Valdez is the Activity Center for Prince William Sound: a mix of tidewater glaciers, rainforests, and majestic mountains, wildlife on both land and sea and so much more.
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 the surrounding area is abundant in marine and land wildlife. Prince William Sound boardering Valdez has aboundant sealife including sea otters, Dall porpoise, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and humpback and orca whales. Coastal mountain cliffs are home to mountain goats and the surrounding landscape boasts black and brown bears in addition to many other smaller animal species. Valdez takes flight with area bird viewing opportunities. Bald eagles are common here 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.
Unparalleled Natural Scenery
Unparalleled natural scenery is matched only by the abundant activities offered throughout the year. Valdez is home to five glaciers that can be accessed by boat cruising, kayaking, flying, helicopter rides, walking, driving, or glacier trekking and ice climbing. See the beautiful Columbia, Meares, Worthington, Shoup, or Valdez glaciers (and many others along the way). For all you thrill seekers looking for waterfalls, Valdez, Alaska has some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world. With more than 27 feet of average snow fall during the winter, Valdez becomes The Land of Waterfalls when the snow melts in the spring and summer time. Countless waterfalls cascade down almost every mountain side in Valdez. You can raft nearby rivers floating through magnificent canyons and underneath towering waterfalls. Or, 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 previous 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. 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. Various trails located in and around Valdez are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country adventures. Cold temperatures serve to freeze waterfalls around Valdez, providing unparalleled ice climbing opportunities.
Easy and Fun to Get To
Drive: Proclaimed as one of “America’s Most Scenic Roads” and known to Alaskans as the “Adventure Corridor,” the drive from Fairbanks and Anchorage to Valdez provides breath-taking views of glaciers, waterfalls, towering mountains and incredible scenery. The picturesque Glenn Highway and Richardson Highway converge along the nation’s largest national park - the Wrangell-St. Elias, holding nine of the 16 tallest peaks in the U.S.
Whether driving from Anchorage or Fairbanks, the community of Glennallen provides gas, food and lodging needs before continuing on to the Richardson Highway. Watch for the sign to Worthington Glacier, one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers, when driving through the breath-taking Thompson Pass. Be ready to pull over and take in the majesty of the awe-inspiring Keystone Canyon, where cascading waterfalls greet you from towering canyon walls just before entering Valdez.
Fly: Take a short 45-minute flight from Anchorage. Daily flights offer spectacular views of the coastal Chugach Mountains, vast glacial ice fields and the beautiful Prince William Sound.
Take the Ferry: With daily service in the summer, The Alaska Marine Highway is an exciting and beautiful way to travel to Valdez and experience the majestic Prince William Sound. The Marine Highway offers service throughout the year to all three major coastal Prince William Sound communities. Expand your itinerary by including a visit to Cordova.