Begich, Boggs Visitor Center
At the Heart of Portage Valley...
Open Saturday, May 28 through Sunday, September 11, 2022. Hours of operation 9am - 5 pm daily.
Please recreate safely - we encourage you to follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate on the Chugach National Forest. For more information about how the Forest Service is responding to COVID-19, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/covid19-updates.
There are many hikes and sights (including Portage and Byron Glaciers) to see in the area!
Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is built upon the terminal moraine left behind by Portage Glacier in 1914.
The Visitor Center offers an unique opportunity to learn about the Chugach National Forest, America's farthest north national forest. Award-winning exhibits, educational presentations, the film Retreat and Renewal: Stories from Alaska's Chugach National Forest, and information services are available to the public.
Contact us: (907)783-2326
View the trailer for the film
Byron Glacier Trail
While the Byron Glacier hike is an easy walk along a well-maintained trail in the summer, during the spring, a lot of snow in the upper elevations that haven’t avalanched yet. Avalanche activity may occur in the Byron Valley well into the spring due to sun, above freezing temperatures, and any rain. Unless you have avalanche rescue gear, advanced training, and knowledge to evaluate an avalanche hazard we recommend avoiding Byron trail until summer.
Portage Valley Brochure English version // German version
Points of interest, maps, safety guidelines and general information for enjoying a visit to Portage Valley and the Begich Boggs Visitor Center.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center opens on Friday June 11, 2021. The Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day weekend. Monday through Thursday staff will be outside the building to provide information on local flora and fauna and answer questions.|
|Operational Hours:||Open Saturday, May 28 through Sunday, September 11, 2022. Hours of operation are 9am - 5 pm daily.|
|Fees:||When Open - Fees: $5.00 for adults. Fee includes admission to film and exhibits. Children 15 and younger are free! We honor Interagency Passes including Senior, Access, Annual and Military. "America the Beautiful" can also be purchased online by clicking here.|
General InformationGeneral Notes:
Begich, Boggs Visitor Center - Frequently Asked Questions
The Visitor Center was named in memory of Congressmen Nick Begich of Alaska and Congressmen Hale Boggs of Louisiana. Both men were killed in a 1972 plane crash en route from Anchorage to Juneau.
Designed by Kramer, Chin and Mayo and constructed by Alaska General of Anchorage. Construction began in July 1984 and was completed in September of 1985. Begich, Boggs Visitor Center opened its doors to the public in May 1986.
The exhibits were initially designed by Gideon Kramer and Associates with final selection and modification by the USDA, Forest Service design team in Washington DC.
The new exhibits are designed by the Sibbet Group of San Francisco, CA and installed in 2001. The new design shifted the focus from glaciers to one that incorporates ecosystems of Portage Valley and Prince William Sound.
The visitor center is 17,600 square feet in size with 4,700 square feet of exhibit space, 3,300 square feet of theater, 6,600 square feet of other space (restrooms, office, workroom, etc), and 3,000 square feet in the basement. The Center is heated by a high efficiency natural gas hot water heater that transfers heat to the buiding through a main air handler, baseboard, and radiant panels.
The original cost was $8.1 million dollars, with $4.5 million spent on design and construction and $3.6 million on exhibits.
The Portage Valley Learning Center is an extension of the main Visitor Center and opened in 2005.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
During the Summer Interpreters offer the following Programs
Forest Service Interpreters are offering campfire talks at 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings this summer (2021) at the Williwaw Campground Amphitheater. The programs focus on salmon, bears, and cultural heritage. Campfire programs are free and suitable for all ages.
Guided hikes are done for the 2021 summer season.