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Not Much Left of Portage After Quake

On Good Friday, March 27th, 1964, the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America, devastating many coastal towns, including nearby Valdez, and either lowering or raising the land by the ocean.

Standing water shot up a hundred feet into the air in waterspouts.

The quake was centered 50 miles from Portage.

Though it lasted just under three minutes, it destroyed the town. The ground slumped 8 feet, and buildings were buried by silt from incoming tides.

Portage Glacier Retreat

When the National Forest visitor center was built in 1986, Portage Glacier lay directly in front of it.

The glacier started going backwards into the mountains so fast that by 1994 it had retreated out of view of the center, which had to be redesigned as a consequence.

You can take a boat to see the glacier.

Getting to Whittier

You drive through North America’s longest highway tunnel to get to Whittier. Dual-use, the tunnel also serves the railroad.

Traffic heads toward Whittier on the half hour throughout the day. Traffic from Whittier runs on the hour.

There’s a toll fee. Call the tunnel hotline at 877-611-2586.

History of Whittier

Whittier was built by the military in World War II as a deep water, ice free port.

Because of its closeness to Anchorage, this is a popular departure point for glacier and wildlife cruises

+ Activities + Things to Get
+ Where to Stay + Where to Eat

portage visitor center


Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Portage Glacier Cruises

+ Map of Portage & Whittier: Road, Railroads, Campgrounds
+ Map of Turnagain Arm
+ Map of Prince William Sound

+ Map of Bearfoot Campgrounds

Chugach National Forest Campgrounds
Portage is in the Chugach National Forest. Here is a list of the campgrounds in the Chugach National Forest.

The Disappearing Portage Glacier
More about the case of the disappearing glacier, with dramatic photographs.

Whittier Tunnel Information
More about the design of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier, with schedules, design information, a virtual drive-through, and more. A must-visit if you're planning to drive the tunnel during your stay in Alaska.

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