Activity Center for Prince William Sound
Valdez is a must visit destination for your Alaskan vacation. It is the activity center for Prince William Sound: a mix of tidewater glaciers, rainforests, and mountains.
A History-Filled Alaskan City
The growth and settlement of Valdez can be attributed to fur trading, salmon canning, and gold and copper mining. During the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, prospectors came to Valdez believing the Copper River and Valdez Glacier to be the entry to the interior gold fields. From 1910 to 1916, copper and gold mining flourished in the area. In the early 1970's, Valdez became the staging area for work on the lower portion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Today, Valdez hosts the Valdez Marine Terminal, which is the southernmost end of the 800-mile oil pipeline.
Abundant Marine and Land Wildlife
Valdez and vicinity is abundant in marine and land wiildlife. The seawaters near Valdez abound with sea otters, Dall porpoise, harbor seals, Stelller sea lions, and humpback and orca whales. Coastal mountain cliffs are home to mountian goats, and the surrounding landscape boasts black and brown bears in addition to many other smaller animal species. Valdez takes fight with area bird viewing opportunities. Bald eagles are abundant and scores of ducks and shorebirds can be identified through most of summer and fall. Please be sure to observe wildlife and their dens, rookeries, and nests with respect.
Unparalled Natural Scenery
Unparalled natural scenery is matched only by the abundant activities offered throughout the year. Valdez is home to five glaciers that can be accessed by cruising, flying, walking, driving, or enjoy glacier trekking, exploration and even ice climbing. See the beautiful Columbia, Meares, Worthington, Shoup, or Valdez glaciers. You can raft nearby rivers floating through magnificient canyons and underneath towering waterfalls. Kayaking is another way to explore the region up close and personal. Hike or bike historic Gold Rush trails. Watch the past come alive before you while visiting the local museums and collections displaying Alaska Native artifacts and area history from early to recent days of the previoius century.
Premier Fishing Destination
Valdez's Prince William Sound is a premier fishing destination offering all species of salmon and some of the most accessible big halibut in Alaska. Don't forget the growing excitement of big game salmon shark fishing. Valdez is home to the oldest fish derbies in Alaska, awarding thousands of dollars in prize money each year. You can fish from shore or take a charter from the Valdez Small Boat Harbor.
Clear Choice for Winter Adventures in Alaska
Valdez is a clear choice for winter adventures in Alaska. The surrounding Chugach Mountains receive over 600 inches of fresh powder each year. Helicopter and snowcat skiing and snowboarding is the best in the world, ranging from intermediate to extreme. Backcountry, telemark and cross-country skiing provide more options. Snowmobiling near Valdez is also a world class experience with endless peaks, valleys and glaciers to explore. Cold temperatures serve to freeze waterfalls around Valdez, providing unparalleled ice climbing opportunities.
Easy and Fun to Get To
Traveling to Valdez adds more fun to any Alaskan vacation. Several intermodal options are available: drive the Richardson, Alaska's first highway, past the Wrangell-St. Elias and Chugach Mountains, fly to Valdez on state regional airlines with regularly scheduled service, cruise to Valdez from Whittier or Cordova on the Alaska Marine Highway or a private charter service.