In 1867, the first settlers came from Wellsville to Portage, primarily to harvest the wild hay growing in the area. They settled on the eastern side of the valley and built their first schoolhouse in 1868. At that time the place was known as "Hayton" but when the President of Box Elder Stake (Lorenzo Snow) came to visit, he changed the name to Portage, after Portage County, Ohio (his birthplace).

The settlement was moved to the west side of the valley in 1872, to tap into the irrigation water stored in Samary Lake. To use that water, the settlers hand dug a 12-mile-long canal. The settlement had grown enough by 1877 that the Portage Ward was organized late that year.

Today, Portage is still a quiet, rural community at the eastern foot of the Blue Spring Hills, almost on the Idaho border.