The plan for the Glacier Discovery System is augmented by the Chugach National Forest’s plan to build the Glacier Discovery Trail, a 30 mile trail that will connect the Spencer Glacier Lodge, Bartlett Glacier Cabin and Trail Glacier Cabin. The Glacier Discovery Trail is under construction.
In the summer (when the Alaska Railroad is running), the Glacier Discovery Project will be a railroad accessible hut-to-hut system. To access the Spencer Glacier Lodge, the first of three huts in the Glacier Discovery System, visitors will travel via train from Portage to Spencer Whistle Stop, which is about 11 miles up the Placer River Valley. Visitors can take the train from the Spencer Whistle Stop an additional 8 miles to the Grandview Whistle Stop and hike in a short distance to the Bartlett Glacier Hut. The last of the three huts, Trail Glacier Hut, will not be accessible via train but will be accessible via the Glacier Discovery Trail.
In the winter the Spencer Glacier Lodge, Bartlett Glacier Cabin and Trail Glacier Cabin will be accessible over land travel via snow bike, skis or snowmobile, pending snow conditions. The area is already a popular snowmobile destination, which makes human powered access easier.
During the summer, Glacier Discovery System visitors will also be able to raft or kayak out the Placer River, which is the drainage for Spencer Glacier lake. The last hut in the Glacier Discovery System, Trail Glacier Cabin, also has packraft or kayak options via Trail Creek.