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Trail of Blue Ice

5 miles of low-impact, multi-use trail near glaciers and salmon

Portage, Alaska

The Trail of Blue Ice takes hikers and cyclists into the heart of the United States’ northernmost temperate rain forest. The trail captures the essence of Alaska with towering peaks and topaz colored glaciers above and wild salmon migrating in streams below.

The US Forest Service wanted a trail that would offer guests the opportunity to become at one with the forest. They wanted a trail that wound past glacial erratics, while treading lightly through the forest. Salmon runs had to be protected during construction and seasonal flooding had to occur unimpeded. One additional requirement: no imported topsoil or seed that might introduce undesirable species to the delicate vegetation hierarchy.

The project was a model of cooperation between Stantec’s design team and our client. The determination of where various trail types would be used required an interactive on-site process. Clearing was limited to the direct trail footprint. As a result, there was no revegetation required. All gravel was from sources within the valley, ensuring the colors of trail surface materials matched the local soil palette and did not introduce weed seed.

The final result: five miles of beautiful, low-impact trail in pristine Alaska.

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