & pushier- mostly at the top section below the lake.  This run usually becomes too low to float in October.

      Ice making its way into Portage Creek from the glacier, near the put-in, early June

      River Description:  From the lake, it’s a few hundred feet until you negotiate the small boulders, shoals & waves that create a good training ground for those practicing reading water or trying to get a feel of their boat in moving currents.  The excitement weans down within the initial 2 miles, becoming less technical and much slower moving.  The biggest hazard throughout the run are the downed trees and strainers along the river’s edges- be sure to paddle away from the banks, especially around the bends.

      Kaelyn Schenkenberger being silly in the wide-open class I

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    Forums Alaska Rivers Girdwood and Hope Region Portage Creek