Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska, dog glacier

Visiting Byron Glacier, Alaska

Updated March 2024, Visiting Byron Glacier, Alaska was originally written in February 2020

Byron Glacier is one of the easiest to access glaciers in the Anchorage vicinity, about an hour and 10 minutes drive south of Anchorage, not far beyond the beautiful town of Girdwood.

A viewpoint for the glacier is accessible from the Byron Glacier Trailhead, by a short 0.8 mile walk along a maintained trail. You can continue onwards beyond the viewpoint to hike up onto the glacier, though this is at your own risk for obvious reasons.

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How To Get To Byron Glacier Trailhead

Byron Glacier is located not far off the Seward Highway that connects Anchorage with the Kenai Peninsula.

To reach the Byron Glacier Trailhead, turn off of the Seward Highway Portage Glacier Road (this is the same road that gives access to Portage Lake and Glacier, and the Whittier Tunnel).

About 5 miles down Portage Glacier Road you’ll take a slight right onto Portage Lake Loop and a right off there onto Byron Glacier Road. The Byron Glacier Trailhead parking lot will be on your right side.

Visit Byron on your Kenai Peninsula road trip, start planning it here

The only cool thing I really did in 4 months Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska

The Hike To Byron Glacier Viewpoint

From the trailhead to the viewing point is about 0.8 miles in distance on a maintained gravel trail. At the Byron Glacier Viewpoint, there are benches to rest at before you head back or continue onwards toward the glacier.

The walk along the trail is relatively flat with only a couple of small hills. The first portion of the trail will take you through cottonwood and alder brush before it opens up and continues along Byron Creek.

Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska
Near the beginning of the Byron Glacier Trail

Make sure and visit nearby Girdwood on your way to Byron Glacier

Byron Creek, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska
An avalanche covering Byron Creek in 2016
Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska, Portage Lake
Views from Byron Glacier looking out over Portage Lake in the distance

Hiking Out Onto Byron Glacier

A short hike beyond the viewpoint will bring you right to the glacier. You will need to go up a boulder hill and back down and you may need to wade through or jump over parts of the creek on the other side. Do be careful as the boulders out here can be quite slippery (I’ve fallen a time or two out here).

Another hazard to be aware of is avalanches, especially in the spring and early half of the summer. Byron Valley is very narrow with steep cliff-like walls and gets pretty heavy snowfall, so avalanches are quite common.

You can continue to hike up onto Byron Glacier but do be careful as glaciers, especially Byron Glacier is quite unstable.

Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska, ice cave, glacier, Alaska glacier, Alaska ice cave
Inside Byron Glacier Ice Cave In November 2019
Byron Glacier Ice Cave March 2018
Byron Glacier, Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Ice Cave, Alaska, Anchorage day hikes
Inside Byron Glacier Ice Cave January 2018

The Byron Glacier Ice Caves

At times there are ice caves on Byron Glacier. I have been in the ice caves numerous times, but they frequently collapse and reform, sometimes appearing in different locations than previous.

If you are trying to view the Byron Glacier Ice Caves you’re best bet to locating them will be to ask other hikers coming down off the glacier if they’re there and how to reach them.

Personally, I’ve seen them right at the bottom of the glacier, and other times I’ve seen them way up high, requiring a good 700 or so foot ascent to reach them.

With all this said, going inside of ice caves is a dangerous activity and not one to be taken lightly. In 2018 a woman died after the Byron Glacier Ice Cave collapsed, crushing her and injuring two others.

Plan your stay in Anchorage with the Anchorage Travel Guide

Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska
Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska

Other Things To Do Near Byron Glacier

  • Portage Glacier Lake Cruise: Book your Portage Lake & Glacier cruise here.
  • Visit The Begich Boggs Visitor Center: Learn about the surrounding glaciers and Chugach National Forest. Admission is $5.
  • Hike Over Portage Pass: Hike this 2.2 mile trail to the top of Portage Pass with views of the glacier next to it.
  • Drive Through The Tunnel And Visit The Town Of Whittier: For $22 you can buy a return ticket to travel to Whittier and back via the Whitter Tunnel to check out the small fishing town on Prince William Sound.

Have Any Questions About Visiting Byron Glacier?

Ask in the comments section below.

Byron Glacier Ice Cave, Byron Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska
A tunnel forming on the wall of the glacier

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5 thoughts on “Visiting Byron Glacier”

  1. Hi Nicole,
    This is another gem from your blog. I would very much like to see the ice caves, but I guess my chance is slim at the end of August, right? Any place else? Thanks!

  2. Hi! We are visiting for Memorial Day and want to do this hike. Any idea if this is a good time to see the ice caves?

    1. Hey Dan,
      I haven’t been out there in a couple of months, so there may be one or might not be Memorial Day weekend. Either way it’s still a nice trek!

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